When you visit us
Our Sunday services begin at 8am and 10:30 am and last about one hour. After the worship service, we gather for some cookies, coffee (or other refreshments) and conversation in the basement. An adult Bible study is held at the school and church office building (corner of Bay and Genesee) at 9:15am and lasts about 50 minutes. We also offer Sunday School classes at 9:15am at the school for age 3 through 6th grade, Youth Bible Class for 7th-12th grades, and childcare is provided for younger ones while their parents attend Bible Study.
What should I wear?
Aside from simple decency and Christian humility, the Bible does not make rules about what to wear when you come to worship. At St. Paul’s, our members try to make their worship time at church a special time. This is often reflected in the way they dress. Because we believe that coming into God’s presence is a special and joyful celebration as well as an occasion for awe and reverence, you will find that our dress is more formal than informal.
However, dress is a personal matter of worship before God. One may dress casually and rejoice that we have a God who accepts us as we are. Another may dress to reflect the awe and reverence we have for our Savior King. When a person dresses out of love for God, the choice of dress (casual or more formal) is acceptable to God . . . and us.
Where should I enter?
We have a big church building with lots of entrances! But you don’t need to walk up the many steps to enter from the front (though you can if you want). The easiest way to enter is to park in the parking lot behind the church and enter through the basement. Follow the flow of people to the other end the basement and go up the stairs. You will be greeted by the pastors and an usher who will help you find a seat.
For those who would like to avoid the stairs, we have a handicap entrance off the handicap parking lot on the south-east side of the church which leads to an elevator.
What about my children?
St. Paul encourages young children to worship with their parents in the Sanctuary. We do this for several reasons:
- Though children can be restless, God’s Word is intended for them as well as adults.
- The repetition in our services helps children learn to participate at a young age (it’s wonderful to hear your 1 year old say “Amen” even before the rest of the church does!).
- The sights and sounds of their parents worshiping has a deep impact on your children’s spiritual development.
If your young one should become too restless during worship, parents can take their children out into the narthex (the gathering space before entering church), into the parent room (to the left as you leave the sanctuary), or the children’s room in the basement. In those places there is audio and visual of the service so that parents can continue to participate in worship if they wish.
Questions about worship
St. Paul is a liturgical church, meaning that our worship follows a basic pattern from week to week which has been shaped by how Christians have worshiped throughout history. Liturgical worship ensures that our worship is focused on Christ throughout the church year, with readings that reflect the variety and scope of what God has to say in his word.
Form of Worship
Our weekly worship services contain the following parts each week, though different liturgies may be used each week.
- Invocation: We begin our worship by calling on the name of our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Confession/Absolution: We confess to God that we have not followed his law. The Lord, through his called messenger, forgives our sins because of his Son Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
- Bible Readings: Readings from both the Old and New Testaments are a part of each week’s worship.
- Sermon: Our pastor provides guidance and encouragement for Christian faith and life based on one of our Bible readings, reminding us of our sinfulness but also of our forgiveness in Christ.
- Response to the Word: We respond to God’s amazing gift of forgiveness and salvation with offerings and prayers.
- Benediction: We end the service and begin our week with God’s promise to bless and keep us.
How to Participate
Our services follow an order of service from the front of one of our hymnals, Christian Worship (the Red One), or Christian Worship Supplement (the Blue One), which you will find in our pews. The weekly bulletin will list page numbers which guide you to our liturgy for the day.
St. Paul’s is a singing church, and the congregation participates in worship with hymns and spiritual songs, also found in our hymnals. To make it easier for everyone to participate, we generally sing hymns because they are designed for congregational singing. We also lead the music with the organ, an instrument uniquely designed to be capable to lead singing in a large space like ours. Hymn numbers for each Sunday are posted at the front of the church and are also printed in the weekly bulletin.
Like most new things, it may take a time or two to get used to our worship style. Our members will be happy to help guide you if you have any questions or need help following along.
St. Paul’s is a sacramental church. Through the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, God comes to us with forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation. We believe that in Baptism, God really does pour out his Spirit in, with, and under the water for the creation and sustaining of faith. In the same way, we believe that God truly does give his body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine to strengthen our faith and assure us of our forgiveness.
The Lord’s Supper is celebrated during services on the first and third Sundays of each month.
On the basis of Scripture, St. Paul’s and the larger church body of the WELS practice “close” Communion. As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we confess our unity of faith in the teachings of the Bible. Since we do not want to put our guests in the uncomfortable position of stating their agreement with us before we’ve had a chance to explain it to them, we kindly ask that only members of WELS or ELS congregations receive the Lord’s Supper until they’ve spoken with Pastor Buelow or Pastor Naumann.
Am I expected to give an offering?
It is customary for our members, during worship, to bring offerings to God out of thanks for his gifts to us. Our ushers will pass a plate for offering following the sermon. Please do not feel as though you are expected to give.
St. Paul’s welcomes you to come and worship with us, and we’ll never embarrass you or pressure you to join. We are here to share God’s message of forgiveness with anyone in our community who is not being served spiritually. Our goals as a congregation are quite simple: we want to grow in faith and share that faith with people like you. Everything we do is meant to accomplish these two goals. We pray that there is nothing that stands in your way from learning more about your Savior.
Pastor Buelow or Pastor Naumann are also available for Christian counseling, for couples considering marriage, for parents seeking baptism for their children, or to answer any questions you might have.
Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you. God’s blessings to you, and we look forward to seeing you at St. Paul’s to worship our Living God together!