Our Story - 50th Anniversary

 50th Anniversary Celebration

In February 1971, the Southwood Lutheran Church congregation was born! Like Jesus, Southwood had humble beginnings in a small rented clubhouse with donated supplies from congregations in the area. But the small group of individuals who came together to grow the church knew they were part of something special. Fifty years later, the church has grown to over 4,000 members who feel blessed to call Southwood Lutheran their home.

We invite you to check out this web page to view highlights of Southwood's history.

Church History

Late 1960s:
  • Four acres were purchased at 5511 S 27th Street and the name for the new mission church is to be called Southwood Lutheran Church.
September 1970:
  • First worship service held with 102 worshipers in the Southwood Neighborhood Clubhouse.
  • Sister congregations provided a portable altar, communion trays, Sunday School materials and a piano.
February 1971:
  • Southwood Lutheran Church was organized as a congregation with 87 charter members.
June 1972:
  • Original Southwood Lutheran Church dedicated at 5511 S 27th Street.
  • Addition made to west side of original Southwood Lutheran Church to provide much needed space for education, fellowship and worship.
  • Music ministry has always been a way Southwood has celebrated and shared God's message. The Mixed Choir, Men's Chorus, small groups and soloists have helped deliver this music ministry.
  • Southwood began partnering with Meals on Wheels to deliver meals.
  • Pastor John Bunge becomes the new Senior Pastor.
  • God continues to bless Southwood’s mission and ministries in Lincoln as church reaches a milestone of 1,000 members.
  • Sunday School and Vacation Bible School have been staples of Southwood's programming since its inception. As our church has grown, these programs have also grown exponentially.
  • In 1991, ground was broken to add a sanctuary to the church. After a slight construction delay, the Southwood Lutheran sanctuary was dedicated on June 14, 1992.
  • Pastor Greg Olson becomes the new Senior Pastor.
  • New pipe organ dedicated. This pipe organ continues to enhance our church services today.
  • First mission trip to Honduras is held. Check out this timeline to see how this partnership has grown.
  • A third pastor is added to meet the growing needs of the congregation, which reaches another milestone of 2,000 members.
  • A commitment to reach out and serve more prompts Southwood to purchase land on South 40th Street. November 21, 2001 land dedication.
  • Southwood Lutheran establishes a sister church relationship in Tanzania. Check out this timeline to see how this partnership has grown.
  • Southwood began serving at Matt Talbot in November 2003.
  • Southwood hosts its first Small Group study focused on The Purpose Driven Life book.
  • Southwood hosted their first solo medical clinic at Clinic with a Heart on May 17.
  • Southwood Lutheran Church's new facility located at 4301 Wilderness Hills Boulevard is dedicated.
  • Southwood began partnering with the Food Bank to prepare weekly backpacks for students at Saratoga Elementary. Southwood volunteers currently prepare 100 backpacks.
  • Southwood Lutheran continues to grow with 3,000 members.
  • Southwood Serves is introduced as an annual event. Hundreds of congregational members and guests serve throughout the community on the same date.
  • Southwood sets up a garden on the church property to provide fresh food for distribution through the Food Bank.
  • Southwood introduced quarterly Healing Prayer Services to provide comfort, support and healing for many difficult life situations.
  • Southwood Lutheran membership tops the 4,000 person mark.
  • Ten years after its inception, Small Group studies continue to be a vibrant part of Southwood's adult ministry program.
  • Southwood achieved the goal to have 25% of all giving go toward Missions.
  • Southwood partners with Food Bank to begin monthly food distribution in Palmyra (NE). Southwood volunteers serve between 25-55 families each month.
  • Southwood began partnering with the Food Bank to offer monthly food distributions for students at Northeast High School.
  • After massive flooding in the Midwest, Southwood partnered with Omaha Rapid Response to host a Serve Strong Day. Over 100 adults and youth helped with flood clean-up around King Lake, NE.

Pastor and Council President History

Roland Hanselmann

Senior Pastor, July 1970 to June 1985

Doug Minter

Associate Pastor, March 1983 to July 1985

Alvin Peterson

Interim Pastor, 1985 to 1986

John Bunge

Senior Pastor, March 1986 to November 1994

Roger Lenander

Associate Pastor, September 1987 to July 1996

Harry Anderson

Interim Pastor, 1995

Pastor Photos 1995 to Present

Greg Olson

Senior Pastor, December 1995 to Present

Megan Morrow

Associate Pastor, June 1997 to June 2004

Michael Ryan

Associate Pastor, November 2000 to Present

Sara Spohr

Associate Pastor, September 2005 to March 2014

Beth Ann Lechtenberger Stone

Associate Pastor, August 2014 to December 2016

Karl-John Stone

Associate Pastor, August 2014 to September 2018

Jessica Kingsborough

Associate Pastor, July 2019 to Present

Church Council Presidents
  • 1971   Keith Christensen
  • 1972   Keith Christensen
  • 1973   Ralph Englert
  • 1974   Ralph Englert
  • 1975   Ralph Englert
  • 1976   Dennis Claridge
  • 1977   Dennis Claridge
  • 1978   Mike Eisenhauer
  • 1979   Dean Gilbertson
  • 1980   Dick Vosteen
  • 1981   Henry Brandt
  • 1982   Ronald Goldenstein
  • 1983   Linda Robinson
  • 1984   Henry Brandt
  • 1985   Henry Brandt
  • 1986   Dean Gilbertson
  • 1987   Dean Gilbertson
  • 1988   Jon Ludwig
  • 1989   Kelly Asmussen
  • 1990   Chuck Wall
  • 1991   Chuck Wall
  • 1992   Kevin McCarville
  • 1993   Dennis Stelzer
  • 1994   Terry Zimmerman
  • 1995   Tom Dahlgren
  • 1996   Sandy Wall
  • 1997   Frank Roby
  • 1998   Cathy Parker
  • 1999   Dwight Wininger
Church Council Presidents
  • 2000   Tom Dahlgren
  • 2001   Bob Bauerle
  • 2002   Kim Moore
  • 2003   Lori Buchmann
  • 2004   Dwight Wininger/Kim Moore
  • 2005   Kim Moore
  • 2006   Kevin Meyer
  • 2007   Boyd Ober
  • 2008   Tammy Engle
  • 2009   Neal Lyons
  • 2010   Jo Sheets
  • 2011   Greg Berstler
  • 2012   Brian Boesiger
  • 2013   Jodi Rowlett
  • 2014   Bob Bauerle
  • 2015   Charlie Francis
  • 2016   Dan Klaus
  • 2017   Jason Pauling
  • 2018   Tom Blankenau
  • 2019   Kay Anderson
  • 2020   Denise Meyer
  • 2021   Jill Hurlbut