7. What do I do to become a part of Zion?
The first thing you do is…come! Zion is a family that is always welcoming those who would like to worship with us, serve with us, and grow with us. We welcome each person and look forward to getting to know you. While you’re getting familiar with Zion, you are more than welcome to get involved where and when you are comfortable!
There might come a time when you would want to become a member of the congregation. Zion hosts a Christian Basics class at least once a year. This is a 6 week opportunity for existing members and those who are looking at becoming members to ask questions, dig into the Bible, and get to know one another and the pastor. At the end of the class, if you would like to publicly join Zion, you are welcome to do so.
8. Why would I become a member of Zion?
By becoming a member of Zion you are becoming a member of an extended family that cares for one another, has fun together, and grows together in faith. And like any family, being a member comes with benefits and responsibilities. When you become a member of Zion, you are confessing publicly that you are a Christian who wants to walk and grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ with us here at Zion, helping to strengthen the impact Zion has on people’s lives through your unique gifts and abilities, your time, and your financial support. You also have the opportunity to shape the direction of the ministry by voting on issues that are critical to the mission of the church. Members are also able to lead specific ministries within the congregation, utilizing their God-given talents to enhance and expand the overall ministry of the church.
But the best reason of all to be a member is because you are sharing with everyone that you are a part of a greater family, the family of God through Christ Jesus.
9. Can non-members receive communion?
As a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Zion practices what is called “close communion.” Close communion is the practice of sharing the Lord’s Supper with those who have similar beliefs about the God, the church, and the Lord’s Supper itself. The idea is that we are close to one another in belief and close in faith so we are brought close by the Body and Blood of Jesus which is offered in communion.
We would love for everyone that comes to the communion to be a member of an LCMS congregation, but we also recognize that what brings us close in communion is the promise given to us by God the Father through the body and blood of Jesus, namely, the promise of forgiveness, strengthening of our faith, and eternal life. We take these promises and the gift offered at Communion very seriously as they are given directly from Jesus to us.
Due to the seriousness of the gift and the meal, we urge everyone to follow Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28) These words come with a strong warning to everyone who comes to the Lord’s Table. “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:29)
Therefore, we ask anyone who is not a member of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation to answer the following questions. These questions are taken from the questions that were asked by Martin Luther as he went and visited people he didn’t know personally in his area before he communed them.
- Are you a baptized Christian?
- Do you believe that you have sinned, both known and unknown to you, acting contrary to God’s will for your life?
- Do you believe that God’s forgiveness in Jesus is for you?
- Do you believe that God’s full forgiveness for all of your sins is given through the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which is here at the Lord’s Table in and with the bread and wine?
- Do you desire to follow God’s Word and will in your life through His grace in Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit?
Those who are able to answer “yes” to these questions and who would like to publicly show that they are in agreement with our congregation are welcomed to come to the Lord’s Table.
Those who are not able to answer “yes” or who still might have further questions are asked to refrain from coming until they have had the opportunity to talk with the pastor.