Core Values of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
From “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations” by Robert Schnase
These five core values are rooted in the life and faith of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
- Radical Hospitality
- Passionate Worship
- Intentional Faith Formation
- Risktaking Mission/Service
- Extravagant Generosity
In the book “Radical Hospitality,” Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt emphasize that the human instinct is to be suspicious and fearful of those who are different, especially when we are anxious in our own lives. Radical hospitality, however, calls us to welcome the stranger into our churches, into our homes, and into our hearts. When a lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?,” Jesus responds by telling the story of the Good Samaritan, to let him and all the world know that the neighbor is the person in need (Luke 10:25-37). Radical hospitality is a willingness to become vulnerable for the sake of those in need. At Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, we hold this as our model. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” In that connectedness we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We strive to welcome guests as though they are Christ’s presence in our midst.
Worship is extremely important in our life of faith. Worshiping together connects us with one another. The word” Liturgy” comes from the Greek leitourgia and means the “work of the people.” As Lutheran Christians, we are at work in worship through prayers and music, through preaching and hearing, through moments of silence and times of praise. Through the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine of Holy Communion we are refreshed and nourished, and so empowered to live as the people of God throughout the week. For Lutheran Christians, worship is simply vital to our existence as God’s people.
Intentional Faith Formation
The phrase “God isn’t finished with me yet” applies very well to Lutheran Christians: we are constantly growing and learning in our life and faith. To stop growing and learning would almost be the same as to stop breathing, for we are on a journey through life. If we stop growing and looking for new opportunities for growth, we die. The adventure in this growing and learning is that life is filled with ambiguity and uncertainty. Sometimes we can learn and grow more by asking the right questions than by giving the right answers. Worship, education, fellowship, service, play and simply connecting with one another at Good Shepherd helps us live into the ambiguity and uncertainty of life as loved and embraced people of God, called to love God and the world God created.
Good Shepherd is very much a church that reaches out to the world to bring healing and wholeness. Finding and acting on ways to serve this community and world is key to our identity as a Church. We do not understand ourselves to be a service organization that worships, but a worshiping community that serves in the world, and thereby we are willing to make personal sacrifices of time, talents, and possessions in service to others, locally and globally. Jesus is our guide in this way as he “came not to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).
As with mission and service, generosity also calls for personal sacrifice and commitment. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is a place that nurtures generosity as we reflect on and give thanks for God’s goodness. We know that generous people are grateful people, and grateful people are joyful people, and joyful people are blessed people. At Good Shepherd, we are indeed a blessed people, yet we are blessed not for our own sake, but to be a blessing to the world. Through generous lives we make an impact on this community and the world. Generosity undergirds all that we do.