Core Values

Learn more about what we value

At home, at church, and in the community, we are driven by...


What is Friendship?
Never satisfied with surface-level relationships, friendship is a mutual, vulnerable, relationship, that yields a congregational togetherness with those inside AND outside the church. 


What is Integrity?
Never satisfied with a “going along to get along” mindset, integrity is an outward expression of THE Christian faith that yields honest, open, engaging congregational dialogue.


What is Reformation?
Never satisfied with dull, lifeless tradition, reformation is the purposeful, vibrant, communication of God’s timeless message that yields congregational renewal.


What is Selflessness?
Never satisfied with a self-protecting, inward focus, selflessness is a self-sacrificing generosity, that yields a congregational example of Christ’s abundant love.


What is Truth?
Never satisfied with popular culture’s understanding, truth is divine insight and timeless wisdom revealed in Scripture that yields congregational confidence.

Our History

Our heritage, our past

We give thanks to God for those Christian Pioneers who founded the First Lutheran Congregation in Ottumwa, Iowa, and for those faithful pastors, both lay and ordained, who have ministered to the thousands of members who have made First Lutheran their spiritual home. Surely their example should inspire us to emulate their loyalty and devotion to the task of renewing hope in our community through Christ.

 As we look at the early history of our congregation, in the 1860–1870-decade occasional worship services for the Swedish people of the Ottumwa community were help by visiting Lutheran pastors. A small group of Swedish immigrants met in 1871 to organize “The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church” in Ottumwa and to affiliate with the Augustana Synod. The charter roll of the new church included 33 persons. The new congregation met in a number of different buildings until 1874 when a site was purchased on the corner of 4th and Jefferson. In those early days, all of the services were held in Swedish. It was not until the early 1030’s that the Swedish language was eliminated entirely.

 In 1884 the church was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire. A second building was constructed on the same site in 1887. In 1920 at a special meeting of the congregation plans were adopted to build a new church building in part because of the bad condition of the building and the growing congregation. Sunday February 24, 1924, the church had its first worship service in the building we now have. In 1970 construction began for the addition of the Chapel, Fellowship Hall and Education wing. It was completed in 1971.

 Over the years First Lutheran has had 15 called full-time Pastors.

Pastor M.C. Ranseen 1875-1879
Pastor M.P. Oden 1881-1889
Pastor E.J. Nystrom 1889-1896
Pastor S.G. Youngert 1897-1901
Pastor A. Gunberg 1901-1910
Pastor O.A. Henry 1910-1912
Pastor P.O. Bersell 1913-1935
Pastor M.H. Lundeen 1935-1954
Pastor A.L. Langhoff 1955-1967
Pastor H. B. Kleinert 1968-1970
Pastor R.C. Faust 1971-1978
Pastor R. D. Andersen 1978-1993
Pastor E.A. Ward 1995-1998
Pastor Ralph A. Kister 1999 - 2014
Pastor Mark L. Johnson 2015 - 2023
Pastor Brad Miller 2023 - Current

Our hope for you

Join the family!

We take family seriously.

As a new member of our family, we hope that you would become an "Everyday Hope Renewer "(EHR), Renewing hope in our community through Christ.

Our hope is that you would grow in God's Word through daily bible reading, God time and Worship services and events.

We hope to see you connected and thriving at our church. We want to be a community to you just as much as we want you to be a community to us! We value honesty and growth here - and we hope you do as well.

As we come together and strive together to lean into the challenges Christ is calling us to, we hope that together will be a strong force in enacting that change.

We want you to serve, as well as be served.

We want you to grow, as well as help others grow.

We want you to learn, as well as to teach.

Ultimately, we want you to grow in the Lord and learn about Jesus, while becoming more like Jesus. And we want to help!

Yes, please!


Our Affiliation

We are affiliated with the Lutheran Congregations in
Mission for Christ.

We’re not a denomination, we’re a movement.  We view the local church as the place where people in the community come to get connected with God and one another.  We celebrate the fact that everyone is wired a little differently; it allows each and every one of us to serve according to our own unique strengths, skills and talents. - taken from the LCMC website