Leith Anderson (pictured), pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is the new president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Here is a short excerpt from an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. To read the entire article, click on http://www.startribune.com/614/story/1468981.html
An Eden Prairie pastor steps into the national spotlight at a political turning point, and he’s already turning heads by preaching about climate change as a religious issue.
By Curt Brown, Star Tribune
Hands in his pockets, blue shirt collar unbuttoned, the Rev. Leith Anderson strolled around his pulpit at the massive Wooddale Church on a recent Sunday.
With wire-rimmed glasses and gray hair, he exuded the relaxed air of a college professor talking to a class of 20 instead of a minister heading a congregation of 5,000.
“The way we live transforms the people around us,” Anderson preached that morning, moving from one service to another on Wooddale’s vast campus in Eden Prairie.
In his 30 years as Wooddale’s pastor, he has overseen the church’s growth from a chapel in Richfield to the current site, which includes a bookstore, cafe and gym and is home to five packed services each weekend. Members come from across the Twin Cities and include Gov. Tim Pawlenty and First Lady Mary Pawlenty.
Now, the 62-year-old Anderson is gaining an even bigger pulpit: the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals.
The organization boasts 45,000 member churches and 30 million members from 60 Christian denominations.
After a year as interim president, Anderson takes charge at a critical moment for the evangelical movement, which is fractured over its priorities and reeling from a sex-and-drugs scandal involving one of its former leaders.
The Rev. Ted Haggard was considered one of the religious right’s movers and shakers until resigning after admitting to “sexual immorality” involving drugs and a Denver male escort last year.
In stepped Anderson, who is already credited with shoring up the NAE’s credibility while trying to broaden its agenda.