1. Just what is a “Lutheran” anyway? Lutherans are first and foremost Christians, joining with other Christians throughout the world in proclaiming God’s love in Jesus Christ. Although our emphases may be different, we partner with many Christian groups in ministry, such as the United Methodists, Presbyterian, Roman Catholics, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Lutherans emphasize the teachings of Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Reformation in 1517. In particular, we stress we are all made right with God by faith alone. The good we do in the world does not earn us a place in heaven. Rather, God has reached down to us in giving us God’s own son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. It is faith in what God has first done for us that matters most of all. We then respond to what God has done by loving one another in the world.
2. I see you have two different worship services, at different times and with different styles. How come? When it comes to matters of worship, Lutherans have always been free to order worship in whatever way best suits the local context. The traditional Lutheran order of service follows the general pattern of the Roman Catholic Mass. This includes some sung or spoken “liturgy”, regular parts of the service that come from scripture that have been used as part of worship for centuries. The “liturgy” has different musical settings, but the words remain the same. The traditional service also uses Christian hymns, many of which have also been around for centuries. The hymnbook we use is called “Evangelical Lutheran Worship”, published in 2006. We offer this “traditional” service at 8:45AM each Sunday. Some people prefer worship that has a less formal and a bit more “modern” feel. Our contemporary service at 11:00AM is offered for those that like that style of worship. The main difference is in the music. We have a worship band that leads contemporary worship songs, such as you might hear on the Christian radio station KLOVE, 107.5FM. Whether you prefer a more traditional service or more contemporary one, the scripture readings, message, and opportunity for communion are always consistent at both services.
3. Why all the standing and sitting during worship? In addition to providing your morning exercise :), we stand at various points in the service as a way to honor God and in respect for God’s Word. If for any reason it is difficult for you to stand, remaining seated is perfectly acceptable.
4. How often is communion, the Lord’s Supper, offered? Is everyone welcome for this part of the service, or is it just for members? We offer communion, the gift of Christ himself for our forgiveness, given in bread and wine or juice, every Sunday. We have an “open communion” policy, which means that all are welcome to share in this weekly meal of the church. We leave it up to the discretion of the parents to decide when children are “ready” to receive this meal. The pastor will offer a personal blessing for children who come forward, but are not yet receiving communion. Each year Pastor Beebe teaches a communion class for 1st grade children and older, to help them understand the meaning of this important meal. The way we serve communion will vary between services, so listen for instructions from the pastor and join in with others to come forward for this special time.
5. I’ve heard about Baptism. Who is it for and how do we arrange for a Baptism? Lutherans understand Baptism to be the normal entryway into the Christian community. We follow Christ’s command to Baptize. Because we understand Baptism to be God’s action on our behalf, not a result of anything we have done or earned, we baptize infants, children, and adults. Whether one is 6 months old or 80 years old, the understanding is the same. God is receiving us into God’s family through the water that is poured and the words that are spoken. Baptisms are normally done as part of one of the Sunday morning worship services, but exceptions can be made when family circumstances don’t allow for a Sunday. To arrange for a Baptism, call the church office. Pastor Beebe will then meet with you to discuss the Baptism further.
6. We’d like our children and youth to learn the basics of the Christian faith. Do you have Christian education? Yes! During the school year, Sunday School is held each Sunday at 10:00AM. It is for children age 3 by September 1st, and goes all the way through high school. We even have an adult class that meets at the same time, so parents can also be learning along with their kids.
7. Do you have confirmation classes for teenagers? Yes. We think the teenage years are an important time for youth to learn the basics of the faith. Classes are generally offered for youth in grades 7 and 8 and it is a two year program. Check with the church office for dates and times.
8. We’d like to get married. Can we have our service at your church? Congratulations! Yes, it is possible to have your service at Our Saviour’s. Call the church office and Pastor Beebe will speak with you about what is involved with having your service here.
9. How do Lutherans understand the Bible? As you might imagine, there are a variety of points of view. At Our Saviour’s, we take the Bible, God’s written Word, very seriously. We read portions each Sunday in church, the message is based on scripture, and we study the Bible in classes. We are not “fundamentalists,” meaning that we do not believe every passage has to be “literally” true. We take into consideration the context of the passage, the time it was written in history, the type of literature it is, etc., to try and understand the passage to the best of our human ability. We believe God continues to speak to us through this Word, so we always want to be open to what God’s Spirit may be saying to us.
10. Do I have to be a member to come? If I choose, how do I become a member? No, it is not necessary for you to be a member to come and participate in the life of Our Saviour’s. All are welcome, wherever you are at on your spiritual journey. However, many people find it helpful to have a church they can call their church home. This provides a greater sense of belonging, and you can have a voice (and vote) in decisions about the ministries Our Saviour’s provides. Membership orientation classes are generally offered three times a year, usually on Sunday morning during the education hour. If you’re interested, check with the church office to see when the next classes will be scheduled.
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If you have further questions, call the church office and one of us will do our best to answer your them!