About Us

Overview

 

St. Paul's is a historic congregation of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod with about 1700 baptized members and 1350 communicant members. The congregation average attendance is more than 900 people in worship each weekend - two Sunday services at the sanctuary, a service at the Lutheran Good Shepherd Home chapel and Monday evening worship.


There is a strong history and tradition of supporting Lutheran education in the congregation. The church continues to operate a Lutheran day school with pre-school classes through eighth grade. In 2003, the congregation opened His Little Lambs Child Development Center as a service to the congregation and the community.


The congregation is served by two full-time pastors and a part-time visitation pastor. The school has a teaching staff of 12 called teachers. The congregation provides a host of worship, educational, fellowship, and service opportunities for members and guests.
 
St. Paul's church steeple is easily seen from Interstate 70 which passes through Concordia and is a landmark of the christian community.


History


The roots of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Concordia, Missouri began even before the formation of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. In 1840, Lutherans gathered in the German community of Freedom Township, Missouri, led by teacher Henry Christian Liever.


St. Paul's first church sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1844. The first pastor, Rev. Adolf G. G. Franke, began serving St. Paul's in January 1847. The congregation provided Lutheran education for its children from its earliest days. In 1858, the congregation called its first full-time school teacher. The congregation was served by several different pastors until Rev. Franz Julius Biltz arrived in 1860.


The first brick church sanctuary was dedicated in 1860. The sanctuary went through a remodeling and expansion in 1880. Pastor Biltz served the congregation until 1901 and was instrumental in the founding of five other Lutheran congregations in the Concordia area. As the postmaster for the community, in 1865 Pastor Biltz gave the town Concordia its name.  Pastor Biltz also served as president of the LCMS Western District from 1875 until 1891.


St. Paulâ‬•s congregation, under Pastor Biltz's leadership, was instrumental in the forming of St. Paul's College in 1883. Rev. Andrew Baepler served as the first instructor of the college. The congregation saw tremendous growth during the long pastorate of Pastor Biltz. He was succeeded in 1901 by Rev. L. Frederick Brust.


With about 4000 people in attendance, the congregation dedicated its present sanctuary on May 15, 1905. The cost of the building with all of its appointments was $36,409.87. The sanctuary seats approximately 1000 for worship. The church steeple rises 155 feet in the air. A 27-rank Moeller pipe organ was added to the sanctuary in 1931 at a cost of $8,500.
 
The church sanctuary was severely damaged by a storm in 1958.
 

Pastor Brust served the congregation until 1932 and was succeeded by Rev. O. E. Heilman. During the years of Pastor Heilman's service, the congregation transitioned to the use of English in worship and in school instruction. German services led by Pastor Heilman continued until 1977.


Pastor Heilman retired in 1961 after more than fifty years in the public ministry. He was succeeded by Rev. William J. Wollenburg, who served until 1973. Rev. Alfred W. Rodewald served the congregation from 1973 until his retirement in 1990. Rev. William Zabel and Rev. Kevin Popp served as associate pastors from 1976-1980 and from 1981-1984 respectively. Rev. Gary R. Clayton succeeded Pastor Rodewald as Administrative Pastor in 1989 and served at St. Paul's until 2002. Rev. Peter K. Lange served the congregation as Associate Pastor from 1990 until 1999.

 

The congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1990 with numerous activities and a commemorative book.


Rev. R. Lee Hagan and Rev. Andrew Kennell began serving the congregation in 2002 and 2003 respectively.  Pastor Kennell served at St. Paul's through 2007. Rev. Patrick Niles came to St. Paul's as a seminary candidate in 2008 and served as Associate Pastor through 2014.


Currently, the congregation has nearly 1700 baptized members and an average weekly worship attendance of more than 900. The school has a teaching staff of 12 and an enrollment of nearly 200. His Little Lambs has grown to a daily attendance of about 35 children.


St. Paul's Lutheran Church is a Christian community, committed to preaching and teaching the Word of God and reaching all people.