What To Expect When Visiting
First and foremost, try and arrive about 10 minutes before the service on your first visit to Good Shepherd. That gives an opportunity for Pastor Schuermann to meet you and briefly explain the service to you. This will help you be much more comfortable in the service, particularly if it’s your first time in a liturgical church.
When you arrive, please park and come on in. Pastor Schuermann will be in the narthex (that’s church speak for the lobby area) and will be happy to meet you. There will be one or two other greeters as well.
We’re a liturgical church, using Lutheran Service Book for all of our services. The order of service is found on what we call The Green Sheet. It provides the page numbers for the service and hymns, any special texts that the congregation will speak during the service. There’s a list inside the bulletin of people for whom we’re praying.
If you’ve never been to a liturgical church before, that’s OK! Follow along as best you can. It often takes a few weeks to begin to be familiar with the music of the service. But please give it your best shot, even on your first visit!
We offer the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis as part of our Services, and we observe the historic Christian practice of Closed Communion. See below for more on this.
After the service, the congregation gathers in the Parish Hall for donuts and coffee (on Sundays, that is). Following a brief time together, the children are dismissed for Sunday School and the adults gather for the Scripture Study. Please plan on sticking around for this too! It is very good to study the Scriptures together, and this time is great for asking questions about the service, the Bible, or anything else you’ve been wondering.
Our Communion Practice
At Good Shepherd we follow the historic Christian practice of Closed Communion (sometimes referred to as Close Communion). This practice is commonly misunderstood, and therefore sometimes leads to offense. We have no desire to offend you! However, we cannot be unfaithful to the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ when it comes to the Lord’s Supper.
Here is the Communion Statement which is published each week inside our bulletin. It briefly explains the practice. If you’ll be joining us, please feel free to contact Pastor Schuermann ahead of time. Seriously! He’s ready and willing to chat with you about receiving the Supper here, either right away or after a period of instruction in what we believe, teach, and confess:
The Lord’s Supper is joyfully received here today. At the altar, our Lord Jesus Christ delivers His True Body and Blood into our mouths. His gift of Body and Blood, given in, with, and under the bread and wine, forgives our sins, strengthens our faith, binds us to the Lord, and unites us with each other.
Members of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations have publicly confessed this sacred gift and its blessings, and so are encouraged to commune. Other guests wishing to join our confession and receive this Holy Sacrament are encouraged to speak with Pastor Schuermann before communing for the first time. Whether you’re a member in good standing of an LCMS or AALC congregation or not, if you have not received communion from Pastor Schuermann before, please speak with him before the Divine Service. We ask that you please respect this, our belief and practice.
Anyone not receiving the Sacrament today is welcome to come forward to the rail to receive a blessing from the pastor. Please stand or kneel with your arms crossed over your chest, as a sign of your desire to receive a blessing.
Again, if you have any questions about our communion practice, or anything else regarding Good Shepherd, please contact us! Pastor would love to help you with any questions you might have.