Immanuel Lutheran Church has a long history of ministry in this community. In the year 1853, a group of strong religious settlers established the congregation. The first official record appeared in 1853 with the baptism of Emil Wolf in November. Throughout its entire history, Immanuel congregation has had a strong emphasis upon ministry of Christ our Lord and Christian Education. In 1855, the first church building was built, standing on what is now the front lawn at 21 Mile and Romeo Plank Road. The front part of this frame building served as the Pastor’s residence and in back were the church and the school.
In 1866, the congregation heard the call to begin a Christian school in Waldenberg, and so a thriving school was begun. As the congregation grew, it was evident that this church was too small. The first brick church was built in 1866 standing in the same place as its present structure. In 1877, the school was split into two districts. (One remaining at 21 Mile and Romeo Plank Road and the other at the corner of 24 Mile and Romeo Plank Road.) At this time there were signs of the beginning of a new congregation as an outgrowth of Immanuel. In 1883, 19 members from Immanuel formed St. Peter Lutheran Church, presently at 24 Mile and Romeo Plank Road. The school building there was sold to them in 1887 for $5.00.
The congregation continued to grow and it was evident again that the sanctuary needed to be enlarged. So in 1910, the present chapel was dedicated. The congregation continued to grow and in 1929 the first confirmation class was instructed in English and in 1930, the first English worship services were held. By 1960, the German services were discontinued. The school continued to grow and in June of 1961, the present school building was dedicated. It also continued to grow. In 1980, the worshipping attendance on a weekend was 396.
In 1984, Pastor Michael Lutz came to Immanuel and it was a combination of the Lord’s working in the community, within the people of Immanuel, and the leadership, that the congregation began to show some dramatic growth in worship attendance. In 1986, the average worship attendance was 502. As the growth took place, the parking lots were completed with an addition to the school in 1987. Worship attendance increased and the need for an additional worship service was experienced. As the years progressed, the need was very evident to once again expand the church facility. Because of the growth, on the weekend of March 21-23, 1998 we dedicated our Worship Center which seats 1200. The present average worship attendance is over 1300 each weekend.
In September of 2012, Pastor Greg S. Griffith was installed as the new lead pastor of Immanuel. Pastor Greg had been serving the previous eight years as Immanuel’s Associate Pastor. Pastor Greg is honored to be a part of the history of Immanuel and looks forward to leading our community into the next era of making a difference in the community of Macomb and the world.
Immanuel has a tremendous future ahead of us. One of the questions that will often be heard from Pastor Greg is, “If Immanuel were to close today, would anyone in our Macomb community notice or care?” That answer has become a, “Yes!” The vision of Pastor Greg is that the Macomb Community must see Immanuel as a place that is invaluable to the lives of Macomb, as more and more people make Macomb their home.
The vision of Immanuel is to continue to be a great blessing to the families in Macomb County. In 2012, Immanuel began a historic partnership with Heritage church. In this partnership, Heritage families receive a partnership tuition level, as we have become Heritage’s Christian school. In 2014, Pastor Greg realized through his Leadership Macomb network that our community is the Defense Capital of the Midwest. Immanuel extended a grant to all active military in the area of 20% tuition discount to their families. Immanuel is proud to honor our military families while they live in Macomb, and is greatful for the service of this country’s great military. Immanuel will maintain its prayer of gratitude and now too is committed to support them financially.
In 2014 the Worship Center lobby area was renovated and is now affectionately called “the Nook”, with new couches, chairs, coffee machine, and a wireless bar. The goal is that anyone will feel welcome Monday through Sunday to come and hang out, enjoy a cup of coffee on us, and experience the warmth and care of the Immanuel community.
In the spring of 2017, Immanuel will break ground on a rec-center and 12 classrooms. This building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, will provide Macomb with a 21st century educational facility for a 21st century Macomb. The 12 new classrooms will be state-of-the-art, and the new rec-center will have a high school regulation court and seating capacity of 350. Also, the preschool will be expanding to have a capacity of over 300 students and the building plan includes renovating the lower level office space.
God is guiding and leading Immanuel to a bright future. The excitement that is around Immanuel’s community is one where families are truly Experiencing Faith and Life Together.