St. James Lutheran Church in Zepp dates to around 1822 when W.G. Keil, a ministerial student, began conducting services in local homes. By September of 1822 he had established a church with 30 confirmed members.
The first church building was constructed soon after this. It was a log structure located directly across from the current St. James and was originally called either Mt. Pleasant Church or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cedar Creek.
Services were held here from late spring till early winter since members had to ford Cedar Creek to attend services. In 1841 the congregation moved its meeting place to the nearby Lochmiller meeting house.
Work on the current St. James Church began in 1884 and the building was dedicated in 1885. The Rev. William Jacob Smith became the first regular minister assigned to the church that year. He served the Gravel Springs Parish which consisted of St. James, Gravel Springs, and St. Johns Lutheran Church until his death in 1911. Regular weekly attendance averaged between 20 and 40 members during this period.
In 1989 declining membership led St. James to be designated a chapel meaning regular worship services would no longer be held at the site and a pastor would not be assigned to the church. At the time an average of 12-16 members regularly attended service and members of the Lineweaver family were the primary church supporters. Despite this re-designation a regular homecoming, started in 1950, is still held at the church every July.