We believe our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the mission to go, make, baptize, and teach disciples for him. (Matthew 28:19-20) Trusting the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions, we are a congregation of disciples affiliated with both LCMC and NALC. With Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as our cornerstone, we honor our heritage and pass on our faith through this congregation of disciples being built one upon another as living stones. To this end we understand that:
- Jesus CALLS us to be his disciples in the preaching of His Word.
- Jesus PREPARES us for mission through the study of His Word.
- Jesus SENDS us out with His Word to go, make, baptize, and teach disciples.
Worship focuses on inviting people to act on Jesus’ call to become disciples. This happens primarily through the preaching of the word, the message of the liturgy, and the words of the hymns and songs used in worship. At Heritage it is the starting place for the discipleship process. Worship is where we invite new members and new believers to come and meet Jesus. It is the primary way the community makes public witness to its faith.
Worship at Heritage is anchored in the Word of God by using liturgies, which are shaped from Scripture. Worship consistently includes the components of the public confession and forgiveness, the preached word, the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Lord’s Supper. It draws deeply on the heritage of Christian Hymns for worship music along with an appropriate mix of classical and contemporary sacred music and worship songs.
The three ministries of the congregation, Children, Youth, and Adult, are aligned through a single Sunday Worship program. In order to avoid separate worship programs for different ages, developmentally appropriate elements are a regular part of the worship practice and liturgy. For instance Children’s sermons are a component designed to better meet the needs of children to hear the preached word. The challenge to facilitate Jesus’ call to children and youth to follow will be an ongoing concern for worship development and liturgical design.
Sunday School (Prepares Children)
Sunday School is designed to provide the “Preparation” aspect of the discipleship process for children, preschool through 6th grade. The Sunday morning portion of this program is supported and taught by the Sunday School Service Team. A Vacation Bible School service team supports and teaches a summer time intensive for this program. Its primary purpose is to build biblical knowledge, especially a working knowledge of the main Biblical stories and the fundamental life lessons taught by them. Children are also given initial preparation in the catechism with special emphasis on Communion in the fifth grade year in preparation for first communion. This program also provides materials and methods for family devotional life and Christian memory work.
Confirmation/Youth Group/Wings (Prepares Youth)
The Confirmation/Youth Group/Wings program provides the “Preparation” aspect of the discipleship process for youth 7th – young adults. The program integrates curriculum and Bible study between a Sunday School session and a Midweek youth night. The chief curricular method is Bible Study with the following structure:
- 7th – 8th Grade – Bible overview & Catechism
- 9th – 12th Grades – Bible Study about Life Preparation and Discipleship
- Young Adult – Bible Study with a meal once a month
Confirmation is individualized with youth making public affirmation of their faith during Sunday Worship after their 8th grade year. Readiness for confirmation is determined by the young person’s consultation with pastors, parents, and the youth service team.
Bible Study (Prepares Adults)
The Bible Study program provides the “Preparation” aspect of the adult ministry. The heart of this program is the Sunday morning Bible study taught by a Pastor. This class will use a variety of approaches to Scripture including, topical studies, biblical theology, Biblical history, and book-by-book studies. The adult bible study curriculum is also used to create synergy with Sunday morning worship and small group bible study.
Small group bible studies meet a various times and places throughout the week. They may use the Sunday morning curriculum as a way to extend consideration of Key Themes being studied by the congregation. Or they may select curriculum of their own for study. Small groups occasionally do service projects that introduce their members to the “sends” stage of the discipleship process.
Bridges Small Groups (Prepare to Send Adults)
The Bridges program is designed to explore spiritual gifts, access personal resources for service, and learn methodology for Christian outreach. It provides an environment for mutual support for those seeking to use God given gifts in Christian service and mission.
- Bridges leaders are prepared and supported by Pastors.
- “Bridges Discipleship Study” is the startup curriculum and is designed for a six to eight session commitment by small group participants.
- The Discipleship Study will challenge Bridges groups to discover, explore, and develop God’s gifts to each of them and how these gifts may be employed in mission and ministry.
- The Discipleship Study will encourage Bridges members create discipleship plans that make use of God’s gifts to Go, Make, Baptize, and Teach.
- During the Discipleship Study group members will be connected to the work and mission of the congregation.
- Bridges groups may decide to engage in a service project as a part of their Discipleship Study.
- Bridges small groups may decide to extend their small group beyond the initial Discipleship Study. Additional study resources will be provided or the group may select its own course of study.
Children’s Service Projects (Sends Children)
Multiple times a year the Sunday School Team and The VBS Team plan service projects that involve the congregation’s children in service work.
Youth Service Projects (Sends Youth)
Multiple times a year the Youth Ministry Team plans service projects that involve the congregation’s youth in service work. They may also plan a summer service/work outing for youth.
Service Teams (Sends Adults)
Service Teams constitute the “Sends” aspect of the discipleship process. This program is designed to engender the formation, support, and fulfillment of the service team’s work for the sake of disciples sent by Jesus into mission. Service teams generally follow these patterns:
- Service teams normally have specific assignments, goals, time frames, evaluation, and ending processes.
- Service teams normally select a person to act as the “Convener” who serves the team by coordinating meetings and activities. This convener also connects the team to the Congregation’s leadership by relating to a particular council member and attending the monthly Council and Convener’s meeting.
- Some teams are formed on a single occasion to accomplish a single purpose.
- Some teams are formed by regular signup activities such as the weekly worship servants’ team.