The main focus in every worship service is that God is present with his people. He is not present merely to see and hear them praise Him. He comes to serve. He comes to give His gifts of forgiveness and life in the Absolution, the sermon, and the Lord's Supper. Jesus promises, “for where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them” (Matthew 18:20, ESV). In His presence, Christians respond as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6 and Peter in Luke 5, by confessing their unworthiness to be in His presence, praising His goodness, and receiving Him through His Word and Sacraments. In the joy of Christ's forgiveness, life, and salvation, Christians return to the world forgiven and set free to live for Him and in love toward others.
The Lord is the primary actor in worship, and the people are the main instrument of praise. All our musical offerings, choir, brass, bells, and organ, (not to forget new groups that may arise), encourage and support us in singing the new song of the Gospel. The sanctuary acts as a sound chamber in blending the main instrument of praise: the voices of those the Holy Spirit has gathered. The pastor, musicians, worship leaders, elders, readers are not actors in the center spotlight but servants who aid in the proclamation of Christ. Everything in our sanctuary, from the fixtures, colors, light, and furnishings, to the art and instruments, should all give the sense that God is present in the worship place.
As Lutherans, we believe that the Holy Spirit has been present in and has guided the Church through the ages. We are heirs of a rich tradition in liturgy, the order of which was formulated in the early centuries of the church. In the liturgy, God comes to us in two parts, Word and Sacrament; and we respond in five parts, Kyrie, Gloria In Excelsis, Creed, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Within this format, we also include hymns and prayers as Scripture encourages: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:19, NIV).
The Church Year cycle, with its schedule of readings, brings us the life of Christ in a systematic fashion every year from Advent to Pentecost. It also brings us the life of the Christian Church with the same regularity in the Sundays from Trinity through the end of the Church year (at about Thanksgiving). This schedule insures that the pastor will not preach his "agenda" as the texts choose him, not the other way around.
Music is prescribed in the psalms and is a means to convey the biblical message. In Lutheran churches, music does not serve to entertain; it serves to teach. The Church has from its outset curated its best liturgical and hymnic texts while, at the same time, striven to write new music that best proclaims the truth of Scripture and the joy of the Gospel. Therefore, we believe it is not appropriate to get too focused on styles such as "traditional" or "contemporary." Our goal is to be authentic, (using the best gifts of our members musically), and to prioritize the truth and beauty of the Gospel, the best and highest message of all.
Again, at the center of it all, is Jesus Christ, present in His Word and Sacraments. To this we are pledged. With joy, hope, and love, we lift our voices in song and praise to the One who continues to forgive us and reassure us that we have eternal life.
If you want your worship centered on Christ, then we would love to see you.