God’s Work, Our Hands for us means,
transforming human life into Christlikeness through practicing Christian community.
The people of First Lutheran Church practice life together with God toward increasing loving engagement for the sake of others in the Lodi Area School District, South-Central Synod of WI, and globally.
Historically, First Lutheran Church, Lodi, WI, was forged in 1878 through the merger of two congregations with Norwegian immigrant roots extending back to 1845.
WHO IS FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH TODAY?
…so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another (Romans 12:5). And, the Spirit of God is conforming us to the image of Christ in our life together for the sake of the world (Romans 8:29a).
We are formed as a people in community with Christ at its center by God’s covenant with us. (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20) The basic rule of life in this covenant community above all else is to love each other as Christ has loved us. (John 13:34, 15:12) This Christ-like love extends beyond us as God gives us opportunity to actively love our neighbor, especially our enemy, in the world. (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27)
Many of us, maybe like you, are acutely aware that the world in which we live is confronted with complex problems and vexing questions that do not lend themselves to easy fixes or solutions. Gratefully, people who constitute the membership of local congregations throughout the world are addressing and working on many of the challenges and questions confronting us today. Meaning, the Church via its members’ vocations in the world is engaged in serving the good of the world.
First Lutheran Church has folks in various callings attending to the good of the world and our city. However, as a congregation whose essence is formed by the work of God through Christ, we prayerfully imagine the specific and particular contribution God is making through us – collectively as a community. That leads us to grapple with the following question,
What does it mean to be a local practicing Christian community today?
We take the discipline of discernment seriously but not without some humility and prayerful playfulness. We are far from the ideal community we project ourselves to be or are becoming. Thankfully, Christ is at the center of our life together, and discernment begins with God, as well as understanding the particularity and meaning of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah for the world. Because of this, we often ask God, What do you hope for us and your creation? Our prayer is similar, “Dear Jesus, make us the church you wish to see in the world. Amen.”
You are invited to prayerfully consider this community journey with Christ at the center.
WHAT IF I AM NOT A LUTHERAN?
For starters, Martin Luther was not a Lutheran. While our denomination may have particular core theological convictions that help us understand the meaning of Jesus and the Gospel (good news) for today, and therefore, cast an image of Jesus in a manner reflecting our commitments, we are a diverse group of folks.
So, whether your faith in Christ has a Lutheran slant or a blend of several influences, or you are just exploring the Christian tradition for the first time, or maybe have serious questions and doubts about God – you are in good company with members and friends of First Lutheran. Literally, First Lutheran is made up of:
- dyed-in-the-wool Lutherans (Scandinavian and German ancestry), some of whom listen to Garrison Keillor’s yarns of Lake Wobegon as regularly as they worship on Sunday,
- those whose faith was formed in a different Christian denomination or had no formal connection to the church until adulthood through marriage,
- people who love traditional liturgy and organ music, or jazz, or bluegrass and others who’d rather listen to Florence and the Machine or Adele, or all of the above, j
- enthusiastic newcomers and newly converted Christians,
- people who are needing a rest from over-functioning and are close to burnout,
- others who are earnestly exploring God and spiritual matters,
- folks who are wrestling with serious doubts about God,
- spiritual muddlers and skeptics,
- those visibly broken and those working hard to maintain a certain image in public,
- the politically right-leaning and left-leaning sitting in the same pew,
- the open-minded and genuinely engaged learners of the Jesus way,
- those who are positively nostalgic about their early Church experience and those who are trying to escape it, maybe even because they were seriously hurt by it,
- and, of course, everyone else in between.
Even with such varied experience and faith expression, our collective focus is following Jesus as Lord of our lives and the world. Our vision is to be the church not only in a building for weekly worship but everyday, everywhere and with everyone – loving God, loving and serving our neighbor and growing apprentices of Jesus.
Blessings on your journey!