In Lutheran Churches, the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the responsibility of every member. Dr. Martin Luther called this “the priesthood of all believers.” For the sake of good order in the church, congregations call or appoint Pastors and others to administer the Gospel on behalf of the congregation. This ministry of preaching, teaching, and sharing the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are known as the “means of grace.”
In our archives there is an old black and white Palm Sunday photo that depicts the original Bible passage over Minnekirken’s pulpit. Over the years all but first three words have been painted over—“Gud er kjærlighet”—God is love. Those three words remain to this day, still proclaiming what it means to be the people of God. As the “priesthood of all believers,” authentic Christians cling to Christ by faith and continue to live out His love for the world. This being said, the painted over part of this passage, taken from 1 John 4:16, is important too: “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
So as to strengthen this abiding faith in us, our Pastor, as an ordained minister of the Gospel, is charged with several essential duties:
1) Holy Baptism—Christian parents of infants and children; youth and adults who desire to be followers of Christ; and others are urged to be baptized according to the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 and the instructions of the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:37-39. If you would like to learn more about baptism for you or your children, do let our Pastor know. Request the Baptism Information Form and give it to the Pastor or parish administrator. Our Pastor will get in contact with you about next steps.
2) Preparation for Receiving Communion and Making Confirmation—Children around the age of 2nd Grade and those in their Middle School years are invited to take two important steps in their faith journey at Minnekirken: Communion and Confirmation. If you think you child is ready to be instructed for their first reception of Holy Communion, please request, read, and submit the “Is My Child Ready to Receive Holy Communion” article and submit the attached form to the Pastor or parish administrator. Likewise, when you feel that your child is ready to make their personal affirmation of the Christian faith into which they were baptized, please request and submit the Application for Membership form to get the Confirmation process started. Confirmation is preceded by a series of classes, retreats, and/or events that are scheduled by the Pastor.
3) Holy Communion—Holy Communion at Minnekirken is open to all. That being said, the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism both speak to what it means to be a “worthy” communicant. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-34, the Apostle Paul outlines several essential aspects of this worthiness:
Here Paul asserts the doctrine of the “real presence,” namely that Christ Himself is “in, with, and under” the bread and wine—as Luther taught—personally sealing by this meal God’s covenant of grace with us. We not only remember Jesus in Holy Communion, we receive the benefits of the cross – the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation – perpetually, until Jesus comes again.
If you so believe and desire to commune with Christ and fellow Christians at Minnekirken, you are “Velkommen!” If you have any questions, concerns, or burdens on your heart that might make you hesitant to receive God’s grace in Holy Communion, we urge you to talk to our Pastor.
4) Church Membership—Minnekirken is honored to have many supporters and officially recognized “friends of the congregation” that are not confirmed or voting members. Our Norwegian roots have cast a broad tent over people near and far who love and care for this congregation. Some are members of other churches and denominations, some are not Christians at all. The ongoing work of our church, however, is the task of our Church Council and Voters Assembly, and one must be a member of Minnekirken to be able to serve in these capacities.
All confirmed members of the congregation may petition to become voting members at the age of 18. Non-members who have been confirmed at other Lutheran congregations may become members through a simple process called “affirmation of faith.” Potential members who were confirmed in other denominations or who were never confirmed should petition our Pastor for instruction. Please feel free to contact him about this. Downloading and submitting the Application for Membership form is one way to do this. Pastor regularly schedules “Lunch & Learns” as an initial orientation to Minnekirken’s membership process. After learning about our community, its beliefs, and its practices, all who desire to fellowship with us are welcome to become members.
5) Christian Marriage—many people want to be married at Minnekirken, given our landmark status, our storybook sanctuary, and our proximity to venues such as Logan Square Auditorium. But we do not consider ourselves to be a wedding chapel. We believe there is a profound difference between a “church wedding” and a Christian marriage. For this reason, we authorize our Pastor to only perform weddings for members, those desiring to become members, or those who are in agreement with our stated beliefs and practices. All inquiries should be submitted for approval by the Pastor and Church Council.
6) Soul Care and Pastoral Counseling—Soul Care and Pastoral Counseling—Currently our resident Pastor is serving on a part-time basis. Pastor Schoenknecht has a limited capacity, but is nevertheless willing to serve members, friends of Minnekirken, and others in spiritual crises. Call the church to schedule opportunities to speak with our Pastor or one of our deacons. Contact us here to request prayer and ministry.
7) Christian Burial—Christian Burial—Members and recognized friends of Minnekirken are urged to connect with us for ministry during time of loss. We strive to support the family and friends of all who die in Christ [2 Timothy 2:11]. All inquiries should be submitted for approval by the Pastor and Church Council.