The numbers are not good. The percentage of people who are a part of any religion has been on a steady decline for decades. Less people know and believe what the Christian faith teaches and confesses. This is especially true for the younger crowd.

How did this happen? Churches bear some of the responsibility. Many churches are not proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Instead, they proclaim the secular gospel of diversity and inclusion. Sin, hell, and the cross are tossed aside for the latest cause. The God who will bring fierce judgment on the earth is replaced by a God who is nothing but love and acceptance. This domesticated deity affirms us so that we may feel good about ourselves.

Other churches, meanwhile, attempt to entertain and amuse to attract new members. Such services can leave the impression that God is not to be feared or taken too seriously. In addition, their messages teach us how we can win in life and become a success. Therefore, theology is replaced by therapy in many pulpits.

But what is happening in churches today is only part of the problem. The bigger problem is what is happening in the home. Parents may bring their children to Sunday school and confirmation. They may even take the time to come to the Divine Service occasionally. Thus, there may be Christian instruction going on. But the catechesis (instruction) happening at church is quickly undone by the catechesis that is happening at home. The instruction that happens at home makes it clear that the Christian faith in not that important. What happens at church has little to do with life at home. Fathers are not serving as heads of the house and showing the love of Christ. Parents are not taking the time to spend in devotion and prayer with their family. Work, school, sports, affluence, leisure, and possessions are the true priorities. If there is time, perhaps church can be squeezed in. In the end, children see that life in their home is not much different from any other home.

What results is that the younger folks are simply handed off to the world. This is where they are to find meaning and purpose in their lives. Instead of looking to their heavenly Father, they are to look elsewhere to find significance and value for their existence. Social media is a popular choice. After all, many of them have some sort of electronic device at hand. This is what will teach them how they should live and the values they should follow.

If this is how it is, how can we expect improvement in our society? There will be more confusion when it comes to sexuality and gender. Self-absorbed, indulgent behavior will increase. So will loneliness, depression, anxiety, and suicide. People will live lives that leave them lost and empty.

God did not create you to have a lost and empty existence. He created you to live under him and receive his love and goodness. But what will God accept us? What will he do with sinners like us? We have pushed him aside to put ourselves in his place. We have been selfish, petty, and impatient with others. Who could blame God if he rejected us? What assurance do we have that his anger and judgment won’t break out against us?

The assurance is found in the cross. The cross was not some sort of unexpected turn of events. This is why the Lord came. He came to reconcile sinners to his heavenly Father. Reconciliation means that there must be death. The Law states that blood must be shed to make atonement. Jesus would be that death for us. His blood would flow on the cross. But the death he endured could not keep him. He would rise again on the third day. Because he lives, our sins will no longer be counted against us. All that would condemn us has been taken away.

Jesus came for sinners. That is why he was baptized by John in the Jordan River. That is why he was willing to endure the cross. Because of what Jesus did for us, we are no longer doomed to live a lost and empty existence. We have place with the heavenly Father. That is where we belong.

God's peace be with you,
  Pastor Nelson

Baptisms 1 Wynslow Joy Mills (5/11/24)
Confirmations 4 Avarie Bentz (5/5/24)
Isabella Causie (5/5/24)
Ellianna Hedges (5/5/24)
Peyton Schultz (5/5/24)
Weddings 0
Funerals 0

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Summer is here! West Michigan is gorgeous. It’s easy to get lost in the summer days: enjoying time outside, going to the parks, playing in rivers, jumping in the lake, grilling out, picking blueberries, all the festivals, and listening to live music.

Millie has been asking about the splash pad, feeding goats, Michigan Adventures, and going to the lake for months and now I can finally say, YES! Let’s go!

This summer will be so much different than any other year simply because Millie will be seeing and experiencing things for the very first time. It really is an incredible perspective. She has this hunger to explore. That coupled with her ability to connect with anyone is a winning formula. The summer is going to be fun.

My goal as a dad is definitely to get my children outside. I want them to be able to just crash by the end of the day because it was chalked full of fun.

Even more importantly, I want them to know that it’s Jesus who has blessed us with all these amazing gifts and opportunities. I want my children to know that all good things come from the Father. I want to instill in my children that Jesus cares about them so much.

My job as a dad is to make sure my children get into the Word this summer, reading the Bible every day with them at nap times, bed times, and story times. I will continue to pray with them, bring them to church, and sing songs about the love of Jesus. I will also explore the forests, swim in the lake, and visit Lewis Farms weekly. It has to be both.

I hope to encourage you all to stay in the Word, do family devotions, pray with your children. Enjoy all of what West Michigan offers, but remember in the end what really matters is faith in Jesus Christ.

Some dates to mark in your calendar for this summer. (For the most up to date information, please refer to the weekly bulletin or facebook page as things may change throughout the summer)

Things to look out for in the bulletin...
Finally... Ministry Fair is on September 8th. I am going to be connecting with a various ministry leaders throughout the summer to start planning for the fall! If you are interested in organizing a table or think, would this qualify for a table, connect with me.

Have a blessed summer!

In Christ,
  Russell Baumann ~ Family Life Director
  John 3:30

Your help is needed!

If you are able, please consider helping out in one or more of the following areas:

Good Shepherd Preschool

The 2023-2024 school year came to a close on May 22. It was a year filled with learning, growing, smiling, laughing, and playing. Thank you to everyone who supported Good Shepherd Preschool through donations, financial contributions, prayers, and words of encouragement. We are blessed to live in a community, and to be part of a church family, that supports the work we do here everyday with the children.

Thank you to Russell for joining us each week to share his love of music and song with the children and to Meghan Rachow for joining us on Thursday mornings just to be part of the fun! A special thank you to Kellie Rachow, preschool assistant, for being by my side throughout the school year. Kellie has a genuine love for children and they each found a special place in her heart. She brought so much fun and joy to the classroom. Thank you, Kellie, for being a part of Good Shepherd Preschool!

Blessings and joy,
  Marilee Bailey
Good Shepherd Preschool
Director and Teacher

Altar Guild Meeting

Please plan on attending a group meeting, Monday, June 10th, at 6:00 pm!

Father’s Day is Sunday, 6/16

Happy Father’s Day to all dads, grandfathers, and those who are in the roll of dad! You make a difference! God bless you!

Pastor’s Summer Bible Study

Why is Abraham important in Scripture?

Who are the Israelites? What made David such a great king? Do you know the answer to these questions? Would you lie to have a better understanding of the Bible? Join us for six sessions this summer for the Foundations of Faith Bible study. In this study, we examine the history and important events of Scripture.

Below is the schedule:

Grieving with Hope

Will continue to meet on the 1st Monday of each month: June 3rd at 10:00 am, July 1st at 10:00 am & August 5th at 10:00 am

Trombone Camp!

Trombone camp begins on Tuesday, June 4th and runs through Monday, June 10th. This group uses the spaces all over the church to practice, have classes and lessons, and mini concerts. The music is great!

Family Lego Event

June 19th from 5:00 - 7:00 pm
For ages 4 - 99 years at the Youth House
Come play with Legos! Enjoy walking tacos. Win prizes! This is an opportunity to connect as a family and play together.
Sign up on the bulletin board so we know the supplies needed!

Graduation Sunday 2024

We will be celebrating our 2024 Graduated on Sunday, June 23rd!
Our Grads: Wolfgang Koenig, Carson Johnston, Hailey Jones, Chloe Stout, Adalynn Dean, & Michael Fekken

Blood Drive

June 26th, In the Fellowship Hall
We need volunteers to help with this month's blood drive. Ideally two shifts of workers: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm and 12:30 - 3:30 pm.
Help with registration, food, set up/clean up, and talking with folks so they don't pass out. Please sign up on the bulletin board if you are able to help!

Family Pool Day

June 26th from 4:45 pm - 7:00 pm at the Ramthun's House (Hancock Road)
Potluck style! Russell will bring Hotdogs and maybe burgers. You bring sides/chips/treats/drinks.
Sign up so we know how much food to plan for.

4th of July Parade

We need volunteers to represent our church in the 4th of July parade. Please remember to sign up to walk or ride, also, Russell needs to know how much Breakfast Pizza to order! We will meet at the church by 8:45 am. Parade starts at 10:00 am.

Coming in July...

VBS 2024 "Way, Truth, Life"

We are looking for volunteers! We need 50+ people to help out with VBS. Jobs include; working with kids, food prep, decorations, set up & clean up, craft prep days, media, and floats, who are willing to jump in at a moments notice.

Take a look at the sign-up board in the church to see if there is a spot that you can help with. Take some time to pray about whether VBS is something that you would like to be a part of.

VBS is right around the corner! A donation table will be set up around the week of June 23rd. Check out the table and see how you can help support this amazing week.

We have a few volunteer dates where we get all crafts prepared, games, decorations, and any other prep/clean up done (July 10th 3:00-7:30, 20th 9:00-12:00, 21st 2:00-5:00, & 25th 8:00-9:30). Please sign up to let us know if you can help. This is a great way to be involved even if you can't make it the week of VBS.

Unity Fest

August 7th – 10th

2024 Church Façade Project


Sanctuary Carpet Campaign!

It will take 1,725 square feet of carpet to replace the carpet in the sanctuary. We have a display in the narthex with 1,725 squares on it... "Buy a Square"... or many! Our goal is $13,000!

One square = $7.50

There are envelopes provided... sign your square(s) and fill out your envelope. Payment is due when you fill out your square! Envelopes need to be turned into the office!

1 = $7.5011 = $77.50 50 = $375.00
2 = $15.0012 = $90.00100 = $750.00
3 = $22.5013 = $97.50150 = $1,125.00
4 = $30.0014 = $105.00 200 = $1,500.00
5 = $37.5015 = $112.50
6 = $45.0016 = $120.00and so on...
7 = $52.5017 = $127.50
8 = $60.0018 = $135.00
9 = $67.5019 = $142.50
10 = $75.0020 = $150.00


Here is an excerpt from a recent email from Trail Life USA:

For Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock, the name change (Boy Scouts of America to Scouting America) served as a sobering reminder of a dividing line between principle and progressivism. "Our focus is different," he responded. "Our number one job is not to get kids into the program. Our number one job is to grow godly men. The reality is that males and females are fundamentally different in many ways: physically, emotionally, and in their relationships. Pretending otherwise in the name of progress or permissiveness might be culturally acceptable, but it does both sexes a disservice. Boys and girls deserve unique programs created with their specific needs in mind."

The response to Trail Life has been overwhelming. Less than 10 years since its inception, the organization celebrated the formation of its 1,100th Troop. In September 2023, Trail Life announced they had surpassed over 50,000 members. Today, tens of thousands of boys and their families are being positively impacted by the Trail Life message Hancock attributes the organization’s success to a growing awareness of and resistance to cultural views seeking to upend the very concept of masculinity.

"No matter what our culture says, boys and girls are different. This is why Trail Life is so unique -- we are providing an uncompromising boy-focused program designed to let boys be boys, accentuating their strengths and allowing them to feel understood and appreciated.

Trail Life USA has received praise from some of today’s top Christian voices, including Focus on the Family, Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Family Life, Promise Keepers, the American Family Association, and many others.

Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men, producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country.

THANK YOU, members of St. James Lutheran Church, for allowing us to meet in your Youth House every Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m. And THANK YOU, members of St. James Lutheran Church, for your prayers and individual donations to our Troop! We appreciate it and we appreciate YOU!

WHAT'S COMING UP? On Tuesday evening, June 4th, starting at 6 p.m., we have our first Family Banquet and Awards Ceremony for the members of Trail Life Troop #8945 at St. James Lutheran Church. Various achievement patches and awards will be given to our Trail Men to accent their accomplishments these last five months since we started.

On Saturday, June 29th, at Winberg Construction on Water Street a Car Wash will be held from 1-4 p.m. The Car Wash is FREE! But if you wish to make a donation, we will gladly accept it.

In August an overnight paddle and campout along the White River is in the works. We love getting our Trail Men on outside Adventures!

Walk Worthy!

Greetings from Marci Bentz ~ Thrivent Whitehall Office

It’s hard to believe the year is almost half over. Just a couple reminders for you to consider:

Thrivent Action Teams
If you haven’t applied for your 2024 Actions Teams, there is still time to make an impact on your community through the Thrivent Action Teams generosity program. If you are not sure whether you can apply, call the Thrivent home office at 1-800-847-4836 for assistance.

Roots & Wings
I hope you were able to join me for the Roots & Wings webinar on May 3 to celebrate the release of their online Legacy Library.

In case you haven’t heard, Roots & Wings is a brand-new non-profit organization that exists to help families live and leave a legacy in their faith, family, and finances. It’s made practical and accessible through an online library of brief videos for you to view at your leisure.

Roots & Wings equips, encourages and inspires individuals and families in the areas of 1) Values Discovery to help you name what’s most important to you, 2) Financial Education that isn’t confusing or boring and provides practical planning for your legacy, 3) Purpose Work that focuses on your identity and destiny to help you understand your beliefs and behaviors, and 4) Nurture that equips and connects caregivers, widows, divorcees, retirees (and more) to rediscover what self-care looks like, as they reclaim their stories in the midst of grief, and build a supportive community. Check out Roots & Wings on their website at

For any financial questions, needs or concerns, please call Marci Bentz, your Financial Advisor, Whitehall Thrivent Office at 231-894-8886, text 231-760-8246 or email

2024 White Lake Chamber Music Festival

Friday, August 2, 7:00 pm “Ah Shubert!” at St. James Lutheran

Tuesday, August 6, 7:00 pm Mozart Clarinet Quintet “Behind the Scenes” at St. James Lutheran

Thursday, August 8, 7:00 pm Open Rehearsal at St. James Lutheran

Friday, August 9, 7:00 pm Concert: “Gifts of Melody” – Mozart & Dvorak at St. James Lutheran

Saturday, August 10, 7:00 pm Concert: “The Heart & Soul of Russia” at St. James Lutheran

We need YOUR help! We need “hosts” here at church for each event.

Your responsibility is:

Online Service Directions!

How to watch our services online step by step: on Facebook Live on Sundays at 8:00 am
  1. In the top search bar... Go to
    (You do not need to have a Facebook account page to access this)
  2. Close the popup box asking to login to your Facebook account.
  3. Scroll down through the Facebook page until you come across the most recent videos
  4. Click on the Live video of the church service.
  5. Explore the rest of the Facebook page and watch other videos. 😊

June Birthdays
06/01 Edwin Bender06/14 Adalynn Dean
06/02 Aidan Buchberger06/17 Betty Hager
06/02 Harper Seymour06/18 Jase Lohman
06/03 Char Dean06/18 Louie Bender
06/03 Joel Best06/19 Brianna Bentz
06/04 Randy Weiss06/20 Karissa Tryska
06/04 Roger Smith06/20 Paul Schultz
06/05 Royce Kroll06/22 Olive Oquist
06/07 Robin Owens06/23 Courtney Friday
06/08 Lynn Pastras06/25 April Lipka
06/08 Riley Mulder06/25 Isaiah Towne
06/09 Bob Wackernagel06/25 Kendall Rachow
06/09 Dave R. Ramthun06/26 Jared Justian
06/10 Alyssa Goodrich06/27 Amy Urban
06/11 June Buchberger06/28 Gail Treptow Crane

July Birthdays
07/01 Melinda O'Connell07/16 Vicki Vanderlaan
07/03 Odin Oquist07/17 Elizabeth Birkhofer
07/05 Carol Towne07/17 Genevieve Kroll
07/05 Jeremy Turpin07/17 Kyle Stevenson
07/06 Bob Dean07/18 Henry Schultz
07/06 Cameren Cooper07/18 Susan Streblow
07/06 Carol Crevier07/19 Zach Buchberger
07/07 Briann Justian07/21 Delaney Hopma
07/09 Dave McNeil07/21 Henry Friday
07/09 Tyler Grover07/21 Teddy Huls
07/10 Leif Oquist07/24 Alex Goodrich
07/10 Wolfgang Koenig07/25 Gerry Hissong
07/11 Charlotte Rice07/25 Peyton Schultz
07/11 Lillian Stevenson07/25 Randy Zeller
07/11 Marilee Bailey07/27 Henry Bailey
07/13 Jenna Stevenson07/27 Jack Bailey
07/13 Nikki Seymour07/27 Julie Grow
07/13 Ty McCormich07/27 Olivia Johnston
07/14 Kashton Ramthun07/30 Rhianna Sheesley
07/15 Eric Vanderlaan07/31 Marsha Schlager

August Birthdays
08/01 John Patrick08/12 Ruschel Friday
08/01 Kim Hardy08/13 Hannah Boulet
08/01 Mike Griffith08/14 Ron Barrs
08/02 Tim Hanson08/16 Eloise Baxter
08/03 Beth Meacham08/16 Pam Kroll
08/03 Ruth Ann Francis08/17 Cashton Chamberlain
08/04 Art Jones08/17 Rusty Streblow
08/05 Sarah Justian08/18 Drew DeRose
08/05 Shelby Friday08/18 Killian Nordlund
08/06 Oliver Bantien08/19 Faith Mayville
08/07 Asa Stevenson08/20 Amber Mayville
08/07 Keira Lindstrom08/20 Virginia Roesler
08/07 Lolita Silvis08/21 Ken Causie
08/08 Gloria Alvarez08/21 Rich Canniff
08/08 Grace Kool08/22 Julia Hasenbank
08/08 Mary Ann McPheron08/24 Brooke Sheesley
08/08 Matthew Hedges08/24 Janet Gifford
08/08 Patti Engelter08/24 Penny Mayville
08/09 Ben Stevenson08/25 Vicki Schultz
08/09 Betsy Patrick08/26 Evelyn DeLong
08/09 Martin LaFever08/26 Rich Kessler
08/09 Wren Mills08/26 Willa Mills
08/10 Becky Winters08/28 Angie Wigren
08/11 Cathy Hissong08/30 Dylan Hopma
08/11 Kelly Bantien08/30 Tracy Sheesley
08/12 Dale McKenzie08/31 Maggie Huls
08/12 Fred Bentz

ELDERSKeith RamthunHenry Friday
TRUSTEESRon BaileyRuschel Friday
Avarie Bentz
USHERSKeith RamthunBob Meacham
Ron BaileyMerle Bernhardt
Jay MulderJeff Boulet
Henry BaileyJarrod Moore
Riley Mulder
ALTAR CARERon Barrs & Angie Wigren
PRAYER PARTNER2ndNo Prayer Partner
9thNo Prayer PartnerNo Second Service
16thFrank MorningstarPrayer Partner
23rdRoyce Kroll
30thDan Hardy
GREETERS2ndRon & Eilene CoberBob & Beth Meacham
9thLisa SiedenstrangMerle & Nancy Bernhardt
16thTim & Betty RossChris & Julia Hasenbank
23rdDave & Sue McNeilKen & Susan VanBergen
30thLeah StevensTom & Connie Kring
MULTI-MEDIA2ndApril LipkaJill Squire
9thAlicia KoskiEric Lindstrom
16thE. Lindstrom/M. KoolFriday Family
23rdApril LipkaJill Squire
30thJeri WondersLizbeth Bentz
COFFEE HOUR2ndKim Wackernagel & Beth Meacham
9thNancy & Merle Bernhardt
16thPat Ramthun & Jennifer Mulder
23rdMarilee Bailey & Sue McNeil
30thWendy Kessler & Jen Huizenga
NURSERY (2nd Service Only)2ndSarah Bernhardt
9thTina Timmich
16thKaren Neubauer
23rdJulie Trevino
30thKim DuBois
ALTAR FLOWERS2ndConnie Neubauer & Annette Neubauer
16thGreg & Karen Neubauer
23rdCourtney Friday

ELDERSGreg NeubauerMerle Bernhardt
TRUSTEESJosh HulsJoel Best
Avarie Bentz
USHERSLeif OquistJeff O'Connell
Dylan HopmaJoel O'Connell
Frank MorningstarKyle Stevenson
Sandi MorningstarJoel Best
James Morningstar
ALTAR CAREPat Smith & Susana Albrechtsen
14thDave McNeilNo Second Service
21stPhil AlbrechtPrayer Partner
28thRon Bailey
GREETERS7thPaul & Eileen SchroederTodd & Karissa Tryska
14thKeith & Pat RamthunJeff & Melinda O'Connell
21stRoger & Pat SmithTom & Karen Mott
28thCandy StevensRice Family
MULTI-MEDIA7thAlicia KoskiEric Lindstrom
14thE. Lindstrom/M. KoolFriday Family
21stJeri WondersJill Squire
28thApril LipkaLizbeth Bentz
COFFEE HOUR7thFrank & Sandi Morningstar
14thKelli Rachow & Girls
21stAlicia Koski & April Lipka
28thTanya Simon, Katie & Lilly Rice
NURSERY (2nd Service Only)7thElizabeth Birkhofor
14thLauren Mills
21stJill Squire
28thKatie & Lilly Rice
ALTAR FLOWERS7thLisa Siedenstrang
14thAJ & Janet Vanderleest
28thMerle & Nancy Bernhardt

ELDERSPaul SchroederJeff Boulet
TRUSTEESCasey SeymourJoe Goodrich
Ellie Hedges
USHERSJim SilvisKen DuBois
Bill TreptowBrian Bentz
Jason CooperAvarie Bentz
Rich LaFranceAngie Wigren
Mary Buckley
ALTAR CARESue Streblow & Marsha Schlager
11thRick GiffordNo Second Service
18thJosh HulsPrayer Partner
25thEric Lindstrom
GREETERS4thJames & Deb MorningstarAl & Julie Trevino
11thFaith MayvilleJared & Sarah Justian
18thRex & Pat AllenBrad & Erika VanBergen
25thTom & Judy BlinkFriday Family
MULTI-MEDIA4thAlicia KoskiEric Lindstrom
11thE.Lindstrom/M.KoolFriday Family
18thApril LipkaJill Squire
25thJeri WondersLizbeth Bentz
COFFEE HOUR4thSue Griffith & Kim DuBois
11thPat Smith & Carolyn Koski
18thMary Albrecht & Cathy Hissong
25thFaith Mayville & Candy Stevens
NURSERY (2nd Service Only)4thAmy Wackernagel
11thAmber Lanning
18thNikki Seymour
25thJennifer Moore
ALTAR FLOWERS4thJeff & Melinda O'Connell
11thLalani Schenck
18thRex & Pat Allen
If you are unable to fulfill your assigned duty, please make arrangements
with someone before or after you on the list. Thank You!

Funeral Luncheons

If we have a funeral, Faith Mayville, our Luncheon Coordinator will contact you for help. Each funeral luncheon requires table/chair set up, food donations, food servers (kitchen staff), and table/chair take down. Faith will let you know what is needed. If you are unable to fulfill your assigned duty, please make arrangements with someone before or after you on the list. Thanks!