Our Story


Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church began as a Home Mission church of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) in August of 1985, meeting in the Cokato Elementary gymnasium. The Baptist church in town had built and moved to a new building north of Cokato, so when one of the church family's infant died, the Baptist church offered its old, vacant building (located on Broadway Ave just south of Casey’s General Store – an apartment building sits on the site now) so the funeral could be performed in a church. Not long after the funeral, a deal was worked out to purchase the former Baptist church – and the new congregation had a church building.


In June of 1992 a storm swept through Cokato, stripping trees of their leaves, vehicles of their windows, and buildings of their walls and/or roofs – Good Shepherd was a total loss. A building committee was already formed due to the fact we were starting to outgrow our current facility. The committee changed gears from adding on to possibly moving to a different location.


The stained glass windows in the former Baptist church had been donated by railroad tycoon James J Hill. The story passed on through the generations claimed that due to the size of the windows and the old church's proximity to the railroad tracks, anytime a train traveled through town the windows would break. After the church replaced the windows many times, Hill made a donation to have stained glass installed. The windows didn’t break until the 1992 storm. Most of the stained glass in the current sanctuary windows is from the old church windows, with new glass added to make up for what was too small to reuse.

We are a church family that unapologetically believes the Scripture (2 Tim. 3:14-18), that God is holy and we are sinful (Rom. 3:20-26), but God's love is so great that He adopts us in Christ to be a part of His family (Gal. 3:24-30).

Our ministries include small Bible study groups, help support the Pregnancy Resource Center in St. Cloud, donate to the local food bank in Cokato, and volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels in the Cokato area, just to name a few ministries. Along with volunteer work there are a number of missionaries we help support.

What To Expect

Worship services are casual at Good Shepherd. You will find people wear anything from suits and dresses, to "business casual," to jeans and t-shirt. We encourage you to arrive about 30 minutes before the service starts during the school year so you can grab a cup of coffee and meet people. The first service of every month we celebrate communion, and the communion table is open to adults and confirmed youth who are open an honest of their sin and proclaim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Services are usually a little over an hour, and then you’re welcome to hang out and talk with people afterwards.

During the school year we have Sunday School for all ages, with a combined 15-minute opening exercise for all ages the first Sunday of each month. We also offer a nursery for families that have children under the age of 3 during both the Sunday school hour and our church service.  We encourage all school-age children to join their parents in adult service.

Our Staff

Pastor Mark Olson is our current pastor. Pastor Mark also leads the youth group and directs the church choir (when they can meet). Monica Berg staffs our office a few days a week, and Emily Anderson is the Sunday School superintendent.

Pastor Mark Olson
Pastor Mark Olson
Monica Berg
Monica Berg
Emily Anderson
Emily Anderson

Our Beliefs

While writing to the Colossae Church, the Apostle Paul gave insights, as a way of encouragement, to this new congregation. These insights are still relevant today in the building up of the Body of Christ. They are timely and powerful and will greatly help a Christ-centered congregation.

1) Be Forgiven of Personal Sin 

Every person born needs to be forgiven from their sin. This forgiveness is found through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:13-14

2) Forgive Others 

As a result of Christ's atoning work on the cross, changes in attitudes and lifestyles are to take place in the lives of Christians. Evidence that a person is in Christ is demonstrated by their God-given ability to forgive others. Colossians 3:12-14

3) Be Giving of Yourself to the Lord's Service 

Christ must take the throne of our lives and become the Lord of every area in our being. The mind, under the controle of the Holy Spirit, submits to the Lord's will and desires to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords. The highest calling to men is to surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

These principles are essential for the beginnings of a new Living Congregation. In addition to these, we submit to you principles from the Book of Colossians which enhance the process of being a Living Congregation.

Principles from Colossians 

A - Passion for Jesus 

Must have a living relationship with Christ. Colossians 1:16-19; Colossians 3:1-3

B - Passion for the Word 

The foundation of our lives must be centered around the Bible. Colossians 1:25-29; Colossians 2:8-9

C - Passion for Prayer 

The prayer meetings are the powerhouse. Colossians 4:2-4

D - Passion to Reach the Lost 

Must have a true love for those who don't know Christ and be active in sharing their faith. Colossians 1:28; Colossians 2:1-2; Colossians 4:3-6

E - Passion to be Lutheran in Doctrine and Sacraments 

Must support the AFLC's Fundamental Principles and Declaration of Faith. Colossians 2:12-15

F - Passion for Holy (Pietistic) Living 

Must be devoted to daily living the Christian life. Colossians 1:10; Colossians 1:21-22; Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:5-8

G - Passion to be Involved in Building Up the Kingdom of God 

Must have a desire to serve and share the Gospel at all times. Colossians 3:23-24

H - Passion for Spiritual Life in the Congregation 

The Body of Christ is to be caring for its own. Colossians 1:4; Colossians 2:2-4; Colossians 3:1-12

I - Passion for God's order in marriage, family, and congregation 

According to God's design, men are to be the spiritual leaders. Colossians 2:8-10; Colossians 3:18-21

J - Passion for the Priesthood of Believers 

Everyone is able to contribute in service to the Lord. Colossians 4:7-17 Colossians 3:18-21 (Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Barnabas, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Archippus)

K - Passion for God's righteousness regardless of suffering 

We are not called to Political Correctness, but rather to be faithful. Colossians 1:24-29

L - Passion for God-centered worship 

Worship is a celebration in which God's name is to be honored and lifted up. Colossians 2:18-19; Colossians 3:16-17

M - Passion for Christ'centered victorious living 

Evidence of Christ's indwelling is freedom to say no to the flesh and its desires. Colossians 2:13-15