Panel 2

Special Services

There are special times during the church year where additional worship services are held. This section is updated throughout the year with those service times and themes.

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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 and again in 2017. 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.



You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God, so that we do not lie about, betray or slander our neighbor, but excuse him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.


What We Believe

Click here for a full doctrinal statement of our beliefs.

Additional Information

This section contains links from various affiliated websites.

Panel 4

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.

We are currently studying Article IV of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession “Of Justification”

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

Click here to see more information about this year’s VBS program!

World Missions

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

ELS World Outreach: India

ELS World Outreach: Peru

ELS World Outreach: Chile

ELS World Outreach: Korea

ELS World Outreach: Latvia

ELS World Outreach: Ukraine

ELS World Outreach: Czech Republic


Panel 5

Get In Touch

Send a Message

About the Pastor

Pastor Paul Zager

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 and Colorado. Pastor enjoys spending his spare time on a classic computer known as the Amiga and both he and Linda love to play with their two dogs, Princess & Angel.