Our History and Mission
Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center was established in a time of national uncertainty and economic instability: the oil crisis of the 1970s. Pastor Paul Youngdahl, then Senior Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, worried that steeply rising gasoline prices would hinder travel to Cathedral of the Pines in northern Minnesota. How could Mount Olivet Lutheran Church continue its ministry of faith formation nearby?
With vision and inspiration, in 1976 the church purchased 154 acres of farmland, just 35 minutes south of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Pastor Youngdahl wrote to the congregation at the time, “I am personally convinced that the Mount Olivet Lutheran Church Retreat Center will be a continuation . . . of spiritual growth on a year-round basis. People of all ages from our congregation and from the community will now have a place close by to go, to be still, to grow in the Word of God, to enjoy Christian fellowship.”
As a result, for over forty years, Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center has nurtured the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth of Mount Olivet church members, other communities of faith, and non-profit organizations through caring and creative ministries, quiet reflection, and reverence for all life.