We invite you to worship with us every Sunday morning at 10 AM. Coming to worship for the first time might be easier for you if you know what to expect. First consider these questions others have asked who have been in your shoes. Then we will walk through the worship service together just like you would on a typical Sunday morning at Star of Bethlehem…
“What should I wear? Does everyone wear dress clothes?”
There isn’t a dress code in the Bible so we don’t have one either. Our God says that he cares about what on the inside, not the clothes on your back. You’ll see all kinds of different clothes from jeans to dress pants. Shorts in the summer months are not uncommon. There are some who wear more formal attire – I’ll most likely have on a tie, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Most people wear what they would to school during the week or a casual place of business.
“What if I know my child is going to be too noisy?”
At Star of Bethlehem we want children to be a part of worship. The Holy Spirit creates faith in the hearts of young and old alike. That said, it might put you at ease to know that for children under the age of three there is a nursery if you need it. For children four years old and up we offer Kids Church. After the opening portion of worship I invite the children to come forward for a brief children’s message. Following the message the children go off for a Sunday school lesson. On a normal Sunday the children return from their lesson during the offering when there is a little more moving around and close worship with their family. The biggest comfort is knowing that you’re not alone. There are a number of children in our church family. We look forward to seeing you!
“What if I say or do something wrong?”
On your first Sunday there won’t be any pop quizzes or tests. We won’t ask you for a testimonial or put you on the spot with an awkward meet-and-greet during worship. Here is a link to last week’s bulletin. Everything that you need to do and say can be found there. God accepts you as you are and so will we.
“Will anyone try to involve me or sign me up?”
Absolutely not. When you come to worship, you come into the presence of God. We want to be welcoming to all visitors, but we don’t want to put any barriers between you and your God. If you wish, you may sign our guest register, but there is no obligation. A member who joined the church almost a decade ago visited for more than two months without giving any contact information. Visit as long as you like.
“What kind of music will I hear at Star of Bethlehem?”
There are many ways to describe worship. On the scale between contemporary with a full praise band and traditional with an organ, we fall in the middle. Some have called the way we worship, blended, because as we use the gifts God has given to our church there is a little bit of everything. There will be some solos and a variety of instruments. A wise man once said, “Music is the handmaiden of the gospel.” Music adds beauty and meaning to worship.
Let’s walk through a typical Sunday morning worship service…
Star of Bethlehem Lutheran church follows a liturgy. The word liturgical means “the work of the people.” Compared to the Praise and Worship style you might find on a Sunday morning in the Bible Belt, our members participate a lot. Some have compared the liturgy to a dialogue between the people gathered for worship and their God. He promises to be present. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20)
We begin worship in the name of our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We ask him to be with us as he has promised.
Confession and Absolution
As a group we acknowledge that we have sinned – no one is perfect. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 Then I will announce God’s forgiveness. This forgiveness is the primary message of Christianity and fills the service each week. And are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24
This isn’t a three point sermonette followed by a pop quiz. The lessons on a Sunday morning are Scripture readings that start with a brief introduction.
Following the lessons there is a brief prayer called the Collect or the Prayer of the Day. This prayer refocuses us on the theme for the Sunday.
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
Normally there are three or four congregational hymns and or songs scattered through the worship service. Following the lessons there is a Hymn of the Day that follows the theme of the sermon that helps to focus the congregation on the message they are about to hear.
In some churches, it is not uncommon to hear a sermon or message that runs 45 minutes. While there is nothing wrong with that style – God leaves how we worship to our Christian freedom – Lutheran preaching tends to be more devotional. Rarely will the sermon run over twenty minutes. There is usually one or two points that I will share using Scripture, illustrations, and stories. Most of the sermons are found on our website. Immediately following worship there is a brief 19-minute Bible study that is more interactive.
Confession of Faith
There are three creeds or confessions that the historical church has used for thousands of years. These are summaries of faith. Most Sundays we confess our Christian faith using either the Apostles or Nicene Creeds. On Trinity Sunday we confession the Athanasian Creed. This longer creed was written as a defense against those who tried to change the definition of God. All three are very useful summaries of what we believe.
Offering and prayers
After hearing what God has done for us in the Sermon we have the opportunity to respond with our treasures and our prayers. If you are our guest, please do not feel compelled to give anything. We want you to visit without any obligation. At Star of Bethlehem we do not require a tithe of our members. What you give to the Lord is between you and the Lord. In freedom we plan and then set aside an offering to our God in response for all that he has done for us.
The Lord’s Supper
Normally we celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. In it we receive the very body of our Lord Jesus that was giving into death for our sins and the very blood that was shed for us. If you don’t know what the Lord’s Supper is all about, or if you do not know what our church teaches in general, I ask that you wait before communing with us. I would LOVE to tell you more about what we believe. After that we welcome everyone from all walks of life to join us at the Lord’s Supper. For more information on our Communion practices please click here.
As we begin worship, so we close. I leave those who worship with us with God’s name. You belong to him. As you go into a new week, your God goes with you to provide and protect. Be at peace. You are forgiven and your are loved.
Pastor Fred Guldberg