What is an ELCA Lutheran?
- We are Christians. Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are connected to the faith of the church through the ages and around the world. We believe and confess the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
- Lutherans believe in the Triune God. We are part of God’s unfolding plan. We believe that Jesus is God’s Son and died to save us. We believe that the Holy Spirit is active and working in our lives today.
- We value worship together. When we gather for worship, we connect with believers everywhere and of every time. We worship God in a variety of styles, but all worship is focused around God’s Word and how God reaches into our lives.
- We read and preach the Bible. We connect with God in prayer. When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story.
- We believe in serving others and making a difference in the world. When we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.
- We are saved by GRACE alone—as a free gift of God—not by anything we do or say.
- Our salvation is through FAITH — a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life, and salvation.
- We have two sacraments—Communion and Baptism. We baptize adults and children, believing that God is the one working in baptism and offering us free gifts of life and salvation. We welcome all people to the meal of Communion – to share the bread and wine with us and celebrate Christ’s saving presence in our midst.
- We Lutherans follow the teachings of Martin Luther, who was a major part of the Reformation in 16th C. Europe. Today, nearly 5 centuries later, Lutherans still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s teachings, such as “Grace alone” “Faith alone” and “Scripture alone.”
- Lutherans are part of a reforming movement within the whole Christian church.
- Lutherans are a diverse group of people—with congregations all over the world, worshipping God in many languages, and welcoming all people regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, or socio-economic status. You are welcome too!
How Do Lutherans Worship?
We like music in the Lutheran church. We sing a lot! Praise songs, old hymns, gospel favorites, contemporary hymns, songs from around the world…. you name it! We sing ‘liturgy’ too, in our traditional worship—little songs that involve the congregation in the ritual action of worship. Sometimes we even chant! Don’t worry, though. We provide the music and the words and no one is ever asked to do a solo. We sing together! (And those who’d rather not sing… listen.)
WE INVOLVE KIDS
We bring the kids up front for their own “sermon” time; we get them involved in projects or crafts; we make sure that at least some of the songs we sing are ones they can join in on; we invite them to participate as readers and acolytes and singers and ushers and in any way they would like.
WE TAKE AN OFFERING
We believe that God asks us to give back out of what he has given us. We expect members to contribute to the needs of the church and the community; we invite guests and visitors to give only as they feel led.
We pray aloud and silently. Sometimes we use written prayers. Sometimes we don’t. Most worship services include the Lord’s Prayer and prayer for the world, the sick, and other concerns. Worshippers are invited to pray aloud, but it’s okay not to.
WE READ THE BIBLE
Volunteers read 1 or 2 passages from the Bible every week. Together, we read or sing or chant from the Psalms as well. Then the pastor reads from the Gospels (stories about Jesus) and preaches a sermon. Lutheran sermons are short—10-15 minutes—and seek to connect faith to our daily lives. Much of our worship—ritual responses, prayers, even song lines—are also straight out of the Bible!
WE CELEBRATE COMMUNION
Every week we gather around the bread and wine—the body and blood of Jesus. We celebrate Jesus’ Presence with us, and receive once again his gifts of salvation, forgiveness, and grace. We welcome all people to the table—not just Lutherans.
We share announcements and prayer requests, stories of God’s action in our lives, and greetings of peace and friendship. Again, everyone is welcome to participate in these; but no one is required.