We are delighted that God has led you here.

We are so blessed to live in the beautiful lake country of central Minnesota with Annandale proudly claiming the title Heart of the Lakes. Within a 15-mile radius, over 80,000 precious people live, work, and play. Our desire as a church family is to love them and point them to Jesus who loves them even more.
The mission of our church is to invite you to Come to Jesus, Follow him with joy, and Serve him with passion.
Service Times: 8:30am & 11:00am
Sunday School for all ages: 9:50am

Small Groups

A Small Group is simply a small group of people from all different backgrounds taking the next steps in Jesus together.  This is where people “Come to Jesus”, “Follow Him” and “Serve Him and Others”. 

At Heartland Free we refuse to live life alone! 


Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery ministry for people with all kinds of hurts, habits and hang-ups.  It has been successful at introducing people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and has helped thousands of people become healthy, whole and passionate followers of Jesus.  Celebrate Recovery meets here every Tuesday evening at 7:00pm.

Center for Biblical Studies


Center for Biblical Studies offers classes in subjects such as hermeneutics, Bible surveys and theology.  We welcome men, women and serious young people who want to go deep in their study of the Word of God.  It will be geared to the level of mature believers who have a desire to be well-grounded to better minister in the church and the world of today.  Classes are offered twice/year.

Our Senior Pastor

Pastor Denny Johnson was raised in central Minnesota south of the little town of Motley. His family attended the Lincoln Evangelical Free Church during his formative years.
He graduated from Motley High School in 1976, from Brainerd Community College in 1978, and from Bethel University in Arden Hills in 1980, where he majored in Political Science.
After a bid for state representative in his home district in central Minnesota fell short, he entered seminary, graduating from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois in 1983.
Denny served as pastor of Living Hope Evangelical Free Church near Elk River Minnesota from 1983 to 1992. In August of 1992 he accepted a call from the Heartland Free Church where he has served since.
Pastor Denny and his wife Sue have four married daughters and a growing number of grandchildren. 

Our Associate Pastor

Pastor Jeff Droogsma comes from a very diverse background, having lived in many places big and small, from New York City to the tiny town of Pease, MN (Dutch community of 200) and many in between.  This shows in that Jeff loves to work with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Another huge thing that marks Jeff and his precious wife Diane’s lives is that God placed them on the mission field (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) for almost 10 years.  God brought them back to the USA just 3 years ago to serve the “Ameircanos”.  Their experiences in Brazil have given them a huge passion to share the gospel anytime, anyplace with anybody.  Due to this, God has also placed on Jeff’s heart to spur our people on to not only share the gospel but also to take steps of faith so as to discover what a powerful and amazing God we serve!  Rarely does a week or even day go by without Jeff nudging somebody to do something for Jesus that might seem a little crazy to the Scandinavians of Minnesota.

Jeff is a longtime member of the EFCA and was ordained by one of the churches they served at in Des Moines, IA.


— Our Youth & Worship Pastor

Pastor Josh Hanson grew up in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis in Blaine, Minnesota. His family are long time members of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Fridley, Minnesota.

He graduated from Spring Lake Park High School in 2006. His first year out of high school, Josh went on a six month mission with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) to Germany, Curaҫao (Caribbean), and Colombia, South America. Hearing a call to Youth Ministry while with YWAM, Josh went to Anoka Ramsey Community College, Crossroads Bible College and finally Northwestern College to pursue a Youth and Family Ministry degree.

Josh has served in a youth ministry, in some capacity, for the last eleven years. His first full time Youth/Worship position was in Newfolden, Minnesota in 2014. He served for three years at Newfolden Evangelical Free Church, then moved to marry his wife Brooke. God placed an interim youth pastor position in his lap for his one year in Fargo, North Dakota at Salem Evangelical Free Church. His plan is to be in youth ministry, in some capacity, long after he becomes old and irrelevant.

Pastor Josh and his wife Brooke have a very energetic dog who loves to run. We all enjoy state parks and being out in God’s beautiful nature!


— Our Children’s Ministry Director

Jodi Welch is passionate about kids growing in their relationship with Christ. She trusted Jesus as her Savior in her elementary years. She was very active in children’s ministry at her church in Iowa during high school.
She graduated from Northwestern College (now University of Northwestern-St. Paul) with a Bible degree and an elementary education degree. Jodi and her husband James live in Maple Lake.

They have four children, Cody, Jaden, Dawson, and Briella. She was a stay-at-home mom for 19 years. She continued to volunteer in numerous ways in children’s ministry before becoming our Children’s Ministry Director.





Children’s Ministry at Heartland Evangelical Free Church exists to help fulfill the mission of our church. Our goal is to assist in raising up a faithful generation of children that COME, FOLLOW and SERVE.



Heartland Student Ministries exists to encourage students (7th-12th Grade) to come to Jesus Christ and establish a personal relationship with Him (Romans 10:13). To equip them to follow Jesus, who is the light of the world (John 8 :12). To em- power students to serve Him faithfully with all of their hearts (1 Sam. 12:24)

See the source image

Young Adults

We desire to dig deep into God’s Word, and through prayer follow his calling for each of our lives. We seek to grow together as a community in Christ, not just at Heartland, but also serving the church locally and globally.
Women’s MInistry’s purpose is to raise up a generation of women who know, love, and serve God. and seek to make him known, as they seek God’s truth, desire God’s purity, and have a zeal for God’s way.

The desire is for all women to know God (come), love God (follow), and serve God.

Men's ministry1
The Men’s Ministry exists to train and equip men so that they may know nothing but Christ and Him crucified, giving all glory to the Lord and enjoying Him forever.
young at heart1
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me. until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those who come.
Psalm 71:18


---Upcoming Events


Young Adults Group Begins!

 March 3rd



Discovery Class Begins

 March 10th



Women’s Spring Event

 April 6th

---God at Work Stories


By Matt Marohn  

Several years ago the question of God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will was swirling around our church. It had the unfortunate effect of becoming a very divisive thing. At the time I didn’t give it too much thought. Recently, for various reasons it became impossible to ignore. We can understand that love requires giving freedom, but there is a verse in God’s Word that indicates God is sovereign when it comes to His hand at work in human hearts. How would I make sense of this? Has my love for Him been coerced? If so, what do we make of God who is love?

After a conversation one evening with one who leaned in a direction that seemed to strain the role of free will in love, I went home very distraught. I went outside, under a beautiful canopy of stars, and prayed as hard as I ever have seeking clarity in this. Lord, help me here; I need to understand how these things work? Cracks are forming in how I understand you, and I am afraid that I may have misunderstood you. This was a desperate prayer as it challenged the core of my relationship with God. Have I confused my love for a concealed pride, as I was charged? Was I living in deception? My mind needed to understand this.




Heartland Evangelical Free Church has been serving and preaching Christ to the Annandale, MN area since it first began in 1915, over 100 years ago.  Built on the solid foundation of the Gospel, our mission is to Raise up a Faithful Generation that Comes to Jesus, Follows Him with Joy, and Serves Him with Passion.   We’d love to get to know you and welcome you into our community of disciples of Christ.  Browse our website to learn more about us, and stop by to visit us any time!