Welcome to First Lutheran

First Lutheran Church is a small ELS (Evangelical Lutheran Synod)/ WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) congregation in Suttons Bay, Michigan. Pastor Paul Zager currently leads this little flock.

Service Times

9:00 a.m. Bible study (September – May)
10:00 a.m. Worship service
11:00 a.m. Confirmation Class & Sunday School (September – May)

Sermons & Bulletins

Read weekly bulletins
Read weekly sermons
Watch weekly sermon videos

About First Lutheran

A long local history

First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Suttons Bay was organized in 1874. It was the original Norwegian Synod congregation in this area of Michigan with the pastor serving, at one time or another, seventeen different communities. The present church building was constructed in 1886 with lumber made from logs donated by members of the congregation. The new entrance was added in 1972. Extensive remodeling was done to the church basement in 1982. The congregation entered into the Merger of 1917, but rejoined the ELS in 1922.

Interested in more information? Download a more in-depth history of First Lutheran Church in .PDF format.

Our Roots

Martin Luther’s Small Catechism is a masterful summary of the Bible’s teachings, arranged in a topical format, making it an ideal source to find answers for our faith.



A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence…not a novice…holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict those who contradict.

I Timothy 3:2-4 and 6; Titus 1:9

What We Believe

Click here for a full doctrinal statement of our beliefs.

Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).

Get Involved

For Adults

Adult Bible Class

Adult Bible class meets on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EST September – May.

Bible Instruction Class

An adult Bible instruction class taking about 12 sessions provides information about the basic Bible teachings held by the congregation, and provides plenty of opportunity to ask questions. These Inquirers Classes are held as interest is expressed. If you’re interested in more information, please contact Pastor Paul Zager.

Adult Confirmation

Faith is of greater use to us when it is a well informed faith. For this reason we offer an adult Bible class designed to help new members understand our teachings, whether they are coming from a background of no Christian faith, or from a previous experience in another denomination. Those who have never been baptized are usually baptized following Bible instruction.


In addition to the option of Adult Instruction, those coming from a background in another Lutheran denomination might wish instead to discuss their beliefs with the Pastor. Those coming from another ELS or WELS congregation may simply transfer their membership.

For Kids

Sunday School

Sunday School at First Lutheran can begin as early as age three. We want our children to have every opportunity to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, which for most of them began already as infants when they were baptized. Sunday School is more important than ever for our children. Weekly attendance at Sunday School helps give children the background which will make confirmation instruction more understandable by giving the doctrines of the Bible a real, historical backdrop in which they were first taught.

Confirmation Class

We provide instruction in the teachings of the Bible before someone takes the responsibility of membership and communion participation. This is done especially for two reasons.

God’s Word tells us that “anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” This tells us that those taking communion could actually bring judgment from God against themselves if they don’t recognize that Jesus actual body and blood are present with the Lord’s Supper. In the same portion of the Bible we are also told that “we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” People who choose to take communion in a congregation ought to know what that congregation and denomination teaches and believes so that “being one” is not just something on the surface, but is actually a unity in beliefs.

For those reasons, we provide youth Bible instruction (confirmation classes) at or about the ages of 12-­14, with a detailed study of Luther’s Small Catechism through 7th and 8th grade. These classes meet during the school year and are scheduled —as far as possible— for the convenience of the families involved.

Vacation Bible School

Check back later for Vacation Bible School details!

World Missions

Join us in supporting world missions through the ELS. Check back as we add additional missions throughout the year.

ELS World Outreach
Thoughts of Faith

Get In Touch

Send a Message

About the Pastor

Pastor Paul Zager and his wife Linda moved to Suttons Bay in 2015 from Twin Lake, Michigan, where Pastor Zager had been serving the congregation at Holton Evangelical Lutheran Church in Holton, Michigan. Linda works from home in the medical insurance industry. They have five grown children spread out across the country between Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Colorado.