Are you nervous about visiting a new church? Most people are. St. Matthew hopes to make you feel comfortable and welcomed as you worship with us. We offer the following questions and answers to help calm any fears and clear up any common questions. Is there something we have left unanswered? Please contact us.
Will St. Matthew draw attention to me as a visitor?
No. At St. Matthew, we understand that not everyone appreciates being singled out, especially when new to a place. We ask that you fill out an attendance card and place it in the offering plate, to let us know that you were with us. Greeters will give you a bulletin for parish news and the worship outline, as you enter. Pastor is able to greet most people before the service or as they leave. The Pastor, members, and volunteers at St. Matthew are happy to have you with us, but will not “push” themselves on you.
How easy is it to find my way around St. Matthew?
On Sundays, you will find two main areas to enter the church. From the parking lot that faces Fannin St and from the walkway along Prospect St. Once you are inside, we have signs directing you to where things are happening. We have a wonderful security guard who can direct you if needed.
What are members of St. Matthew like?
St. Matthew is often described like a big family. Much like any family filled with love, we always have space for another family member. You will find all types of people and personalities at St. Matthew, but all of them will be glad you are worshiping with us, and would welcome you whole-heartedly.
What are services like?
Lutheran worship is unlike anything else in this world. It is reverent and respectful, a little “formal” in style, yet joyful! In the course of the service, we truly believe that God comes to us, and gives the gifts of His Word and His Sacrament. We are forgiven, and respond in thanks and praise.
Lutherans, along with Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and others, celebrate the liturgy and receiving Christ’s gifts in the pattern of the traditional liturgy. The words of the service are centuries old — much of it nearly 2,000 years old! The words are taken from Holy Scripture, with much of the text being direct quotations.
For those who are not used to the liturgical pattern of worship, it can be strangely new, but the repetition and patterns are soon familiar. Also, don’t hesitate to ask a “neighbor” in the pew! St. Matthew’s members will be happy to assist you in finding the right page or song in the hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.
Does St. Matthew have “Children’s Church?”
We have a Children’s Message every Sunday where the children are invited up to participate in an interactive message designed just for our youngest members.
Children’s bulletins with biblical pictures and words are given to families as they enter. Quiet bags are also available at the entrance. Also, be sure to take a few moments before the service to discuss with your child the sights and sounds they are experiencing in the church.
The nursery in the church education wing is available or there is a “cry room,” where you may calm your child, or where mothers can nurse at the back of the sanctuary. A speaker is in the room, so you can continue to hear the service live. But once the child’s needs are met, we encourage you to return to the service.
Are visitors welcome to Adult Bible Class and/or Sunday School?
Absolutely! Visitors and members alike are always welcome to attend!
There are coffee and donuts available every Sunday in the Fellowship Hall prior to Sunday School Hour.
Children’s Sunday school is available in the Education Wing and Adults can either meet in the Club Room or the Fellowship Hall for study. Anyone will be happy to direct you if needed.
May I receive Holy Communion?
In the Sacrament of the Altar, we receive not only bread and wine, but the Body and Blood of Christ, given for our forgiveness, life, and salvation. In participating, we are also giving a public witness that we are in full unity with the pulpit and altar in that church. This means not only a unity in the Body of Christ but also a complete harmony in teaching and practice. This has been the authentic practice of the Church since apostolic times.
All members of parishes of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and her sister bodies with whom she shares fellowship are invited to join in the Sacrament. If you have not gone through a Lutheran catechism class we encourage you to speak with Pastor before the service, or simply accept a blessing at the communion rail . To indicate this, simply fold your arms across your heart. While this may sound exclusive or condescending, we assure you it is not in that spirit at all. It is a desire to live in the love and integrity of God’s Word. Pastor would be happy to speak more with you to explain and answer any questions.
How do I become a member of St. Matthew Lutheran?
If you are not a confirmed Lutheran, you join by attending catechesis classes (“adult instruction.”) These sessions engage in studying the Bible, using Luther’s Small Catechism. (The Catechism is a topical summary of the Christian faith, drawn from the Scriptures.) The Pastor is the best person to talk directly to about this.
If you are Lutheran, you can simply join by transferring from a sister LCMS congregation, of by reaffirmation of faith, for those joining us from other Lutheran bodies.
Please contact the church office with any questions about your situation, or for information regarding the next Catechesis schedule.