What to Expect - When You Visit us

Attending a worship service at a church you don’t know makes a lot of people a little nervous.  Perhaps the hardest part is not really knowing what to expect when you arrive. We want people to feel comfortable among us and will do everything to make visiting Good Shepherd an enjoyable & stress-free experience for you.  To alleviate yor pre-visit concerns we have put together answers to a list of common questions. We hope our answers address all your concerns and look forward to having you worship with us!

 

How should I dress?

We want you to be comfortable. We are thrilled that you are joining us and want you to be more focused on the service than what you or anyone else is wearing. It's not uncommon to see people wearing khakis or jeans. Others still prefer to put on their Sunday best, and that's fine too! We know you will fit in no matter how you dress.


Where do I enter the church & what will I see when I enter?

You may enter the church through the white four-wide glass doors underneath the covered carport/drop-off area.


Upon entry you will usually be greeted and welcomed near the entry doors by one or two members of our congregation. There are coat racks to the left and right of the entry doors in the narthax area for hanging up your coat and dropping off any personal items you do not wish to carry in to the sanctuary with you.

 

Forward of the entry doors is the doors entering into the sanctuary. An elder or and usher will greet you here and offer you a worship service bulletin that will help you follow along during our worship service. In addition to the usher(s) and/or elder(s) near the sanctuary entry doors you will also be greeted by our Pastor (hint: he is usually wearing a robe) which will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself and discuss any worship needs (like joining us for the Lord's Supper).


Rest rooms, if needed, are down a short hallway to the right of the sanctuary ( near the bulletin boards).


It is our desire to make your visit warm, comfortable and meet your expectations. If you have any needs before, during or after the worship service, alert one of our ushers or elders in the narthax, and they will do everything possible to accomodate your needs. 


What is the Worship style?

Most services are a combination of  traditional Christian worship, and contemporary relevance. Since our God and the Bible are not limited to any time or culture, neither are our worship or music. We sing many traditional Christian hymns, but blend in many contemporary songs, led by experienced musicians at the organ and piano. About once a month we have a service that features contemporary songs sung with piano and guitars.


What is the typical order of service?

Each individual part of the service will vary from week to week, but we follow Christian tradition in the overall order of service:

    1. Pastor's Welcome and Introduction to the Service
    2. Opening Hymn
    3. Invocation
    4. Confession of Sin's & Absolution  - Following the confession of sins, the Absolution pronounces God's forgiveness either in a direct form ("I absolve/forgive you") or in a declarative form ("God forgives you all yours sins"). The word comes from the Latin, absolvere, which means "to loosen, set free, or absolve" (Jn 20:23).
    5. Intriot (an Entrance Psalm)
    6. Hymn of Praise
    7. Salutation ("The Lord be with you") & Collect of the Day
    8. Scripture Readings according to the Common Lectionary (Lutheran variation)
    9. Hymn
    10. Sermon
    11. The Apostles' Creed or Nicene Creed (practicing together what we believe, teach and confess)
    12. Prayer of the Church
    13. Offertory (your gift to the LORD is between you and Him)
    14. Sanctus - A Latin word meaning "holy." The Sanctus is the liturgical song sung at the beginning of the communion liturgy. It is drawn from the song of the angels in Is. 6:3. The concluding text, "blessed is He who comes…" is from Ps. 118:26 and Mk. 11:9
    15. The Lord's Prayer - we pray as Christ has taught us
    16. Words of Our Lord - Christ's actions and word as He host His holy Supper
    17. Agnus Dei - Latin for "Lamb of God," this hymn in the communion liturgy draws on the words of John the Baptist who pointed his disciples to Jesus, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29). In the context of the communion liturgy, we are praying to Christ who is there present in his body and blood to have mercy on us and grant us peace.
    18. Lord's Supper (every week, except special services)
    19. Post Communion Song or Prayer
    20. Benediction - blessing
    21. Closing Hymn

Am I expected to put money in the offering?

Like many Christians, our members present offerings to God through the church. These offerings are gifts in response to the love of God. No one dictates what each person shall give. We pass an offering plate during the service so that our worship may include bringing gifts to our Lord. As members of Christ's body, we share in Christ's gifts as He serves us, but also in the mission that He has given us: to share His gifts with our community and world. We support the costs of the building and maintenance, of supporting those who commit to full- or part-time church work, and of those who serve as missionaries, going to places we cannot go. You are not required to put money in the offering plate. However, as you become part of our family, we believe that you will want to participate with us in sharing the blessings and gifts of Jesus and contributing your time, talents, and treasure to the mission Christ gives us to share in!


I have hearing and/or visually problems. Is there any special assistance?

Yes! For those who are hearing impaired, we have special hearing devices that you can wear that will allow you to control the volume. If you think this would be beneficial to you ask one of our Ushers or an Elder and they will be happy to assist you.


For those who are visually impaired, we offer large print bulletins. You can request one from an Usher or and Elder as you enter. 


What happens with my children?

Children of all ages are welcomed in our worship services. Following the service children through middle school age are welcome to attend our Power Hour Sunday School from approximately 10:20am to 11:20am which runs concurrently with our adult bible classes.


Parents who have concerns about their children being able to sit quietly though a worship service can rest easy. Our Sanctuary is separated from the Narthax and if you find you need to "escape" the sanctuary during the service there are speakers in the Narthax so you can continue to listen to the worship service.


If you should have any special needs for yourself or your children before, during, or after the worship service mention them to one of our Ushers or Elders and they will do everything possible to accommodate. 


How long is the Worship service?

Our Worship services run, on average, about an hour and fifteen minutes. We begin at 9am (5pm on Saturday Evenings) and are singing the last hymn at about 10:15am


Will I be singled out?

We are careful to not do things that will single out our guests, or draw unwanted attention to them. You will not be asked to stand up and introduce yourself or do anything that might embarras you.

 

Someone will probably say hello to you because our church is made up of very friendly, loving people. At some point during our service we "share the peace" with our worship neighbors by greeting each other and offering God's peace and blessings. You are invited to join in as we share this greeting. Other than that, how you interact with other people is entirely up to you.


Should I go up to Communion?

The Lord's Supper is a sacrament that is not to be taken lightly. And for those who believe that Jesus Christ is present in and with the bread and wine realize that this sacrament is a true gift from God. We believe that every member should first be instructed about what the Sacrament is and what it means for us. Communion is also a time for self-examination. If you are (or recently have been) a member of a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod congregation, we are confident that you understand the blessings of the Sacrament, and welcome you to commune with us. If you have been instructed in another Lutheran body, you will most likely agree with our biblical confession and stance, but we ask that you discuss with the Pastor your faith background before communing with us. If you have no Lutheran background, the Pastor would like to talk to you about your faith background before you commune with us.

  

How does one become a member of Good Shepherd?

If you come from another Lutheran background, in most cases, the pastor may discuss any differences you may find in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and if you agree, will welcome you into membership. If you have another faith background, a short time of instruction, together with other new prospective members, is usually all it takes to become a member of Good Shepherd.


 



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