What is Worship like at New Life?
Every church has its own style of worship. We think you'll enjoy the services at New Life Lutheran Church, but as with any church you should expect to take a couple of Sundays to become accustomed to our way of praising God together.
We worship every Sunday starting at 9:30am. We celebrate Communion during the service on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. There are other services during special times in the church year, such as miod-week services during Advent and Lent.
Each service is either entirely printed in the worship folder, which is provided by an usher as you enter, or the basic parts are printed there to provide reference to our hymnal during the service. All the readings and prayers are always printed there for you. You will also find a brief explanation of the worship theme of the particular Sunday. You are welcome to bring along your own Bible and follow along there if you choose.
Our worship services focus on readings from God's Word--the Bible. There we hear God talk to us. Music and singing are important parts of our worship as well. Loud or soft, in monotone or rich harmony, ancient or contemporary, all our praises are music to the Lord.
Our worship services usually include the following parts in a variety of forms:
The Invocation - We call on the name of our Savior Lord as we praise him with song .
Admitting Sins and Receiving Forgiveness - We acknowledge that we have not been or done what God asks. Then we are assured of forgiveness in Jesus.
Bible Readings - We read selections from Godís Old Testament prophets, Jesusí apostles, and from Jesus himself. A brief explanation of each reading is also provided in the worship folder.
Sermon - Our pastor offers instruction and encouragement in a Bible-based sermon for children and adults alike. Young or old, you can expect Godís guidance and grace through his Word for dealing with life's problems, as well as the promise of eternal life in heaven through our only Savior Jesus.
Response to the Word - We respond with offerings and prayers for the things he has promised to us and for strength to do what he has asked.
Parting Blessing - Before we return home for the week, we hear one last assurance of the Lordís gracious care.
Throughout these different parts of our service, we praise our gracious God with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs from the entire history of God's Church. During some services, our members partake of the Lord's Supper. New Life Lutheran Church (and all congregations of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) practice what is called "Close Communion". For an explanation of this practice, please contact Pastor Bauer.
Our worship services use traditional forms, but modern language and application. This "blended" style of worship brings out the best of the traditional and the contemporary. The traditional brings us the best from God's Church throughout the ages, while the contemporary brings God's promises and his will into our daily lives. We hope you will enjoy both as we worship our gracious Lord together!
How Should I Dress?
You might wonder how you are expected to dress at a church you've never visited before. Since the Bible presents no dress code, except for simple decency and Christian humility, New Life doesn'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. Still dress is a personal matter of worship before God. One person may dress casually and rejoice that our gracious Lord accepts us as we are, while another may dress to reflect the awe and reverence we have for our Savior King.
On any Sunday at our church you may see running shoes and heels, jeans and suits, open collars and ties. When a person dresses out of love for his or her Lord, the choice of dress, be it casual or more formal, is acceptable to God . . . and us.
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, but God's Word teaches that our offerings to God should reflect our belief that all we have is his gift to us. It teaches us that with our offerings we worship and honor God.
As our guest, we do not expect you to contribute an offering, nor do we want to pressure you into doing so. You may wish to learn more about our ministry before bringing your offerings to God through our church, but you are welcome to participate as your heart leads you to give.
Like most Christians, our members bring offerings to God through their church. Since offerings are gifts of love for God, no one dictates what each person is to give. These offering give them the opportunity to not only show love to Christ, but also to support the work of our congregation as we bring the Good News of Christ's love to more people.
We pass an offering plate during the service so that our worship may include bringing gifts to God and we use offering envelopes to keep our gifts a private matter known only to the Lord. Now a child may bring the quarters and dimes his parents give him. Someone older may write a check. Both, however, remember Jesus and give their gifts out of love for him.
What Is the Worst that Can Happen?
Attending a church for the first time can be intimidating. Here are some common worries:
"I donít 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 wonít have to answer any questions you donít want to answer. Don't forget...sometimes the wisest words to say say are, "I donít know."
"I would just die if they made me stand up and say something." We can assure you, we wonít embarrass you in this or any other way. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible and at home with us. Time at church should be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We promise to do all we can so you can learn about your Savior.
"I know my child is going to be too noisy." Our congregation is much like a family with infants and kids and teens and adults and elderly. It is not unusual to hear the cry of a baby mixed in with the sound of hymns or readings. If, however, at any time you feel the need, you can bring your child downstairs to the fellowship area. There are both men's and ladies' restrooms off the fellowship area and next to the preschool.
"I know I will feel out of place." We hope this visitor's guide has helped to ease your mind, but if you have a question, please ask someone for help. Donít hesitate to say, "I'm new here. Can you help me?" We can assure you our members are more than willing to help!
"I'm afraid I'll say or do something wrong." You are not alone! All of us, at some time, have felt this way in a new situation. We hope you'll see that the people of New Life are ordinary people like yourself. We want to accept you as you are and help you become what Christ wants you to be. We do not want to throw cold water on that with a critical spirit.
"I just want to watch at first, but I know they'll try to get me involved or sign me up for something." We believe church membership should be a voluntary matter, and the most important thing of all is to trust in our Savior Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. This takes time. People need time to evaluate and decide if they wish further involvement in a congregation. We believe we should respect that need.
We pray that this "Visitor's Guide" has helped answer some of your questions and alleviate your fears. Our goals as a congregation are quite simple. We want to nurture our faith by the teaching of the Lord's pure Word and then to share that faith with people like you--all for the glory of God. Everything we do is meant to accomplish these goals. We pray that there is nothing that will stand in your way from learning more about your Savior.
Please do not hesitate to contact Pastor Bauer if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you. May our living Savior richly bless you and we look forward to seeing you in church sometime soon! YŐe