We know that it can be a bit intimidating and even scary when you go anywhere for the first time because you don’t know what exactly to expect. We want you to feel comfortable visiting us for worship and want you to know what to expect if you do. So here’s what you can expect to find at Eastside…
The Lutheran Church is a liturgical church. What you will experience at Eastside is a collection of hymns, dialogues, readings, and practices assembled from every century of the Christian Church’s existence, including our own. We believe that the historic worship practices of the Christian Church, some of them almost 2,000 years old, have much to teach us. Our worship is rooted in the past, proclaimed in the present, and geared toward the future.
Worship at Eastside seeks to be relevant, timely, and edifying, not contrived or manipulated. Our worship flows from the Gospel and points to Jesus Christ. In worship, we proclaim and apply the forgiveness, life, and salvation that Jesus won for all people on the cross.
In our worship, we hear that we are rescued from the consequences of our sinfulness by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and assured of eternal life through his resurrection. We hear that we are a community of God’s people, made holy through the work of the Spirit and given a purpose for our lives here on earth. These truths about the most important questions of human existence are what make church and worship unique and special for us.
We gather at Eastside to experience Jesus Christ, who Himself does not change, but changes those who gather around him. We gather around the Gospel as it’s proclaimed through Baptism, Holy Communion, the preached and read Word of God, and the public declaration of God’s forgiveness. Be one of those who gather around Him. Gather with us at Eastside!
The services usually include the following parts in a variety of forms:
We call on the name of the Triune God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – as we identify God as our own. All of our differences and individualities, while not ignored or denied, are superseded by our identity in Christ as his self-revealed name is again placed upon those gathered, just as it was in Baptism.
Admitting Sins and Finding Forgiveness
We acknowledge that we have not always done what God asks, that we are sinners in desperate need of a gracious God. Then we are assured of the one thing we need the most – the forgiveness of our sins. This forgiveness is as real as if God himself spoke it because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
Each Sunday we hear three lessons: selections from God’s Old Testament prophets, Jesus’ apostles, and from Jesus himself in the Gospels. The use of a lectionary (a series of assigned readings) assures that the congregation will review the saving events of our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection each year. Included in our Lutheran tradition is a Psalm of the Day, intended to comment on the Old Testament Lesson.
Our pastor offers applicable instruction and encouragement in a sermon based on a selected text for that Sunday in the church year. The sermon applies the never changing truths of Scripture to the specific individuals gathered in this specific place at this specific time. We hear how we can expect God’s guidance and grace for dealing with problems of this life, as well as the promise of eternal life to come in heaven through Jesus’ saving work.
Confession of Faith
Each Sunday we confess our faith, that is, state what we believe, using one of the ancient creeds of the Christian Church, the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed. We do this as a reminder of the basic truths of our faith and to show our unity with each other and the Christians who came before us.
The Lord’s Supper
Two Sundays a month we participate in the sacrament (or sacred act) of Communion. We believe that God offers us the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ in and with the bread and wine as a means to receive the forgiveness of God that Jesus Christ won for us on the cross. We also believe that through the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim our unity with God and with each other in our faith. Because in the Lord’s Supper we are proclaiming that we have a complete unity in all that we believe and because it is such an expression of our common faith, all those who do commune at Grace have been thoroughly instructed and agree with all that we believe and teach.
(Click here for more information on this practice called “Close Communion.”)
Our Response: Offerings and Prayers
Our offerings are given as a response to God’s love. By giving a portion of our income as an offering, we show our thanks to God for his rich mercy to us. Through these freewill offerings we are able to carry out our great commission: to share that good news of Jesus with others in our community and throughout the world. Our guests need not feel obligated to contribute. God’s grace also moves us to pray in thanksgiving, in supplication, asking Him to give us the strength to do his will, and in intercession, praying for others on behalf of the world.
We hear one last assurance of God’s care as the Lord’s name is placed on us. Just as we begin our service in God’s name, so we receive his name at the conclusion. With the name of God comes all the gifts that he desires to give: blessings, protection, grace, and peace.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
“What kind of music will I hear at Eastside?”
Mixed throughout these different parts of our service are hymns and songs to praise God. Our worship uses the best of the church throughout the ages bringing God’s promises and his will into our modern lives.
“What do people wear at Eastside? Do I have to dress up?”
Since the Bible presents no dress code, aside from simple decency and Christian humility, we don’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 as they strive to show reverence to God. But dress is a personal matter of worship before God. One may dress casually and rejoice that we have a God who accepts us as we are, while others dress to reflect the awe and reverence we have for our God and Savior King.
“What if I know my child is going to be too noisy?”
We encourage parents of young children to attend worship services with their children. This begins the good habits of attending worship services at an early age. But we also understand the difficulties of parenting, so we provide restless child room so parents can teach and instruct their children, while still participating in the worship service when they feel they might be disrupting worship.
“What if I say or do something wrong?”
All of us have felt this way when in a new situation. But we hope you see the people of our congregation to be ordinary people like yourself. We want to accept you as you are and help you to become what Christ wants you to be.
“Will anyone try to involve me or sign me up?”
We believe that church membership should be a voluntary thing, and that the most important thing is to trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and salvation. It takes time for this to be cultivated. People need time to evaluate and decide if they wish further involvement. We will respect that need and won’t pressure you to join. But we do encourage you to worship with us again. Visit us on several occasions and make an informed decision for yourselves.
We pray this information has answered some of the questions you may have about worship at Eastside. If you have further questions, if you would like to learn about our congregation, or you would like to know more about the Bible’s teachings, please feel free to call or email. I’ll be happy to assist you in whatever way I can.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Nathan Berg & Pastor Peter Schlicht