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New to Zion

We are blessed that you have found our web site and we encourage you to read on and learn a bit more about us. Whether you are new to the faith or have found that it’s time to return to the church or if you’re new to the area, we hope you’ll follow up your internet visit with a face to face visit in the near future.

At Zion Lutheran Church we strive to provide an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming. We expect that you will be greeted when you enter our doors, that you will be shown love and respect while you are here, and that when you leave, you will look forward to returning.

Zion is located at 510 W. Ivy Avenue in Bay City, Michigan, which is only a couple of blocks from the intersection of Salzburg and Euclid.

Click here for Google maps.

Everyone is always welcome to worship at Zion. If you have never been to church, this is a great place to start. If you slipped away from the church, we would love to have you slide back in. If you had an unfortunate experience previously with a church, we know what that can be like. We hope you’ll give God another chance here at Zion. If you are stuck in some difficult sin, you are welcome here because we’re all stuck in sin and you’ll fit right in. We won’t judge your sin as worse than the rest, but we won’t pretend it’s not a sin either. We’re all in the same boat together.

We have a large parking lot with plenty of additional parking along the street. There are four doors you may enter through, so wherever you park, you won’t be too far from one.

Pastor Paul and other greeters are always there to greet our guests and our regular attenders. We endeavor to give everyone a warm welcome. If you do happen to slide in without meeting Pastor Paul, we do ask that you say hello to him as he truly wants to meet each person. We will not ask you to stand up in the service because people are often uncomfortable with that, but that can make it difficult to identify our guests. Please help us out by filling in a guest card in the pew.

We love having children in worship! Jesus loves the little children so we do too. You have a number of options with your children. 

First of all, we have activity pages and activity bags available to give children something meaningful and age appropriate so that you don’t have to entertain them during service.

We also attempt to make the worship service itself meaningful to all ages so we encourage and support having even the youngest with us in worship. We recognize that some parents become uncomfortable when their children are more active. Please be assured that we would absolutely rather have an active child in church rather than at home. There is an area at the back of the church where active children may be less of a distraction and yet allow the parents to participate in worship. If Pastor Paul had his way, all the children would sit right up front so that they can see what is going on. 

If you are looking for an opportunity specifically geared toward children, we have that available on Saturdays. The largest number of children who are in worship actually attend our Saturday evening worship. So we don’t really have “Sunday School” but rather “Kids For Christ” (KFC). If your children between the ages of three and third grade are interested in attending that opportunity, your children will have fun and learn about Jesus in a very safe environment. They go to KFC after Pastor Paul’s Children’s Message and then return to their parents toward the end of the service. If you want to check out the KFC room prior to worship, we encourage you to do that and meet our instructors. 

We do not have programs specifically for children on Sunday morning or Monday evening other than the Children’s Message. Children who attend those services worship alongside the adults. That should not dissuade you from coming to these services, but rather we encourage their participation. Some of the best questions and comments during the sermon often come from the children.

We believe that while God’s Word can be confusing, church and sermons should not be. We design the worship service and the sermon to be engaging, easy to understand, and encouraging. Pastor Paul actually encourages questions or texts right during his sermon. Don’t be afraid to ask because someone else probably has the same question.

Members who attend Zion come in a wide range of attire. You will see people dressed in anything from suits and ties (mostly on Sundays), to blue jeans and polos, to shorts and t-shirts during the summer. Please be aware that we do have air conditioning so even if it’s a hot day, it will be cooler in church. Pastor Paul’s attire will even change over the weekend. He’ll likely be in blue jeans on Saturday, robes on Sunday (but not in the summer), and business casual on Monday.

There are four exterior doors through which you can enter the building. All four doors will lead to the back of the sanctuary. Don’t worry. Unless you explore the corners of the church, you won’t find yourself walking into the middle of something and be embarrassed.

The individuals handing out the bulletins at the back of the church will be able to answer your questions or they can direct you to someone who will be able to. Pastor Paul is almost always around before and after church greeting people as well and he would love to be able to answer any questions you may have.

We want you to be comfortable when you worship with us. If you simply wish to do as most people do, we believe you’ll be very comfortable. We may encourage you, but you will never be expected to do anything you are not comfortable with. However, there is a tremendous range in regards to what people are comfortable with and what is acceptable in our worship. Some people may not even be comfortable standing up at times. If you have been standing a long time, please feel free to have a seat. If you are moved by the worship and wish to raise your hands in praise, you are encouraged to do so. If you want to ask a question during the sermon, Pastor Paul loves the interaction. In short, your comfort is a priority for us so please do not feel compelled in any way.

Singing is a great way to praise God and it can be an opportunity to participate in worship as a large group. While we encourage you to be a part of that, we do recognize that some people feel uncomfortable singing. If you are more comfortable simply listening and reading the words, you won’t be looked down upon. Sometimes the congregation claps after a special music performance, but if there is clapping during a song, please don’t follow Pastor Paul’s lead. He has no rhythm.

We practice “Close Communion” which means that members who come to Communion believe and practice the same thing, or have a common-union. Guests with no church affiliation or members of other churches with different beliefs about the Bible, Jesus, salvation, sin, grace, etc., are encouraged to talk with the pastor before taking part in the Lord’s Supper. It’s ok to be different and we are not judging your beliefs or traditions. If you are not familiar with the Lutheran understanding of the Lord’s Supper and would still like to come up for a blessing, you are welcome to do so. Simply indicate your desire by keeping your hands folded and the pastor will give a blessing. Please speak to the pastor before or after the worship for more details. Feel free to read our Communion Statement that we also have available in our pews. We welcome your questions.

Yes! We want you to bring your phone to church! We try to embrace the future and so we actually encourage you to use the technology to enhance your experience. We hope you’ll text Pastor Paul during his sermon. Make sure you check in on Facebook and tell your friends that you’re worshiping with us. Make use of the YouVersion app on smart phones if you want to follow any of the scripture readings that are referenced.

If you still are not quite comfortable, listen to one of the previous services or sermons that we have posted under the Media tab. It will give you a taste of what we’re about, but you really do want the full experience. We hope you’ll choose to join us soon.