“What’s your community like?”
Living Word has the complete age range, from pre-schoolers to early retirees. As a congregation our history over the past 30 years has been formed through the establishment of our Lutheran School facilities (Trinity Lutheran College, Ashmore). A majority of our regular attenders have seen their children pass through the college years, with the students now entering University or the workforce. Our worship styles range from the modern informal liturgy all the way to the occasional traditional liturgical for special events. We aim to blend our worship experience with a selection from the best of the popular hymns and modern contemporary songs. Our main focus in worship is keeping it relational and relevant and real: dealing with the issues of life, personal issues, and the celebration of God’s interaction through it all. So we highlight God’s Grace for people living in the world today.
“Do you have a youth or children’s ministry?”
Our youth & children are incorporated into the Sunday worship experience. Our approach is cross-generational and to worship together as a family. In other words, we try not to segrigate into age groups or style preferences, but instead model inclusiveness and sharing the faith across all age groups. We do have an age-appropriate children’s talk & activity time (for junior grades similar to Sunday School). Our ongoing support for parents uses the FAITH@HOME resources to facilitate and encourage faith discussion in the home.
Living Word connects with the ‘FAITH INK‘ resources for our confirmation course (open to students aged 9 or above). A ‘click&play’ YouTube resource created by our Pastor accompanies each topic. This becomes an online interactive faith exploration appropriate for our busy parents and students, facilitating and equipping discussion in the home.
“Do you have special events for Kids?”
At the beginning of the year (our summer school holidays), Living Word runs a Bible adventure time (Vacation Kids Club). It’s a great time to have lots of fun, games, crafts, growing in the Christian faith and making friends. The Queensland District youth department also run children & youth camps during January and again during the mid-year school breaks (June & July). We encourage our students to attend these camps – as it is a fantastic opportunity to make friends, have fun, and learn more about the Christian faith.
“Do you have any small groups I can join?”
A growing number of Living Word members choose to meet in small groups during the week. These take place in various homes – for fellowship, support & study of God’s Word. Many people who have joined a small group share with us that these kind of groups have been brilliant as an opportunity to build on existing friendships as well as to make new ones. The best introduction to a small group experience is provided through the regular men’s group or women’s group (meeting every Wednesday night during term time). In the past we have used the ‘ALPHA‘ material as an introduction – there are plans to offer this course again in 2015.
“What about Baptism at your Church?”
General enquiries about baptisms are to be directed first to the Church Office Administration (Carole on : 5556-8220). From that initial inquiry we can send you an information brochure. For the Lutheran Church the Baptismal Rite is considered a Sacrament (a sacred gift). As such it is conducted during our church services in the understanding of ongoing congregational involvement. Asking for a baptism to be done apart from any faith development and church connection will not be agreeable under our Church policy. Baptism is regarded as our adoption into the family of God and therefore participation in congregational life is the rightful context for baptism. The baptismal service will be scheduled on particular dates throughout the year. Any one of the scheduled dates may be set aside for your baptism. This allows you to plan ahead with invitations extended to family and friends, and to give yourself the time to attend the baptismal instruction classes prior to the baptismal event.
“What about weddings conducted by the Pastor?”
Weddings require at least 4 meetings with the Pastor for pre-marriage sessions. At the first meeting the ‘Notice of Intended Marriage‘ needs to be filled out (no later than 1 month prior to the date). From that time onwards dates are set for the pre-marriage sessions. Couples are required to uphold the Christian faith, since the Lutheran marriage rite will be used. The wedding ceremony can take place at any approved location or venue.
“Can my child have first Communion?”
First communion instruction is open to primary school aged children, but only by parental request. Instructions are based on the history & meaning of Holy Communion, which is then followed up with a special event at one of our worship service acknowledging their first communion at the Lord’s Table. An additional meeting will take place some weeks after their first communion to answer any additional questions. Some home discussion resources will be used during that time to explore what was initially shared during the instruction with the Pastor. Because the Lutheran Church regards Communion as a Sacrament (a sacred gift from God), instruction is based on a previous baptism into the activity of congregational life and the anticipation of participating in future Confirmation.
“Do you have Confirmation / or Adult classes?”
Confirmation, as faith formation, affirmation & exploration, takes place in the home context and is supported by resources developed by Pastor using on line YouTube instruction video clips. These clips facilitate a weekly discussion between the parents and their child, using the FAITH5 journals (Lutheran Catechism). Q&A sessions are given by our Pastor through ongoing emails. Each new book is presented to a group meeting (required attendance) giving the overview and explaining the process. Confirmation runs over two years and covers 3 journals per year (ten subjects under each topic). Each journal deals with a particular topic from Luther’s Catechism, and begins with the topic of Jesus’ life and ministry. Confirmation is open to older primary school students (year level 5 onwards). Young adults (senior school & University student age level), and those new to the Christian faith are invited to attend Pastor’s Classes. These are offered on demand and may run along side new membership orientation or adult baptism instruction.
“How do I become a member?”
There are two ways to think about membership: (1) a general member of the Lutheran Church, meaning that you are baptized at one of the many Lutheran Churches around the world; and (2) a partner in the Gospel expressed in the local congregation. The first one is an institutional affiliation. According to the Australian Statistics we have over 5000 Lutherans located on the Gold Coast. The second is an active membership demonstrated through worship attendance. Our active membership is currently above 250, with a weekly average attendance of around 125 (so about 5% come into the second category). We invite you to become part of the 5%’ers.
Membership at Living Word Lutheran Church begins with regular worship attendance. Congregational involvement is a voluntary activity. No one will ‘check’ why someone has not attended or force you to ‘show up’. If there are health issues, then please keep us informed, so that we can meet some of your spiritual needs. Worship is a free choice and a response to the Gospel message; it is not a duty, a must do, or enforced through guilt or laws.
The Gold Coast is a tourist destination and a very transient location; people come and go for various reasons. If you are have arrived on the Gold Coast and would like to consider Living Word as your spiritual home, then we would like to let you know that you are welcome to come along. We offer ‘New Members Orientation’ throughout the year. Membership is only rescinded through notification at our office (mostly because of transfer to another location) or due to prolonged absence (unaware of your location and involvement).
“When and where is your worship service?”
We would love to see and meet you. Please make yourself known to us when you come to visit. Our Worship Service is held every Sunday at 9am followed with cuppa fellowship. Meeting at the Trinity Centre, 641 Ashmore Road, on the campus grounds of Trinity Lutheran College, Ashmore. [on a few occasions during the year we also celebrate with the Primary School students at the Cotlew Street campus – in the sports hall.] Plenty of car parks and seats available in the auditorium, with ample cakes and coffee to follow the service.