The Beginnings of Outdoor Worship
It was the spring of 1972 when Senior Pastor Merv Thompson had just returned from a Leadership Institute with the conviction that Prince of Peace needed to reach out to the community around us and not simply remain a small church with two acres of land at the corner of Burnsville Parkway and Nicollet Avenue in Burnsville. He had the idea that worship could be taken “outdoor” and beyond the typical boundaries of the church for the sake of reaching out to those who might never darken the doorway of a church. That first summer a worship service was held at the Lucky Twin Drive-In Theater, which was located at the edge of the Minnesota River Valley in Burnsville.
When we moved to the Ridges campus in 1976 it was decided to build this outdoor worship tradition into the new spaces, so an outdoor Sanctuary became part of our worship life, and from Memorial Day through Labor Day we’ve continued to gather for worship outdoors. The worship site included hundreds of parking spaces oriented toward the preaching balcony (which was only used for one summer) and through the use of a limited area FM transmitter, people could worship in their cars if they chose to.