Kogudus is an Estonian word for fellowship or a Christian gathering. As an organization, Kogudus has a rich history and has touched the lives of many people. The following is a brief summary of its beginning and continued development.
Participants at the first retreat in 1969 were twelve men from First Lutheran Church in Glasgow, Montana. This event was a response to the 1968-69 emphasis on evangelism in the American Lutheran Church and was aimed to provide a retreat experience for the men of the congregation. The second Kogudus involved pastors and laity from the congregations of the Ft. Peck Conference. Each of the following retreats included people from different communities in Montana and then from other states.
Dr. R.A. Daehlin, President of the Rocky Mountain District, suggested to Pastor Olaf Magis in 1973 that he contact Pastor Jack Hustad, director for Evangelism in the ALC, about making Kogudus ministry available to interested Lutheran congregations throughout the country. In March of 1974 a Task Force of the Division of Life and Ministry in the Congregation met with Pastor Magis and recommended lodging Kogudus ministry with the Rocky Mountain District, staffing it through the District and making it available to other districts of the ALC.
A Lutheran Brotherhood grant to the RMD was approved in November of 1974 for the purpose of financing full time leadership for Kogudus in 1975 and part of 1976. A Steering Committee was appointed by the Bishop of the RMD, Dr. Norman Wick, to make recommendations concerning the future of Kogudus ministry. The Committee called for a national gathering of Kogudus leaders in November of 1975. Twenty-two leaders, mostly laity from 8 states met to evaluate the ministry and to make recommendations for its future direction. Their evaluations were very positive; and they recommended organization and continuation of the ministry. Two more National Encounters were conducted with subsidy from the DLMC in order to give direction for this lay movement. It was decided to incorporate Kogudus Renewal Ministry in the State of Montana as a non-profit organization with a definite link and accountability to the church, the RMD of the ALC in particular but inter-Lutheran in scope. Directors for the Kogudus board were to be elected by the delegates to the annual RMD Convention.
The Board of Directors of Kogudus, the Rocky Mountain District Council and the RMD at its last Convention in May of 1986 passed a resolution recommending that Kogudus Renewal Ministry be included under the responsibilities of the Division for Ministry of the ELCA as one of the movements to which the Division would relate and support. Montana Synod of the ELCA continues sponsorship and support of the Kogudus ministry. Division for Ministry and Division for Congregational Life also continue to offer guidance and support. Kogudus is committed to serve Christ and his Church as a renewal ministry in keeping with the spirit of the Reformation.