The History of CtK

Christ the King Lutheran Church organized in Bozeman, Montana in 1967, under the pastoral guidance of John Baglien, Mission Organizer for the Board of American Missions of the Lutheran Church in America. The congregation began with 91 charter members (58 adults and 33 children). The new congregation gathered in the Ag Auditorium, on the campus of Montana State University, for its first worship service, on January 15, 1967. In May of that year the congregation entered the Pacific Northwest Synod of the LCA.


Members and friends held a groundbreaking service on August 4, 1968, and construction of a church home began in September. Worship continued on the MSU campus while construction progressed at the corner of South Third Avenue and Kagy Boulevard (directly East of the Museum of the Rockies). The following March, the young congregation celebrated a Service of Entry into the new facility, preceded by a 24-hour prayer vigil seeking God's guidance and presence for the new mission. Two hundred thirty people attended the Public Service of Dedication held on May 4, 1969, when the congregation became Bozeman's "southside" Lutheran Church. Pr. John Baglien served at CtK until August of 1972.


Membership in the new church fluctuated during the following years as changes in staff and practice drew new congregants and occasionally lost others. Births, marriages, and retirements influenced the changes that took place and the picture of the congregation altered in response to these events. Our membership was also influenced by the influx/outflux of students/faculty from the MSU campus over the years we were located on South Third.


Pastors serving Christ the King Lutheran between 1972 and 1982 included Curtis B. Haney (1972-1976), Eldon L. Pickering (1977-1980), David C. Prinz (1980-1981), John P. Eide (interim February 14, 1982 until he was called by CtK to serve as it's pastor and installed November 23, 1982).


Between 1982 and 1991 the congregation remained strong with an easy-going style of worship that included both a traditional service and a new folk service. Two choirs, one focused on traditional and the other on contemporary music and instrumentation, led the services and enriched the rapidly growing congregation, reaching out in particular to the MSU population of faculty and students. Pastor John Eide contributed to this new direction by maintaining an open and casual ministry.


In 1992, following the departure of Pastor Eide and the arrival of Pastor Randall "Nick" Nicolai, the congregation began to think seriously about its future in the Bozeman area. A "Dream Team" was formed to begin the process of envisioning Christ the King's future, including the possibility of an expanded or new facility in which new programs could be realized. The following ten years encompassed excitement, frustration, prayers, and meetings, all designed to bring about the dreams of the congregation. In 1998 Christ the King engaged in a successful appeal for funds to purchase new property in the Bozeman area. Partnering with the Mission Investment Fund, the congregation purchased 9+ acres at the then remote intersection of Flanders Mill and Durston Roads in the NW section of Bozeman.


Since the purchase of that property, Bozeman has witnessed enormous development in the area, confirming Christ the King's burgeoning sense of God's mission. In August of 1999 Pastor Shelley Wickstrom replaced Pastor Nicolai, and joined Christ the King in its move toward the future. A new initiative to provide for the training of seminary students during their internship year began in September of 1999 and continued through the summer of 2002. The three CtK interns (Lindean Barnett, 1999-2000, Jon Yarger, 2000-2001, Matt Toso, 2001-2002) brought a lively presence into our midst and showed us the power of faith.


Following the paying off and burning of mortgages for both properties in June 2001, Christ the King entered into a successful fundraising appeal for the construction phase of a new church facility. In 2002-03 CTA Architects/Engineers were selected to design the new building and under the leadership of the Development Team (formerly the "Dream Team"), High-Tech Construction was selected to build the new facility. In November 2003 the South Third & Kagy property was sold, however, because of a lease-option, CtK continued to meet in the old facility until the new facility was completed.


On June 20, 2004, a groundbreaking ceremony was held and construction on the new site began. The first worship services were held at the site at the corner of Flanders Mill and Durston Roads on Sunday, June 5, 2005. In September of 2007, Pastor Wickstrom took another call and in July of 2008, Christ the King called Pastors Grant and Lindean Barnett Christenson to serve as their co-pastors. (Pr. Lindean was CtK's first seminary student intern in 1999-2000 under the supervision of Pastor Wickstrom).

The congregation looks forward to realizing its dream of expanding God's work through this new location and the ministries that are possible.