About St. John's on the Hillside

For nearly 175 years, St. John’s has been sharing the hope, truth, and joy of Jesus here in Milwaukee.

Our Core Values

Scripture First

The Bible is the infallible Word of God. It is the foundation for all that we believe, teach, and preach. It is the foundation for how we live, love, and serve.

Building Family

We are dedicated to developing strong, loving bonds of family & community united in Christ. We support the skills, interests, and experiences of one another to build up our family of believers.

Commitment to Service

We follow Christ’s example and pursue opportunities to serve the earthly and spiritual needs of our community—guided by the Bible and attentive to our community’s voice.

Investment in Ministry

We prioritize opportunities to invest our God-given resources and time into the growth of our church and community, and into the spread of Christ’s gospel.

Open Doors

God’s love moves us to welcome and invite everyone to join our ministry celebrating and proclaiming the good news of Jesus—through personal conversations and thoughtful partnerships.

Our Mission


Open doors for the gospel to connect every person to their Savior.

Our Vision


Equip the Hillside & beyond to thrive through the gospel of Christ.

Meet Our Pastor


Isaac Hayes

Pastor Isaac Hayes has always had a passion for people. While growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, he didn’t really know what that would look like for work. It wasn’t until his 7th grade year, when he and his family joined a WELS church and school in Arizona…he found out.


Without much knowledge about the Bible and no background in memory work, it was a frustrating yet rewarding journey during his 7th grade year as he discovered the sweetness and meaning of the gospel. As he grew in understanding of what God’s Word meant with all its wonderful truths and comforts, as well as seeing how his pastors interacted with him and people…he decided, “I want to be a pastor too!”


After graduating from Arizona Lutheran Academy in 2013…he dedicated 8 years training for pastoral ministry at Martin Luther College (BA '17) and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (Masters of Divinity '21). Then in 2021, after graduating Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, he was called and assigned to serve here in Milwaukee at St. John’s on the Hillside for our mission restart and revitalization efforts.


Pastor Isaac and his wife, Emma, were married on August 8, 2020 by God’s grace. They are thankful to be here in Milwaukee. You might catch them on walks by the lake or around town, at fun Milwaukee events, or across the restaurant enjoying a meal. If not, they are more than likely enjoying a night in watching a movie or show, competing in a boardgame, or reading over some coffee and tea. Pastor Isaac has a strong passion for dance and putting it to use to God’s glory when he can. Emma has a vibrant passion for cooking and plants which bring her great joy. However, the strongest passion they both have is connecting everyone to the gospel, where everyone can find their fresh start and new life…in Jesus!


Our History in Milwaukee

For nearly 175 years, St. John’s has had its home in Milwaukee.

We haven't been perfect. We've celebrated great joy and mourned many trials & struggles. But through it all, we've seen God's transforming love and grace in the lives of many people.

What We Believe

What we believe and teach is rooted in God's perfect Word — The Bible. Because we know it never changes, we know we can find rest and peace in it.

Here are some ways to describe the truths that we firmly hold to as a church and lovingly hold out to our community. However, the best way to learn what St. John's believes is in our Bible 101 course. Click the link below and our pastor would love to connect with you!

What Is WELS?

Christians who make up the body of Christ have always gathered together; locally and globally. St. John's on the Hillside belongs to a gathering of Christians called the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Here's what that means for you:

Wisconsin is the place where this church body was founded, though you can find WELS Christians all over the globe!

Evangelical derives from the Greek word for "gospel" or "good news." Our church is founded on the gospel (the good news!) of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The term evangelical in the Biblical context has nothing to do with politics.

Lutheran means that our church holds to the Biblical principles of:

  • Scripture Alone, What we mean by this is that the Bible is all true, inerrant and trustworthy. That all our teachings and faith are based on God's Word and not human tradition or opinion. That any questions or controversies we have–we go to the Lord for the answers.
  • Faith Alone, That we are saved not by some cooperative effort between God and man but that he did it all. We are not saved by our own good deeds and actions and work. It is not like the university class where we get the grade we deserve. No, God gives us an A in Jesus and faith simply trusts that what God says is true since he doesn't lie!
  • Grace Alone. Grace means undeserved love. Our salvation is 100% God saving us. He didn't save us because we had any worth or merit or were better looking morally or physically than anyone else. It is purely his mercy, his love that saves even though we don't deserve it. This is why we have confidence in our relationship with God–it's not based on what we do or what we are but what Jesus did for us on the cross!

Synod comes from the Greek, and has the idea of "walking together on the road." As a group of Christians walking together, we can accomplish more for Jesus than we can alone!

Questions? Contact Us!

We'd love to get to know you more. If you have a question about St. John's on the Hillside, or would like to request a contact from our pastor, complete the form below.

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