This Week in AG History — May 5, 1963
By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 5 May 2016
At the age of seven, Lowell Lundstrom (1939-2012) decided he would become either a preacher or a famous entertainer. He became both, but not before experiencing the thrill of worldly success and seeing his life veer out of control.
Lowell’s grandmother gave young Lowell a book about the life of Jesus, which inspired him to dream about sharing Christ’s story with others. But he grew enamored with the fast-paced world of popular culture and soon abandoned the idea of entering the ministry.
Lowell spent countless hours as a youth sneaking into bars and nightclubs, where he learned how to play the guitar. At age 13, he won a talent contest in his hometown in South Dakota. He soon joined a Dixieland jazz band, and by age 14 he started his own rock and roll band.
Lowell seemingly had everything a worldly teenager could desire — clothes, money, popularity, and nightclub engagements. He tasted success, and it was sweet. One evening, he met a beautiful brunette girl at a nightclub who would change the trajectory of his life. This girl, Connie Brown, was raised in an Assemblies of God church, but she had fallen away from the Lord and had become a nightclub entertainer. She had certain standards and refused to do certain things that many of the other entertainers did. But deep inside, she felt dirty and knew that she had chosen a life of compromise.
Lowell and Connie bonded quickly. She started playing guitar in his band, the Rhythm-airs. Lowell and his band won contests, played on radio and television, and got gigs at dances and nightclubs.
Success bred sleeplessness and stress. Lowell was constantly on the road, driving from town to town. After he narrowly avoided death in a car crash, he realized that he was out of control. Scared that he would die, Lowell remembered his childhood faith and began to cry out to God.
The Holy Spirit began dealing with Lowell’s rebellious heart, but the young entertainer did not want to give up his sinful lifestyle. He started negotiating with God: “Ten years, Lord,” he prayed, “Just give me ten years to do what I want to, and then I’ll serve you.” After another car crash almost ended his life, Lowell grew disgusted with his sin and rebellion. He was only 17, but realized that he was heading toward an early death.
One Sunday night, Lowell had planned to take Connie to a movie. They instead went to an evangelistic service at Connie’s church, the Assembly of God in Sisseton, South Dakota. There, on April 7, 1957, Lowell gave his heart to the Lord. He cancelled his nightclub engagements and found a job picking rocks, the only work he could find in his rural South Dakota community.
Lowell and Connie began using their musical abilities for the Lord, singing in churches and sharing their testimonies. They found true peace and joy and wanted to share it with others. They prepared for ministry at two Assemblies of God schools — Lakewood Park Bible School (now Trinity Bible College, Ellendale, North Dakota) and North Central Bible College (now North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota).
After seeing Lowell’s drastic life transformation, Lowell’s entire family decided to follow suit and follow Christ. Lowell’s brothers, Larry and Leon, joined them in ministry, as did Connie and Lowell’s children. The Lundstroms became prominent Assemblies of God evangelists and traveled across the United States by bus, holding interdenominational evangelistic crusades.
Lowell and Connie Lundstrom were best-known in their home territory of the northern Great Plains, where they blended well into the Scandinavian culture. In countless small towns on the northern prairies, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Lutheran, and other churches cooperated in sponsoring the Lundstroms. An estimated one million people decided to follow Christ in the Lundstrom crusades, which spanned five decades.
Lowell recorded 30-minute weekly radio broadcasts, “Message for America,” which aired for 20 years on as many as 170 radio stations. He also served as president and chancellor of Trinity Bible College for 10 years. In 1996, after almost 40 years of itinerant ministry, the Lundstroms put down roots in suburban Minneapolis, where they founded Celebration Church (AG). After six decades of ministry, Connie and Lowell went to be with the Lord — Connie in December 2011 and Lowell in July 2012.
Lowell Lundstrom’s life beautifully demonstrates how God can redeem a person who has succumbed to the temptations of the world. At a young age, Lowell was faced with a choice to either follow God or follow the world. He tasted worldly success, but soon realized that his life was out of control. When he decided to follow Christ, he gave up his aspirations of making it big in the rock and roll scene. Lowell instead followed God’s call into ministry, where he used his gifts to lead countless people to find peace and joy in Christ.
Read Lowell Lundstrom’s story, “God, Leave Me Alone!” written by Betty Swinford, on pages 6-7 of the May 5, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
* “Christ is All,” by James A. Cross
* “Christ: The Master Teacher,” by Grace L. Walther
* “Light for the Lost: Tenth Anniversary Banquet,” by Everett James
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
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