Minn. Megachurch, Attended by Tim Pawlenty, Gets New Pastor

Dale Hummel is the new senior pastor of Minnesota's Wooddale Church, which former GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty attends.  Hummel plans to establish 10 more congregations and 10 new satellite campuses by reaching more people over the next decade.

"To me, measuring the church's growth is like finding out how my body is doing, the pulse, the blood pressure," StarTribune on Saturday quoted Hummel as saying. "It's like the vitals of a church … I want to make sure we're reaching more people."

Hummel, 53, will take over leadership of Wooddale church from Leith Anderson, who is also president of the National Association of Evangelicals.  Anderson announced in June 2011 he would retire from the pulpit to pass the baton to a younger generation.

During Anderson's 35 years of leadership at Wooddale, the church grew from 1,000 to 5,000 members. The church has its main campus in Eden Prairie, and an additional campus in Edina.

The congregation had to select their new pastor out of a field of 30 candidates.  Anderson had no role in the selection of his successor. "I've always encouraged long-term pastors to step away from influence in their congregations with trust in God and confidence in the church leadership and new pastor to effectively minister to the next generation," he was quoted as saying.

Hummel was born on an island in the Caribbean when his parents were serving as missionaries.  He received his bachelor's degree from St. Paul Bible College, now known as Crown College, in the Twin Cities in 1982. He got his master's of divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio in 1987, and a doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Ind., in 1989.

Hummel started his ministry in Ohio, helping rural churches. He moved to a church in California in 1989, and helped it grow from 200 to 800 members by 2001. The Compass Church in Illinois also grew from 800 to more than 3,000 members under his leadership.

Wooddale is an evangelical interdenominational church with a constituency from a broad range of denominational and local church backgrounds. It is associated with several ministry organizations, including the Baptist General Conference, Bethel University, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Greater Minnesota Association of Evangelicals.