At Grace of God Lutheran Church, we are small - and kind. When you arrive (for a worship service), someone will greet you at the door, and welcome you. They'll hand you a worship guide. Slide into one of the pews and relax.
Our worship services are structured, and "timeless" (although they're usually an hour long). They contain elements used by the first believers some 2000 years ago, as well as elements from today.
Our worship guide will walk you through every step of worship, and even offer a few explanatory notes as we move through the service. Worship generally includes the following components:
Confession of Sins, and Absolution: We confess to God that we have failed to live up to the perfect standards in his law, and we plead for his mercy. The pastor announces the forgiveness of sins won for us by Jesus, our Savior, who lived a perfect life, suffered and died for us as our substitute.
Songs of Praise: The hymns we sing during the service are thematically chosen based on the Bible verses we study that day, and remind us of the wonderful things the Triune God has done for us.
Scripture Readings, and Sermon: The pastor reads three selections from the Bible: from the Old Testament, from the New Testament epistles (letters), and one from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). The pastor offers insight, encouragement, and instruction through a longer "speech" (about 20 minutes). Expect to hear God’s guidance for dealing with the problems of life, along with the promises of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.
Response to the Word: We respond with prayers, thanks, and offerings. We ask for the things God has promised us and for strength to do what he has asked us to do. We bring our concerns and prayers to God, who cares about us and has promised to hear us. In every service, the pastor asks if the congregation has any special prayer requests, too.
Holy Communion: We celebrate the Lord's Supper almost every Sunday. Before receiving this sacrament in worship, we ask any visitor to please speak with the pastor. (See the column, below, about the Eucharist which explains this further.)
Blessing: At the end of the service, we hear a beautiful assurance of God’s care for us, his guidance and his love.
Since the Bible presents no dress code, aside from "being humble," we don't make rules either. We do find that folks wear what they feel comfortable in: whether it's "Sunday Best" or "Sunday Rest."
On any given Sunday you may see running shoes and fancy kicks, jeans and ensembles, ties, sweaters, t-shirts, pearls. When a person dresses out of love for God, the choice of clothes is acceptable to God . . . and to us.
Members of Grace of God freely bring offerings to thank God for the providence he has shown humanity, and the forgiveness he has given to us. Our guests are welcome, but certainly not expected, to contribute.
After the sermon, we pass a plate to gather offerings so that our worship may include bringing (monetary) gifts to God. God doesn't dictate the amount that should be brought. Scripture only teaches that our offerings should reflect our belief that everything we have is a gift from God.
Not every offering is calculated through financial gifts, though - we all give thanks to God based on what he has given us: through our prayers, gifts of time, offering of talents, or a portion of treasures.
We are humans of all kinds and flavors. Our faith - whether seeking or steadfast - mixes us together at Grace of God.
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While we do have a couple of sign-in opportunities, no one will pressure you to sign up for anything if you don't want to. We want to give you the chance to quietly let us know if you want to stay connected, and we keep track of attendance to help us manage our resources.
You are welcome to simply come, sit, and observe; we won't ask you to make a spectacle of yourself. Church should be an uplifting and peace-full experience. We promise to do all we can so you can learn about your Savior, at your pace. Ideally, we hope you'll feel comfortable with us.
God knows we humans struggle with learning how to love each other. We need support, because we all continuously fail to treat our fellow human with kindness and respect. Grace of God is a gathering of humans who believe that there's always more to learn, and more love to show, who forgive each other and are forgiven by God's saving grace.
The noise of children is the noise of the future! It's the noise of parents doing exactly what they should be doing: bringing their kids to sit at Jesus' feet and learn about the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God who loves them. Parents are encouraged to sit near the front of church so that children can better see and hear what is going on in worship.
These comments are two sides of the same coin. While our services are modest and follow an historic liturgy form, there are various ways we can respond to God's awesomeness. Everyone has something that they're particularly receptive to, and we strive to share God's Word in thoughtful, meaningful ways.
No matter what your relationship with the Bible is, you can grow in scholarship and understanding of God's Word, skeptics included! There are historical references, parables, nuances, connections, lessons, warnings, truths - as well as gifts of knowledge and faith in the good book God wrote for us to know.
All of us have been in uncertain situations where we might feel out of place. We hope you can see yourself in our growing family at Grace of God. Know that you are welcome. Our church is growing, too - which means that there are opportunities to get involved doing something you love.
There's room for you, and there's opportunity for you to grow in grace: in your heart and soul, and in a community you care about. There are so many opportunities here to show God's love to each other and to the world.