Do I need to be a member to have my child baptized? No, you do not need to be a member. However, since baptism is the beginning of a life long relationship with God, we feel it is important for you to be worshiping with us on a regular basis. And, since in baptism your child becomes a member of the Christian family as a whole and St. Paul Lutheran, we would hope you want to become a member. Membership classes are offered throughout the year.
How do I go about scheduling a Baptism? Contact the church office and also download our Baptism Information Form. We have a very helpful booklet we would like you to read, titled “Welcome to the Family”. At the same time, the church office, in cooperation with the pastor, schedules a date on the worship service calendar. Parents are asked to schedule a meeting with the pastor in advance of the Baptism. In the case of an older child, the presence of the child is encouraged. For adults there is a brief period of instruction.
How do I arrange for a wedding? The privilege of being married at St. Paul Lutheran Church is reserved for those who publicly practice their Christian faith. That is most clearly seen in regular worship attendance. For weddings, please call the church office to speak to the pastor. More questions can be answered by downloading: St. Paul’s Wedding Preparations Guide and Application.
Can we participate in Bible Study and Sunday School? Yes! Spirituality at St. Paul is all about knowing what you believe and why you believe it, which means that you simply aren’t getting the full experience until you dig into Bible study. Discipleship in the Word takes precedence every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. with two adult study classes to choose form, and a full Sunday School for children age three through eighth grace. High school students are invited to join their friends in a class that is held in Room 5 of the lower level. High school youth also can get involved in the regular youth group, which meets most Sunday nights at 5pm.
May I attend Sunday School with my child? Some parents of younger children do attend Sunday School with their child until the child feels comfortable in the new situation.
Does the church provide child care during worship services? Child care is provided during worship services and Christian education hour for children age 3 and under.
Is child care provided at other times? Our Child Care Coordinator will make every effort to provide for the supervision of children at fellowship events and congregational meetings. If childcare would enable you to volunteer in an area of ministry, please contact the church office and we will attempt to meet those special needs.
I heard that the LCMS believes other Christians are not worthy to commune with them. Is that true? No. a person does not need to become worthy to take the Lord’s Supper. It is the Lord’s Supper that makes a person worthy to stand in the free gift of righteousness before the judgment seat of Christ.
At St. Paul we believe that in the Lord’s Supper we receive the very body and blood of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, eaten and drunk with the bread and wine, as the giving of forgiveness of sins unto eternal life. Because this great promise form our Lord is given to us together, as a community, at St. Paul we cling to the ancient belief that to take communion at a congregation is the same thing as to to join that congregation.
For this reason, visitors who do not know what Lutherans believe about the Lord’s Supper, or who disagree with it, or who disagree with other fundamental points of Lutheran teaching that would keep them from joining our congregation, are encouraged to refrain from participating in the Lord’s Supper until they are able to talk with our pastor. Non-Christians and those who publicly deny the inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Scripture are also asked to speak with the pastor.
Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod who have already given their public testimony that they agree with our teachings by virtue of their membership in another LCMS congregation are welcome to commune with, not because they are worthy, but because they are already member of our commun(ion)ity.
When I bring a friend to church, may they take Holy Communion? We would encourage you to talk openly about the gifts you receive in Holy Communion – specifically, the body and blood of Christ himself, in, with and under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of your sins. This personal witness is certainly the best way to communicate these truths. An introduction to one of St. Paul’s called workers may also serve this purpose. There is also a statement of our beliefs regarding communion in the church bulletin on Sundays when Holy Communion is offered.
What about getting married at St. Paul? We believe that the best beginning for a man and a woman is found in the Christian community, when their marriage invites Jesus Christ to be at the center of their home and family. Contact the church office to receive a wedding brochure which answers more specific questions. The pastor of St. Paul will encourage a couple to meet with him several times to assist the couple in preparation for the joys and challenges of married life together.
Can the building be used for non-church related activities such as wedding and baby showers? Yes, please contact the church office for reserving and scheduling information. A small donation is expected for utility use and janitorial fees.
Who should I call if I or a member of my family is hospitalized? Call the church office (810-231-1033) during office hours, Monday through Friday. You may also call Pastor Gaertner on his cell phone (810-355-6517).
How do I get offering envelopes? You may use one of the contribution envelopes provided in the pew and check the box to request envelopes. Be sure to complete all the information blanks.
How do I give a gift to a designated church project? The Leadership of St. Paul occasionally identifies projects outside the General Fund that are one-time expenditures to meet a specific need. Normally a “special fund” envelope is provided. You may also use one of the contribution envelopes provided in the pew. Gifts to these special funds will be included on your annual giving statement
When is Vacation Bible School? Vacation Bible School is normally scheduled the last full week in July. This program of Christian Education is offered Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – noon and is open to children age 3 through 8th grade.
How does the Junior Confirmation program work? Normally beginning in 7th grade, St. Paul Lutheran Church provides an opportunity for young people to take a close look at the gifts of faith given in Holy Baptism. This is a two year program that provides learning opportunities in the classroom and retreat setting. The instruction includes the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith as expressed by Confessional Lutherans. The program is also an experience in Christian community, building relationships with young people among their peers and caring Christian adults.
If I attend St. Paul for several years, am I automatically a member? We encourage the people of St. Paul to take seriously the privileges and responsibilities of membership. We also believe that while many of the beliefs of Christianity are very similar teachings, there are some understandings that make us uniquely Lutheran. There are steps to take to become a member of St. Paul. If you are currently a member of another Lutheran Church, your membership can be transferred. For those who wish to become members by Adult Confirmation, we regularly offer a class for adults called the “Adult Instruction Class (A.I.C.).
What is Adult Instruction Class? (A.I.C.) This class is provided for adults to help better understand the Lutheran expression of the Christian faith. Participants may be persons who are already members of St. Paul and simply wish to review basic teachings. They may also be people who are looking for a better understanding of what we believe and teach. This class is also designed for persons who would like to become a Christian, or who have had membership in other Christian denominations. There is no obligation to join St. Paul, but it is offered as an option near the end of the classes. A.I.C. is offered 2 or 3 times each year.
What is expected of a new member? We believe that God has gifted us for lives with purpose and meaning. Those responsibilities are found in family, community and in your church family. Members are expected to use their time, talent and treasure to fulfill those God given purposes. Together we accomplish what we cannot do as individuals. As a new member you are in a unique place in your relationships with others. You may very well be the person best suited to share the Good News of God’s love in Christ among the people you know.
How do I volunteer? There is a “Ministry Opportunities” brochure included in the packet that new members receive. This brochure is also included as part of our annual fall stewardship program. Be sure to check your bulletin every Sunday for current volunteer needs and watch for sign-up Sundays. The best way to volunteer is to approach a person in the leadership of a particular program and say, “May I help?” Most important, don’t wait for someone to call you to get involved.
If I have an idea for a new ministry, who do I talk to? The people of St. Paul are very open to new ways of sharing God’s unchanging love in a world that changes daily and requires us to care for people that really meets their needs. You may contact any member of the church leadership, who are listed weekly in the church bulletin. They will relay your suggestion to the person responsible in that ministry area.
How do I get a mailbox assigned to me? Mailboxes are assigned by the church office and usually this assignment is made when the individual or family becomes a member. If you do not find a box assigned to you, please contact the church office.
May I use the church copy machine for personal copies? Yes, during normal office hours. We would ask that you limit your printing to a small number of copies. We suggest a donation of 10 cents per page.
May I use the church fax machine to send or receive a fax? Yes, during normal office hours. You may want to consider a donation of 25 cents per page for costs associated with sending and receiving faxes.
Can I help myself to the beverages in the refrigerator? Yes, the standing rule for the church refrigerator is that unlabelled items are considered “community property”. We ask only that you would monitor your children to make sure that the kitchen is kept clean and nothing is wasted.
What mission efforts does St. Paul support? A portion of monetary gifts contributed to the General Fund are designated for the mission efforts of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on the regional, national and international level. This money supports the training of church leaders and the starting of new congregations. In addition, we designate a portion of our budget to more specific projects; for example, the translation of the Bible into other languages, mission outreach to the deaf, handicapped, immigrant and minority populations. Our Vacation Bible School program supports children through Compassion International or World Vision.
What if I have a special need and don’t know where to go for help? St. Paul has a strong desire “to make visible the invisible Christ” in our congregation, community and world. We invite you to call the church office or discuss with a member of the called staff your specific need. Be assured that we will make every effort to meet that need or find resources within our community to address those circumstances and situations that offer the healing love of our Heavenly Father.