In April 1953, the Mission Board of the Texas
District, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) extended a call to
Pastoral Candidate Lester Hall, to begin a mission in the fast growing
community of Irving just across the Trinity River from Dallas.
Irving's population increased from 2,621 in 1950 to an estimated 22,500 in
1955. A canvas made by Albert Grauer of the Irving area from April 1
- August 1, 1953 indicated that there were 60 Lutheran and 167 un-churched
prospective members. Rev. Hall, a June 1953 graduate of Concordia
Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, accepted the call on June 8.
The first worship service was held at 3:00 PM on Sunday
August 30, 1953 in the cafeteria of East Elementary School (now J. O.
Schulze Elementary) located at 1200 S. Irving Heights Dr. with an
attendance of 225. At worship on September 6 Pastor Hall proposed
naming the congregation "Good Shepherd". The new congregation
moved to Irving High School (now James Bowie Junior High) at 600 E. 6th
St. where the auditorium was larger on September 20. On November 8
the congregation adopted a constitution (signed by seventeen) in a meeting
held at the home of Lee Johnson. A total of 137 signed the charter,
three of which are currently members.
The new congregation approved the purchase of a five
acre tract of land (the current property) from W. W. Fisher, Sr. at a
price not to exceed $10,500 on November 15.
On March 20, 1955 the cornerstone was set, made by
Bernhard Porath, in the NW corner of the Parish Hall with the inscription:
"To the Glory of God - 1955." Additions to the complex were
dedicated in 1962 and 1969.
In September 1963 the Christian Day School began
operation. The school grew to include grades K-6. Prior to its
closure in May 1985 the school had enrolled 715 students.
Within the LCMS, disagreements and conflicts had
apparently been going on for a number of years over a range of subjects.
Resolutions passed at the 1965 Synod Convention, held in Detroit,
Michigan, caused current Pastor Norman Behrmann and Good Shepherd to
eventually become involved. On February 17, 1974 conflict at
Concordia Seminary in St. Louis caused the Voters of Good Shepherd to
formally dissent with the current policies and positions taken by the
leadership of the LCMS. In June 1976 the Voters approved joining
with other Lutheran congregations from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and
Nebraska to become founding members of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC).
Good Shepherd delegates attended the constituting convention of the
Southwest Regional Synod of the AELC in Oklahoma City on November 12-13,
1976. As a result of this affiliation Good Shepherd's membership in
the LCMS was terminated in May 1978 by action of the Texas District.
Major celebrations occurred in 1988 as Good Shepherd
and the AELC merged with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and the
American Lutheran Church (ALC) on January 1 to form the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America. Then on May 1 the congregation dedicated
its newly constructed worship space with seating for 240, numerous stained
glass windows, a Cross tower, and a refurbished 1909 Hinners pipe organ.
The original building, which had served as the worship space since 1955,
was remodeled and now serves as the fellowship hall.
The congregation celebrated its 60th anniversary
November 10, 2013 and continues to look forward to new opportunities for
mission and ministry.
Good Shepherd has been served by seven pastors:
- The Rev. Lester L. Hall (August 30, 1953 - April 28, 1957)
- The Rev. Paul J. Schumacher (January 5, 1958 - August 31, 1964)
- The Rev. Norman P. Behrmann (September 13, 1964 - June 4, 1978)
- The Rev. Ray A. Zischang (September 8, 1974 - January 1, 1980)
- The Rev. Robert J. Werberig (June 29, 1980 - March 31, 1995)
- The Rev. Roland C. Lindeman (July 7, 1997 - August 12, 2007)
- The Rev. Bradley T. Carroll (October 1, 2008 - April 13, 2018)