The church is not wood and stone but the assembly of people who believe in Christ. With this church one should be connected and see how the people believe, live, and teach. They certainly have Christ in their midst, for outside the Christian church there is no truth, no Christ, no salvation. – Martin Luther (LW 52:39-40)
Grace Lutheran Church of Dodge Center has three classes of congregational membership: baptized, communicant, and voting members. Every member of our congregation has been baptized, as the Scriptures and the Church clearly teach that a person becomes a member of Christ's Body, the one holy Christian and apostolic Church, through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. After a baptized member is instructed and then approved by the voting members of the congregation, they become a communicant member who is able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Once a communicant member is 18 years old, they are eligible to become a voting member who regularly attends the meetings of the Voters' Assembly and participates in the work of the congregation.
Every confirmed member is expected to understand the "Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine" (Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Office of the Keys and Confession, and Sacrament of the Altar). The main method for learning about these key doctrines of the Church is through a study of the Catechism. Teaching of the Six Chief Parts is provided to youth and adults by a variety of arrangements. Following long-standing tradition, youth who wish to be confirmed must complete a program of studying Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation under instruction of the Pastor. Adult instruction is given through a series of classes or pastoral meetings which supplement a personal study of the Catechism.
Since justifying faith is not to be reduced to historical knowledge but rather is a living faith that "believes in the promise" and puts to death the works of the flesh through the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit (Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Article IV), it is expected that members will continue to attend worship regularly and not neglect God's Word but will hold it sacred and receive the Means of Grace that God provides through the Word and Sacraments.
"We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Eph 4:15).
Individuals may be received as members of the congregation through Baptism, a transfer of membership from a sister congregation of the Missouri Synod, or through a profession of faith. Instruction in the faith and the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is provided to those who wish to join the congregation from another church body not in altar and pulpit fellowship with the Missouri Synod. You may inquire into membership at any time by contacting the pastor. He is also available for informal discussions with anyone unsure about what they believe, with no obligation to join the church or previous commitment in mind.