Who is St. Paul’s Lutheran church for? What kind of a church is it?
Those are questions that our members might encounter or even have asked themselves. What's the answer?
Here are some of my thoughts, though certainly incomplete, it should get you headed in the right direction.
Who is St. Paul’s for? (Yes, I know that this is a grammatically incorrect way to ask the question, but it's how people speak.)
- It’s a church for you if you are a broken sinner. Because the church is Christ’s church, we welcome sinners who are struggling and we are here to love you, support you, and be there for you.
- It’s a church for you if you are married, single, or divorced. Because the church is Christ’s church we affirm the Biblical teaching that marriage is a wonderful blessing and the those who are unmarried are able to be an extraordinary blessing in the church and in the world. If you’ve gone through a divorce and are hurting, remember that St. Paul’s is here for the hurting and broken.
- It’s a church for you if are old, young, or somewhere in-between. Because the church is Christ’s church and Christ welcomed all who believed, whether old or young, male or female, blue collar or white collar, introvert or extrovert, tall or short, fat or thin, lifelong Christian or new to the faith, we know that you are an important part of the kingdom of God and treasured by Christ, therefore treasured by us.
- It’s a church that takes seriously the Word of God. Our Sunday Service is structured around the Word of God. Our hymns are filled with the Word of God. Our Sunday School and Bible Classes are there so that the Word of God can be better understood and applied. Our School exists because we value education in the Word of God as a greater treasure than any other education. We believe that the Bible is true and we proclaim it, shape our lives according to it, and love it.
- It’s a church that understands that the main teachings of the Bible are the law and the gospel. The primary purpose of the law is to show us our sins and the gospel of Jesus Christ shows us our Savior. We understand that we receive God’s grace, won for us by Christ, through Holy Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Word of God, therefore we value those things as great treasures.
- It’s a Spirit filled church. The Holy Spirit works through the Word, calls us to faith, keeps us in the faith, and directs us to Christ. The Holy Spirit doesn’t draw attention to Himself, but always directs us to Christ. Spirit filled does not mean that we get an emotional high, but that we are led by the Spirit according to how the Spirit works, which is through God's Word and Sacraments.
- It’s a church that cares about what you think, but is more concerned with what God thinks.
- It’s a church that belongs to Christ. We are stewards, caretakers, of His church, not the owners. Christ is the head of the church, not the pastor, not the voters. He has redeemed us, purchased and won us with His suffering and death; therefore we exist to serve Him.
These are some of my thoughts, but I'd love to hear yours. What would you add to my list? What would you subtract or change? Is this clear or unclear? I'd love to hear what some of our members have to say!