A small nucleus for Good Shepherd was formed in December, 1980, consisting of four communicants: Rodney & Donna Haas, Carolyn Edwards, and Tom Zulauf. They filled out the necessary forms for permission from the General Board for Home Missions (GBHM) of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod to conduct services in Kearney, NE. Services were conducted every two weeks until January 1, 1982 , at the Haas home. Then the services were continued in the basement of the Bill Edward home. Pastor Jerome Enderle, Grand Island, served this nucleus faithfully for five years. Pastor Gerhard Eckert and Pastor Roger Wahl also helped out Pastor Enderle occasionally.
In February of 1981, a request for exploratory status in Kearney was deferred by the GBHM. In May, 1981, the forms were resubmitted for exploratory status. Again the GBHM deferred this request at its May meeting. Despite the set backs, worship services were continued. By December of 1981, the communicant membership totaled nine. This group strongly desired to be a part of an organized WELS church so they were taken in officially as members of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grand Island, NE, even though they were worshipping in Kearney, NE.
In April, 1982, the GBHM granted the request for exploratory services to be held in Kearney, and the congregation selected the name Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church. June 6th, 1982, marked the beginning of weekly services. These took place in the community room at the Commercial Federal building on north 2nd Avenue. A unified budget was adopted. The initial membership of Good Shepherd was transferred from Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grand Island, and numbered 20 communicants with a total of 27 souls.
The rest of this history highlights some of the events that have taken place since 1982:
December, 1982 – The first children’s Christmas service was held.
January, 1983 – The request for mission status and manpower was deferred by the Board for Home Missions citing that larger facilities were needed.
March, 1983 – Committees were formed to plan summer activities.
June 1, 1983 – Joel Nitz, the summer vicar arrived. The travel/canvass/witness team (TCW) arrived and started to canvas the city with the help of the congregation. Radio and newspaper ads were used. A total of 1,547 calls were made.
August, 1983 – Joel Nitz planned and directed a week long Vacation Bible School (VBS) held at the Salvation Army building. The VBS averaged 34 kids a day in attendance.
August, 1983 – The request for mission status and manpower was again deferred by the Board for Home Missions.
September, 1983 – The synod’s stewardship program was used to obtain commitments for building a budget for 1984. A budget of $16,400 was adopted by the voters.
October, 1983 – Jennifer Carpenter, daughter of Willard and Pam Carpenter, was the first baby baptized in the congregation.
December 2, 1983 – The Nebraska Mission Board met with us.
February 21, 1984 – Pastor Enderle from Grand Island, NE informed the congregation that Good Shepherd had been granted Mission Status and given the authority to look for land.
March, 1984 – Articles of incorporation and a constitution were written by the committee. The voting members of the congregation signed the constitution on July 9th, 1984, making them charter members.
August, 1984 – Good Shepherd was incorporated and adopted the constitution.
August 19, 1984 – Worship services moved from the Commercial Federal building to Calvary Baptist Church on Avenue I. Worship services continued there until July 14th, 1985.
August, 1984 – VBS was held at Calvary Baptist Church.
October, 1984 – Good Shepherd’s bid of $70,000 was accepted for our land site. The land was formerly a tree nursery and owned by Dr. Parks.
September, 1984 – Pastor Norman Berg, chairman of the synod’s Board for Home Missions, visited to check on our land site.
December 22, 1984 – The papers of for purchasing the property were officially signed.
February 16, 1985 – The members of Good Shepherd began to remodel the building on the property to be used as a church.
February, 1985 – Pastor Jerome Enderle, who served Good Shepherd faithfully since December 1980, accepted a call to serve a congregation in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
February, 1985 – Pastor David Schultz began to serve Good Shepherd in place of Pastor Enderle.
July 14, 1985 – Pastor Donald Seelhoff, a 1983 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, was assigned and was installed as our first resident pastor. Pastor Seelhoff had served as a tutor at Martin Luther Preparatory School (MLPS) in Prairie du Chien, WI, for two years prior to being reassigned to Good Shepherd.
July 21, 1985 – Worship services started to be held at the Senior Citizen building so that worship could be held on Sunday mornings.
October 20, 1985 – A ground breaking ceremony for the parsonage was held. Members of the building committee were Bob De Turk, Tom Zulauf, and Walter Lade.
January 23, 1986 – The Seelhoffs moved into the parsonage.
March 2, 1986 – The parsonage was dedicated.
March 9, 1986 – A ground breaking ceremony was held for the new church building.
August 17, 1986 – The church was dedicated with 157 people present for the worship service. A 16 person choir sang, “Now Thank We All Our God.” Members of the building committee were Rodney Haas, Roger Posner, and Greg Green.
January 17, 1988 – Pastor Seelhoff preached his farewell sermon as he had received and accepted a call to serve in Roswell, New Mexico.
January, 1988 – Pastor Donald Wichmann, from North Platte, was called to serve as vacancy pastor.
March 5, 1988 – Pastor John Quandt was called to serve as pastor. He accepted the call in April.
May 22, 1988 – Pastor John Quandt was installed as Pastor. His first sermon was the following Sunday with his entire family in attendance.
September 10, 1994 – The first marriage of Good Shepherd members took place between Jaqueline Hutsell and Les Adelung. Due to the need for space, Pastor Quandt performed the wedding at Zion Lutheran Church in Kearney.
November 6, 1994 – The 10th anniversary of Good Shepherd was celebrated. Pastor Joel Frank, district president, served as the guest preacher. A 16 voice choir was assembled and sang for the occasion.
September 30, 1996 – Dale Kucera was called to his heavenly home. This was the first death of a member of Good Shepherd. Dale and his wife Jo Anne had become members in September 1986.
October 27, 1996 – Pastor Quandt announced that he was accepting a call to serve as pastor in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Quandt’s farewell was November 11th, 1996.
November, 1996 – Pastor Donald Wichmann was again called to serve as vacancy pastor.
May, 1997 – Pastor John Borgwardt, a seminary graduate, was assigned to serve Good Shepherd.
July 20, 1997 – Pastor Borgwardt was ordained and installed. His father, Dr. Wayne Borgwardt, served as the preacher and Pastor Wichmann served as the liturgist.
December, 2002 – Pastor Borgwardt accepted a call to serve as pastor of an exploratory church in Waukesha, WI. The Borgwardt’s farewell service was in mid December.
December, 2002 – Pastor Joshua Hillmann, from Broken Bow, was called to serve as vacancy pastor.
May, 2003 – Pastor Kurt Schaser was reassigned to serve Good Shepherd. Pastor Schaser was a 2001 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and he served as a tutor at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, WI, from 2001-2003.
June 29, 2003 – Pastor Schaser was installed. His father-in-law, Pastor John Dolan, served as the preacher and Pastor Joshua Hillmann served as liturgist.
October 17, 2010 – Our new worship facility was dedicated. Almost 200 people were in attendance for the special day. Pastor Earle Treptow served as the guest preacher. A special meal was held after worship at the Buffalo County Extension Building.
September, 2013 – Pastor Schaser received and accepted a call to St. John's, Newburg, WI.
May 2014 – Pastor Nathanael Seelow accepted the call to serve as pastor.
August 3, 2014 – Pastor Seelow was installed as pastor in an afternoon service. His father, Pastor Jeffery Seelow of Redeemer, Rice Lake, WI, preached for the service. A meal was held in the fellowship hall following the service.