Good Shepherd Lutheran Church had its beginning in the summer of 1946 when the Board of Directors of Iowa District West sent several theological students into the northeast section of Fort Dodge to survey possibilities for the establishment of a church. As a result of this survey, the District Board was authorized to call a missionary-at-large and Candidate Richard Lammers was called to work the field.

Photo of Bethel Chapel

On September 21, 1947, Sunday School sessions were inaugurated. The first divine worship service was held on October 5, 1947, in the old parsonage. On November 21, 1947, the Church was officially organized under the name of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first pastor, The Rev. Richard Lammers, was installed on December 14, 1947. Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church became affiliated with The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in 1948.

Charter members were Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Mattfeld, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Smokstad, Mr. and Mrs. Norman D. Weiss, Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Theiss, Mr. and Mrs. Royal H. Evans, Royal Evans, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Herbert J. Horn, Lorenz Horn, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Kolb, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Kolb, Mrs. Pauline Ricke, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Marxhausen, Mrs. Mary Rush, Mrs. Mary C. Lempke, Mr. and Mrs. Helmuth Rumme, Miss Earla Rumme, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Loots, Larry Loots, Mr. and Mrs. Darwin Brand, Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Mitchell, Dr. and Mrs. Norman Runge, Miss Therese Theiss, Mrs. Dorothy Bowman, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bates, Mr. and Mrs. Myron Guggisberg, Miss Ada Hagenbuch, Miss Alma Theiss, Miss Mamie Theiss, Mr. and Mrs. August Ricke, Mr. and Mrs. Karl Stahl.

On January 4, 1948, the first officers of the Church were installed. The first Ladies Aid Society was organized on January 13, 1948. On May 30, 1948, the first Adult Confirmation Class was received into membership. The first Mission Festival was held on June 6, 1948. September 15, 1948 marked the beginning of the Walther League Society. On February 14, 1949, the first Men’s Club was organized. The first children’s confirmation class was received into membership on April 10, 1949. There were three children confirmed. A meeting was held on February 13, 1963, at which time the first Ruth Circle was organized. The first Couples Club met on January 10, 1965.

Photo of Bethel Church

The need for larger quarters for the growing membership moved the congregation to embark on a building program. For this purpose, the site at Ninth Avenue North and Fourteenth Street was acquired. The cornerstone of the new church was laid on October 29, 1950. Formal dedication of the new church took place on September 23, 1951.

In 1965, a committee was formed to proceed with preliminary investigation of stained glass windows. After much time and effort was expended, the “Good Shepherd” window accompanied by two side windows representing the Father and the Holy Spirit were presented to the Voters for consideration. On April 23, 1967, the windows were dedicated in the former church building.

Today, you see all three windows. The “Good Shepherd” window, after which our Church is now named, is in the center of the stone wall in the Chancel. The other two windows are to be seen, dividing the Pastor’s office from the Church Lounge. There is another “Good Shepherd” window to be found on the outside wall of the Pastor’s office, which can also be seen from the outdoors.

In the winter of 1965, preliminary study was made concerning the possibility of relocation. In January of 1966, an open meeting was held, followed by others, to consider such a move. On April 9, 1967, the Voting Assembly of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church voted to relocate. Some time later, it was decided to change the name from Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, effective when the Congregation moved to the new site. Land was purchased on the Theiss farm and on September 8, 1968, the Ground Breaking Ceremony took place. One year later, on September 7, 1969, the new worship and educational facilities were dedicated to the glory of God. In 1980, the Ground Breaking Ceremony took place for additional educational facilities, which were dedicated in 1981.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church celebrated her Golden (50th) Anniversary on November 21, 1997. To date, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church numbers 890 baptized and 720 confirmed members.

Six pastors have served Good Shepherd Lutheran Church since its inception as Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church. They are the Rev. Richard Lammers, 1947-1951; The Rev. Lawrence Brandt, 1951-1953; The Rev. Lothar Braeunig, 1954-1961; The Rev. Charles Scott, 1992-1995; The Rev. G. L. Milbrath, 1962-1999; The Rev. Lyle Hansen, 2000-2015 and The Rev. Nicholas Thackery from 2016 to the present time. In addition, two lay workers served the congregation: Larry Freie from 1972-1974 and Kenneth Hays from 1976-1986. Reverend David Anderson served as Pastoral Assistant from 1997-2000. Brad Niemeyer served as Director of Christian Education from 2003-2013. Vicars who served the congregation were: Richard Milbrandt, Keith Banwart, Kevin Zellers, Wayne Schwiesow and Charles Scott.

Four sons of the congregation have entered the Holy Ministry. They are The Rev. Marvin Hoyer, Dr. Robert Kolb, The Rev. Donald Weiss and The Rev. Jeff Prewitt. In addition, Mr John Hagge became a Director of Christian Education and Mr Dale Woock entered the teaching profession with a special emphasis on music. Another member of the congregation, Rochelle Milbrath, spent the 1995-1996 year as a member of a Lutheran musical mission team. She spent five months in Papua, New Guinea.