PAOLA — The Rev. Christian Schultz is loving his role as the new pastor of First Lutheran Church in Paola.
Schultz was installed as pastor at First Lutheran in July, shortly after he was ordained as a Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) minister in May at his home church in Alma, Kan.
It was the culmination of years of prayerful study during his schooling. Schultz is from Wamego, Kan., and he attended St. John Lutheran School in Alma through eighth grade.
He was confirmed in the Christian faith under the direction of the Rev. Robert Grimm. He was home-schooled as part of Manhattan-area’s Christian Homes in Educational Fellowship (CHIEF) through high school.
Schultz completed his pre-seminary studies at Concordia University-Nebraska, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History. While in seminary, his vicarage training (one-year externship) was at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Martinsville, Ind., under the direction of the Rev. Nathan Janssen.
Schultz was granted a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2020 and plans to complete the requirements for the Master of Sacred Theology. To do so he is studying the topic of friendship as it was used by both Roman philosophers and early Christian theologians.
While at seminary in Fort Wayne, Schultz dived into the history of the 16th century reformation and early church martyrdoms. He said learning the history really strengthened his faith.
“You understand more about why things are the way they are,” Schultz said.
When Schultz and his family moved to Miami County to take the helm of First Lutheran Church, he said the congregation was incredibly welcoming.
“A small army of women showed up with Windex and rags to help clean the house,” he said.
Schultz said his first goal was to personally meet as many congregation members as possible.
“I want to visit every member by the end of February,” he said.
He also is focused on building back up in-person worship, study and fellowship opportunities after some struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really looking forward to starting Bible studies up again, as well as new member classes and men’s ministry,” he said. “I want to think about how we will stay open, not when we will close.”
The Rev. Schultz said he is enjoying life at the church with his wife, Magdalena, and their two sons, Noah and Philip.