New church forms in DL
It started out as a Bible study group and it's turned into a new church with a growing congregation.
"It was a Bible study that wanted to have a time of fellowship and Bible study," Pastor Jim Osvold said.
A couple years ago, they started to meet on a regular basis, and about a year later officially formed Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.
Osvold said the new church upholds the Lutheran theology and is associated with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).
"What He has said in the past still speaks to us today," Osvold said of studying the Bible.
"God's unchanging word is changing lives. We don't need to change God to live our lives -- he transforms us."
A couple years ago, the group started meeting to talk about what God was doing in their lives. They held mid-week meetings in the Holiday Inn, and then on Sept. 11, 2011, they held their first worship service. January of this year marked the official formation of the church.
Since then, the congregation has moved to sharing the Adventist Church on Richwood Road. Since the Adventists meet Saturday evenings, the church was available for Sunday morning worship services.
"It's a great asset for us," Osvold said of the worship space.
There are 47 charter members of the church.
When brainstorming for a name of the church, Osvold said they decided on Shepherd of the Lakes because, "God is the one who needs to be our shepherd. We seek God to be our chief shepherd and that we would follow after Him."
The church members have already hosted a couple community events including the women's retreat with Debbie Griffith, which brought together many women throughout the community.
"They're just a blessing to the community," Osvold said of the church members. "They're looking beyond this little group; they're investing in this community.
"There is a sense of excitement. This is an exciting time," he said, adding that the church is going to be a vibrant addition to the community.
Pulling double duty
Besides his time with Shepherd of the Lakes, Osvold also pastors the Lund Lutheran Church, farther up Richwood Road.
He said that pastoring the two churches, which are both part of LCMC, is unique in regard to the years that span the two. Lund is a "centuries old (church) that has been revitalized," and Shepherd of the Lakes is less than a year old.
"But they have a similar passion," he added, which is to honor the word of the Bible and the mission of Christ to bring forgiveness.
"We have a common culture of making plans and asking God to bless it rather than seeking His best plan for us," he said. "We want to be in line with what God has for us because we know it is good."
Osvold came from a Moorhead church congregation of 2,000, so it's a big difference to now pastor two small churches in Detroit Lakes.
He leads Lund Lutheran part-time (3/5 time) and he does "pulpit supply" for Shepherd of the Lakes. Shepherd of the Lakes is putting together a call committee to find a permanent pastor.
Until then though, the two churches provide for a very full Sunday morning for Osvold.
He attends the 8:30 a.m. Sunday School at Lund and then delivers the message at 9:45. In the meantime, someone else leads worship time at Shepherd of the Lakes, and then Osvold drives to Shepherd to give the sermon at 11.
Osvold's wife is still a teacher in Moorhead, but a year and a half ago they moved to Detroit Lakes.
"We wanted to make Detroit Lakes our home community," he said.
He said he gives credit to the Lund church congregation for allowing him to provide leadership services to Shepherd of the Lakes, too.
Shepherd of the Lakes Church meets at 10 a.m. for fellowship hour -- "it is graced with plenty of coffee and refreshments" -- and Sunday school for the children, and the worship service is at 11.
For more information on the church, visit www.shepherdofthelakesdl.org.