What to Expect in Worship
Our worship services are held weekly at Gloria Dei at 6:00pm each Saturday evening and 10:30am each Sunday morning. Our Saturday evening services are typically smaller, quieter, and more intimate gatherings while Sunday morning usually have more people and the added energy that comes from that.
Special services are held on holidays in mornings or evenings. Our special services are: Thanksgiving Eve evening, Christmas Eve evening, Christmas Day morning, New Years Eve evening, Wednesday evenings during the season of Lent, Maundy Thursday evening, and Good Friday evening.
Our worship services are designed to be a two-way conversation with God. He speaks to us through his Word and Sacraments, and we speak to him through our prayers, praises and offerings.
Attending church somewhere for the first time can be intimidating. Here are some common worries:
- "I would feel very uncomfortable if they made me stand up and say something." We assure you, we won't embarrass you in this or any other way. We want you to feel comfortable and at home with us. Church should be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We promise to do all we can so you can learn about your Savior. You are welcome to simply come, sit, and observe. You will not be put on the spot!
- "I know my child is going to be too noisy." The noise of children is the noise of the future of the church. It's the noise of parents doing exactly what they should be doing: bringing their children to Jesus' feet to have them learn from him. We do offer a quiet room during our services where parents may sit with their children if the need arises with an audio and video stream, but we encourage the children to be in worship as much as possible. Parents with small children are encouraged to sit near the front of church so that the children can better see and hear what is going on in worship.
- "I know I will feel out of place." We hope that this description will ease your mind, but if you have a question, please ask someone for help. Don't hesitate to say, "I'm new. What is this about?"
- "I am afraid I will say or do something wrong." All of us have felt this way when in a new situation. But we hope you see our family at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is full of ordinary people like you.
- "I just want to watch at first and I know that they will try to involve me or sign me up." We believe that church membership is a voluntary thing, and that the most important thing is to trust in our Savior Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. It takes time for this to be cultivated. People need time to evaluate and decide if this congregation teaches God's Word purely and is thus a place they want to join or become further involved with. Take all the time you need. Our pastor and the rest of our congregation are here to be a help for you with any questions or concerns you might have.
- "I don't know that much about the Bible." Worship and Bible study are opportunities to grow in our knowledge of the Bible and faith in Jesus. You won't have to answer any questions you don't want to answer. You won't be called on to answer anything. We simply want to be a place where you can join us for the exact reason our entire congregation comes to church: grow in our faith and understanding of God's Word. Come and join us, no matter what you feel like your knowledge level is, and grow with us, together, as God strengthens our faith!
- "Most churches I've been to are filled with 'hypocrites.'" This is a common complaint about Christian churches. People expect to enter a church and find "perfect people" there. We make no such claims about ourselves. People who would make statements like the above one need to realize that the church is a spiritual hospital. It's not for healthy people; it's for sick people. Jesus himself said: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" (Matthew 9:12). Jesus is the Great Physician of our souls. So don't come to Gloria Dei Church expecting to find perfect people. Come to find people being treated for their diseases to find that treatment for yourself found only in Jesus. As the bumper sticker says: "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven."
What should I wear when I come to Gloria Dei Church?
Sometimes people wonder how they are expected to dress at a church they've never visited before. Since the Bible presents no dress code, aside from simple modesty, we don't make any rules either. Like most people, our members try to make their worship time at church a special time. This is often reflected in the way they dress.
However, on any given Sunday you may see running shoes and high heels, jeans and suits, open collars and ties. When a person dresses out of love for God, the choice of dress (casual or more formal) is acceptable to God . . . and to us.
What is the service like?
We generally follow a liturgy, or order of service. Our worship contains many of the same elements as that of the early Christian church and our weekly bulletin will walk you through every step of worship, and even offer a few explanatory notes as we move through the services. Worship generally includes the following components:
- The Confession of Sins: 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 Announcement of Forgiveness: The pastor announces the forgiveness of sins won for us by the perfect life and innocent sufferings and death of Jesus, our Savior.
- A Song of Praise: These songs of praise remind us of the wonderful things God has done for us, not the least of which is the salvation he gives through Christ.
- Prayer of the Day: The Church brings her concerns and prayers to a loving Father in heaven, who has shown great mercy and promised to hear our cries for help.
- Scripture Readings: The pastor reads three selections from the Bible. They usually include one selection from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament epistles (letters), and one from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).
- Sermon: The pastor offers instruction and encouragement in a sermon, usually based on one of the three readings. Expect to hear God’s guidance for dealing with the problems of life, along with the promises of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven through Jesus.
- Response to the Word: We respond with offerings and prayers for the things God has promised us and for strength to do what he has asked.
- Holy Communion: Currently we celebrate Holy Communion on almost every Sunday except the last Sunday each month. Before communing, however, we ask our visitors to please speak with the pastor. As a congregation we practice “Close Communion” also known as membership or fellowship communion. For a further explanation of this practice, please see below.
- Final Blessing: We hear one last assurance of God’s guidance and love.
Can I take Holy Communion (Lord's Supper) at Gloria Dei?
God has laid out some very specific directions and warnings about the Lord's Supper. It is something powerful, but also needs to be treated with respect. By taking the Lord's Supper at a congregation you are confessing that you 1) agree with everything this church teaches and 2) understand fully what God says about the Lord's Supper in his Word. Since we cannot judge the hearts, we must go by the public confession of church membership.
Members of WELS or ELS congregations are welcome to join us at the Lord's table, though we ask you to please speak with an usher or the pastor before communing. Members of other Lutheran or Christian church bodies who wish to commune with us are asked to speak with pastor to setup a time to meet to ensure that our faith in what God has told us is in fact in complete agreement. For more details on this, you may view our pamphlet Attending the Lord's Supper. These brochures are also available at church.
What about the offering?
"When will they take the offering?" "How will it be collected?" "How much am I expected to give?" "Do they want visitors to contribute too?" These are typical worries about church offerings.
The members of Gloria Dei bring their offerings to thank God for the goodness he has shown him and the forgiveness he has freely given to us. God does not dictate the amount that should be brought. Scripture only teaches that our offerings to God should reflect our belief that everything we have is a gift of God. The Bible tells us that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). In other words, don't give offerings because of guilt or embarrassment. We want all offerings to be made freely and with joy, out of thanks to God for what he has done for us.
We pass an offering plate after the sermon so that our worship may include bringing gifts to God. Offering envelopes are available to members to keep their gifts a private matter. A child may bring the quarters and dimes his or her parents give him. Someone older may write a check. Both are remembering Jesus and giving their gift out of love for him.
We recommend that you first learn more about our ministry before bringing your offerings to God through our church. Our guests are welcome, but certainly not expected to give.