Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus and current member of the College’s Board of Trustees, Rev. John Hogenson ’81, has been named the new Senior Pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Hogenson will begin his new duties on August 1, 2014.
While growing up in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul just four blocks from Luther Seminary, Hogenson never envisioned himself going to seminary until his junior year at Gustavus.
“If you had told me when my parents dropped me off for my freshman year at Gustavus that I would be considering going to seminary when I graduated I would not have believed you,” Hogenson said. “Somewhere between my sophomore and junior year of college, Christ became real to me. I believed in Christ and felt that I was also being called to ministry and it wasn’t until I went to Gustavus that I felt God’s tug.”
Hogenson was confirmed in the spring of his junior year in Christ Chapel, but remained unsure about the call to ministry. He spent the year after graduating from Gustavus wrestling with the decision to pursue a career as an attorney or a pastor, but in the end felt a call to the ministry so strong that he couldn’t resist.
“I came to Gustavus unchurched and so Gustavus and Chaplain Richard Elvee played a large role in what I do today,” Hogenson said.
Hogenson holds a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary and is a graduate of Beeson Institute for Advanced Church Leadership. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg College and on the Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services. He is a contributing author to books on servant ministry and preaching and is a national presenter on church leadership and healthy ministry.
He has spent the past 25 years in ministry and has served five congregations. Most recently, Hogenson served as Lead Pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi from 2007 to 2014. With the call to Mount Olivet, Hogenson will have served at three of the 10 largest Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations in the country.
“I have served in every sized church community there is and have enjoyed my time in each of those communities. What I appreciate about a large church like Mount Olivet is that it provides the opportunity to change the world in a way that other churches cannot even begin to imagine,” Hogenson said. “I look forward to God opening the door to new opportunities as God has done in the past for Mount Olivet.”
Mount Olivet is considered the largest Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation in the country with more than 13,000 members. Hogenson will become the church’s eighth senior pastor and the sixth Gustavus graduate to hold the title. Former senior pastors with degrees from Gustavus include Rev. Clarence T. Nelson ’12, Rev. Edgar M. Carlson ’30, Rev. Reuben Youngdahl ’31, Rev. Paul Noren ’31, and Rev. Paul M. Youngdahl ’59. In addition, Rev. Craig E. Johnson ’69 has served the congregation as Interim Senior Pastor since 2011 during the call committee process.
“Gustavus is blessed to have many strong congregational relationships and Mount Olivet Lutheran Church has consistently been a model missional partner within the Gustavus Association of Congregations,” said Grady St. Dennis, director of church relations at Gustavus. “I am thrilled for Mount Olivet. I have known both Mount Olivet and Pastor Hogenson for many years and I am excited for the way God has called their lives together. As a past member and president of the Assocation’s Board of Directors and current Gustavus Board of Trustees leader, Pastor Hogenson has truly been a servant leader and has played an influential role in shaping the church relations outreach efforts of the Gustavus Center for Servant Leadership. We look forward to many years of continued partnership.”
Hogenson lives in Stillwater with his wife of 31 years, Ruth. The couple has three daughters – Kelly (Brian), Jana, and Kate – and one grandson.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin