We are Lutheran Christians! In other words, Lutherans are an historic subset of the much larger Christian Church. It is Jesus Christ we follow, but God gave some wonderful biblical and theological insights to Martin Luther back in 16th century Germany as he protested against abuses of the Roman Catholic Church of that day. (It was Luther's opponents who derisively called those who agreed with him "Lutherans." The name stuck, but we're really Christians who claim the theological lens of Martin Luther.) Central to a Lutheran expression of Christianity is the biblical teaching that we are saved by God's grace through faith, so we tend to focus on love for God and others rather than rules or pompous religiosity. Although our traditional worship service reminds many present-day Roman Catholics of the mass, we seek to emphasize God's mercy and grace revealed primarily in Jesus.
The ELCA is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the largest of several groupings of Lutherans in the United States. Evangelical means "proclaiming good news." The next largest groups of Lutherans in the USA are the LutheranChurch - Missouri Synod (LC-MS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), both of which are represented by congregations in the Las Vegas valley.
The first thing to do is request a copy of our brief wedding policy from the church office. You can call, email or stop by during office hours (open until noon on Fridays) to request a copy. We ask all couples to meet with the pastor several times before the wedding, so we need at least 6 weeks advance time. The next steps are outlined in the policy.
We welcome children in worship and other aspects of congregational life. We do have a nursery available during our Sunday 9:30 and 11:00 am worship services for children through age 3. The nursery is staffed by trained workers. We also have Sunday School for all ages (must be potty-trained) including adults simultaneous with our 9:30 am worship service. We offer a choral choir and a beginners' bell choir for children, as well as a summer musical day camp. We have many classes as well as fun and service opportunities for teenagers. Please check to see our Summer hours! Click here to visit the Youth Pages.
There is no "dress code." As is the case for so many occasions here in the southwest, most people dress casually. We do appreciate modesty in dress.
How should we/I proceed if I am interested in having my child(ren) baptized, or being baptized myself? Lutherans do not believe it necessary for people to be re-baptized because we see God as the primary actor in baptism. For Lutherans, baptism is one of only two sacraments (the other being Holy Communion) and is the rite of initiation into the Christian Church (of which Lutherans are only one expression). We believe baptism is a huge deal - the beginning of the new life which Jesus promised! Some groups like to distinguish between baptism and faith, but for Lutherans they always go together. Jesus said we are to "make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey all that I taught you." So baptism is only the beginning of what is meant to be a lifestyle of obeying Jesus. Anyway, you will want to make an appointment with Pastor Paul (email Pr. Paul) to talk more specifically about your situation, but we tend to want to get to know people pretty well because being baptized is a big, life-changing step!
Lutherans celebrate two special ways through which God pours out God's grace on us. We call these sacraments, and they involve earthly elements (bread and wine, and water) and have been commanded by Jesus. We also honor and celebrate other rites such as confession and absolution, confirmation, marriage and ordination, but do not consider these sacraments. Some church bodies do not have any sacraments, calling even baptism and communion "ordinances" and emphasizing the human action. Lutherans emphasize Gods' activity in the sacraments - that God is present and active in the sacraments, assuring us that God is with us and for us.
Our constitution requires that we pass a mission spending plan (budget) each January. The adopted spending plan is available to see, including compensation for our staff. We are delighted that in 2010 we shared almost $56,000 with ministries beyond or outside our own congregation, and intend to share over $56,000 in 2011. We are audited every year and take the responsibility to be good stewards (managers) of money and other resources seriously.
Our traditional services follow a liturgy and musical setting from our Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, and the singing is accompanied primarily by the organist. Our contemporary services are more informal, and the singing is accompanied by a band or pianist. We are blessed to have a wonderful Music Minister who excels at both styles.
With the exception of our children's and youth ministries, it is very easy to get involved. Just read about the various activities and choose one to try. If you'd like a little guidance on where you might best fit in, please contact Ministry Coordinator Devra Betts (email Devra). For the safety of our youth, we may require a background check before you volunteer with the children or youth.
Membership is not required to participate in the life of this congregation. Many people like to check things out first. But when you are ready to make a commitment to Holy Spirit as your faith community, we invite you to participate in our FaithWalk Ministry. FaithWalk is a process of asking faith-related questions and walking with a sponsor from the congregation. FaithWalk typically meets on Sunday afternoons at 12:15 pm, but other time options are usually available. Only members can serve on our church council or vote at congregational meetings (normally twice a year).