Attending Church

I’m thinking about going to church. What can I expect?

A congregation is a community of faith that gathers for worship, fellowship, learning and service. It’s a place to find connection with others as you experience and share God’s love and grace together. Congregations have many ways to welcome new people who are interested in participating in the life of the community.

Worship styles and languages vary widely across the ELCA’s nearly 9,000 congregations. Some congregations worship in storefronts or parks, while others gather in historic church buildings. Some have contemporary music and a praise band, while others have an organ and a choir. Some have both!

Within that diversity, there are common elements of worship. Those elements include gathering words and music, sharing the word of God through Bible readings and a sermon, receiving Holy Communion, and delivering a sending blessing. To learn more about what a worship service is like at a congregation near you, contact the church leadership or try a visit. Here are some questions you can ask before visiting a congregation for the first time: [Link to new document]

People who identify as Lutherans are those who actively practice their faith in the Lutheran tradition or who have joined a Lutheran congregation through membership. Becoming a member is a way of expressing one’s long-term commitment to the life and work of the church. It also expresses a commitment of resources to sustain the work of the congregation as well as the national and global church.

All types of people and families are welcome — seriously! The ELCA teaches that it doesn’t matter what your experience with religion has been or what kind of doubts or questions you might have about faith. You are welcome as you are.

Many ethnicities and cultures are represented in the ELCA. Together we strive to be a church that celebrates diversity and that welcomes all people as they are. Come as you are to worship, learn, serve and grow in faith with others.