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Pastor Brad Kindall speaks to the congregation at The Gallery Covenant Church Sunday, March 7. The church meets at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings at the SteppingStone Theatre in St. Paul. For details, go to www.gallerycovenant.org.

Crossroads gives birth to 'The Gallery'

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A group from Crossroads Church has left to start up a new church in St. Paul's Grand Avenue area.

With a hip hop/reggae artist as worship director, and a pastor with a master's degree in acting, The Gallery Covenant Church seeks to draw a group that Pastor Brad Kindall says most churches haven't done a great job of reaching -- liberal intellectuals.

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As part of his ministry, Kindall hangs out at the Muddy Pig bar in St. Paul every Friday with a sign hanging on his laptop that reads "free beer if you hate church," an effort to listen to people who aren't churchgoers.

"I tried it with coffee and coffee's cheap enough so people are happy to buy their own," he said. "But beer is a precious enough commodity that people are like 'Free beer? OK.'"

Kindall posts video of the conversations on his Web site freebeerifyouhatechurch.com.

Kindall, who had been on staff at Crossroads for 14 years, said The Gallery is a "daughter church" of Crossroads, meaning the established church offers financial support, mentoring and other resources to the newly planted one.

"The two worshipping communities are very similar in their beliefs, but just kind of different in their expression," he said.

A Sunday night service at Crossroads called Sanctuary that Kindall led for four years birthed the new church. Kindall said he talked with Sanctuary attendees about what would be happening for months before the move, and then the month before everyone got a card to fill out to let church leaders know whether they'd stay at Crossroads or leave to help establish the new church. About 80 people decided to leave and join The Gallery, and Kindall said the transition was "far healthier" than most church plants.

"Most of the time there are a lot more hurt feelings, a lot more worries," he said.

The church rents space in SteppingStone Theatre Sunday mornings, located on Victoria Street north of Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

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