The Laestadian Lutheran Church takes its name from Martin Luther and Lars Levi Laestadius. The name of the reformer Martin Luther and his teachings are well known around the world. The name of Laestadius is less familiar. Lars Levi Laestadius was a Lutheran pastor who served in northern Sweden from 1825-1861. In 1844, after nineteen years in the ministry, Laestadius was helped into living faith by a woman named Milla Clementsdotter, a member of a group known as “Readers.” Following his conversion, Laestadius's sermons were instilled with a new power, the power of the Holy Spirit. A revival movement began and soon spread far beyond the borders of Swedish Lapland.
The movement reached North America with Finnish immigrants in the 1860s. Congregations were first formally organized in Cokato, Minnesota in 1872 and Calumet, Michigan in 1873. Since 1890 a number of schisms have splintered the movement on this continent. The subjects of disagreement have primarily been the understanding of justification, God's congregation, and the sacraments. The last division occurred in 1973 and was the impetus for the establishment of the Laestadian Lutheran Church.
The Laestadian Lutheran Church (LLC) was organized on June 9, 1973 under the name “Association of American Laestadian Congregations” (AALC). The association changed its name in 1995 in order to better convey its spiritual heritage and the nature of its organization. Today the Laestadian Lutheran Church has over thirty member congregations in the United States and Canada. The highest concentrations of members are in Minnesota, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, and Saskatchewan. The congregations are served by approximately ninety ministers. The teachings of Laestadianism are based on the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Centermost among these teachings is the sermon of Jesus' suffering, death, and victorious resurrection.