What to expect in worship
Our worship services are held weekly at Palos Lutheran at 5:00pm each Saturday evening and 9:00am each Sunday morning. Special services are held on holidays in mornings or evenings. Our special services are:
- Thanksgiving Eve evening
- Thanksgiving Day morning
- Wednesday evenings during the season of Advent
- Christmas Eve evening
- Christmas Day morning
- New Years Eve evening
- Wednesday evenings during the season of Lent
- Maundy Thursday evening
- Good Friday evening
- Easter Sunday morning
Our worship services are designed to be a two-way conversation with God. He speaks to us through his Word and Sacraments, and we speak to him through our prayers, praises and offerings.
Attending church somewhere for the first time can be intimidating. Here are some common worries:
- “I will feel uncomfortable.” We want you to feel comfortable and at home with us. Church should be an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We promise to do all we can so you can learn about your Savior. You are welcome to simply come, sit, and observe. You will not be put on the spot! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
- “My child will be too noisy.” The noise of children is the noise of the future of the church. It’s the noise of parents doing exactly what they should be doing: bringing their children to Jesus’ feet to have them learn from him. We do offer a quiet/changing room during our services where parents may sit with or tend to their children if the need arises.
- “I may say or do something wrong.” All of us have felt this way when in a new situation. But we hope you see our family at Palos Lutheran Church is full of ordinary people like you.
- “I don’t 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 won’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to answer. You won’t be called on to answer anything. We simply want to be a place where you can join us for the exact reason our entire congregation comes to church: grow in our faith and understanding of God’s Word. Come and join us, no matter what you feel like your knowledge level is, and grow with us, together, as God strengthens our faith!
- “Most churches I’ve been to are filled with ‘hypocrites.'” This is a common complaint about Christian churches. People expect to enter a church and find “perfect people” there. We make no such claims about ourselves. People who would make statements like the above one need to realize that the church is a spiritual hospital. It’s not for healthy people; it’s for sick people. Jesus himself said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12). Jesus is the Great Physician of our souls. So don’t come to Palos Lutheran Church expecting to find perfect people. Come to find people being treated for their diseases to find that treatment for yourself found only in Jesus. As the bumper sticker says: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
What should I wear?
Sometimes people wonder how they are expected to dress at a church they’ve never visited before. Since the Bible presents no dress code, aside from simple modesty, 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. However, on any given Sunday you may see running shoes and high heels, jeans and suits, open collars and ties. When a person dresses out of love for God, the choice of dress (casual or more formal) is acceptable to God . . . and to us.
What is service like?
We’re a “Liturgical” Church. That simply means we follow a consistent order of service intended to involve people in meaningful worship. We begin by listening to the Word of God, then move to our response. That’s the pattern we follow throughout the service: we listen to God’s Word and then we respond to God’s Word.
Liturgical worship is intended to offer what can’t be found anywhere else: a sense of holiness. The pastor’s robe, the rituals, the art, the music serve to “set apart” what happens in church from ordinary life. “Holiness” literally means “set apart,” and in America at least, with our casual ways and laid back attitudes, nothing is set apart and, as we say, nothing is sacred. But church is a place where the sacred can be found. From the pastor’s formal approach to the congregation to the majestic language of the liturgy, we hope that the entire service will convince you that something different, something extraordinary is going on here.
Many people tease Lutherans—and Lutherans tease themselves—about not worshipping in an emotional way. Liturgical worship is God-centered, not human-centered. That means it finds its greatest strength in the objective truth of Scripture, not in the emotional response of the worshippers.
For that reason, Lutheran worship bathes the congregation in the Word of God. The liturgical responses are the very words of the Bible. The hymns are doctrinally and artistically rigorous explorations of a Biblical text. The creed and the prayers are grounded in Scripture. A Lutheran sermon is never a moralistic pep talk, nor a meditation on current events or pop psychology, but the proclamation of both Law (what God says about our sin) and Gospel (what God tells us about our Savior), drawn from the appointed text of Scripture. And Holy Communion is a reenactment of the Lord’s Supper as recorded in the New Testament. The Word permeates Lutheran worship.
The Lutheran Liturgy truly centers our hearts on worship of the one, true God.
Every church has its own style of worship. We think you’ll enjoy the service here at Palos Lutheran, but, as in any church, you should expect it to take a couple of services to become accustomed to our way of praising God together.
Can I take Holy Communion (Lord’s Supper)?
God has laid out some very specific directions and warnings about the Lord’s Supper. It is something powerful, but also needs to be treated with respect. By taking the Lord’s Supper at a congregation you are confessing that you 1) agree with everything this church teaches and 2) understand fully what God says about the Lord’s Supper in his Word. Since we cannot judge the heart, we must go by the public confession of church membership.
Members of WELS congregations are welcome to join us at the Lord’s table, though we ask you to please speak with an usher or the pastor before communing. Members of other Lutheran or Christian church bodies who wish to commune with us are asked to speak with pastor to setup a time to meet to ensure that our faith in what God has told us is in fact in complete agreement.
Does Palos Lutheran collect an 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.
The members of Palos Lutheran bring their offerings to thank God for the goodness he has shown him and the forgiveness he has freely given to us. God does not dictate the amount that should be brought. Scripture only teaches that our offerings to God should reflect our belief that everything we have is a gift of God. The Bible tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). In other words, don’t give offerings because of guilt or embarrassment. We want all offerings to be made freely and with joy, out of thanks to God for what he has done for us.
We pass an offering plate after the sermon on Sunday morning services and place the offering plate at the back of church on Saturday evening services so that our worship may include bringing gifts to God. Offering envelopes are available to members to keep their gifts a private matter. A child may bring the quarters and dimes his or her parents give him. Someone older may write a check. Both are remembering Jesus and giving their gift out of love for him. Our guests are welcome, but certainly not expected to give.
How do I find my way around?
Upon entering the church, you will be greeted with a friendly face who can address any questions you may have. There are two unisex bathrooms available located on the right upon entering the church. There is a small cry room available should you need to take a moment to care for your child outside of the church service. It is located on the left as you walk into the church, and it also contains a changing table for your convenience. Coffee and snacks are served after Sunday morning service in the multi-purpose room located in the school building next to church. You are also invited to stay for Bible Class and Sunday School in the school building following Sunday morning services.