Our Mission at Lutheran Church of the Atonement is to
LOVE & SERVE WITH JESUS
so that Atonement be a church that loves like Jesus, where:
Growth is expected
(Acts 2:40-47) We are created for relationship with God and other people. Our wounds and history can impede these relationships. God restores us through spiritual growth, which we describe as movement along a “Faith Journey” that marks the deepening significance of Jesus in our lives. This movement is not passive, but is prompted through personal spiritual practices such as Biblical reflection, prayer, and generosity; through engaging core beliefs about God; and through serving others. While no one can grow for us, we can strengthen and encourage one another along the way.
All are welcome
(Mark 10:13-16) Anyone who comes to Atonement, regardless of background or spiritual maturity, will find hospitality, safety to be oneself, and freedom from shaming words or behaviors. We will provide sufficient physical and programmatic space for all ages. Guests of Atonement will be greeted naturally, and their visit noted with appropriate follow-up.
Hurts are healed
(Luke 4:31-41) People suffering from chronic or acute illnesses will find public and private prayer support, which may include physical healing as well as a heightened sense of God’s presence. Those grieving or suffering from mental illnesses and/or emotional pain will find companionship and the life that comes from placing one’s hope in Jesus. Those who are in transition between things that provide identity (job, relationship, environment) will be encouraged, and led to locate their primary identity in Jesus Christ.
Gifts serve others
(1 Corinthians 12) Our primary identity is collective, not individual. God has gifted each of us with abilities and interests that, together, provide what is needed to serve God and one another within and beyond Atonement. God also calls us to activate these spiritual gifts, that they may benefit the church and the world. We will commit ourselves to helping our people connect to appropriate ministries, so that everyone will be able to serve in at least one ministry at or through Atonement, for the sake of the whole church and for the spiritual well-being of each of our people.
Prayer is constant
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-19) We expect that God hears and answers prayer. We pray constantly so as to remain intimately connected with God. Gatherings of people from Atonement, whether spiritual, social, or task-oriented, include prayer. We intercede on behalf of those in need, both close to us and far away. We seek to discern God’s will through prayer, and to embody God’s will in our decision-making. We pray for the faithfulness of all of our leaders.
Worship centers us
(Psalm 150) We praise God as our creator, our savior, and the one through whom we are sustained in faith. In worship, we are transformed by the presence of God, encounters with God, and relationships with one another. Worship forms include the familiar, for the sake of memory, and the very new, to access God’s ongoing creativity. We draw from any resources and media that can authentically communicate God’s presence and word to us. Children are naturally incorporated into worship leadership, and expected to be part of our worshiping community. Anyone worshiping at Atonement for the first time will feel welcome and able to participate as much as they wish.
Resources are shared
(2 Corinthians 8-9) We acknowledge God as the source of all that we have been given, and seek to honor God through the management of our resources. We challenge ourselves to reject the false promises of consumerism, that meaning and satisfaction can be found through things. Rather, we respond to God’s generosity in kind, by sharing generously of what God has given to us, and by teaching our young people to do likewise. We strive to grow in our financial giving to ministries of the church, and to reflect Biblical expectations of upfront, proportionate, and sacrificial giving. We generously support ministries of the larger church beyond Atonement.
(Romans 5:1-8) We claim the promises of Jesus Christ, who has overcome the powers of sin, evil, and death, and invites us to live fully and forever with him. It is safe to acknowledge the hard times in our lives here, because we trust that the future is in God’s hands and that we are part of it. We carry hope to the world around us, working with other churches and agencies to enhance the lives of those who are hurting. We partner with churches and missionaries around the world to bring the ministry of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him. Atonement is a church with a positive spirit, with its energy directed toward who and what God would yet have us be.
Reconciliation is practiced
(Matthew 18:15) We discern between sin and difference of opinion or disagreement. In our relationships with each other, we hold ourselves and one another to the high standard of God’s forgiveness of us. Reconciliation is mutual; it involves openness and honesty, forgiveness offered and forgiveness received. We speak respectfully to and about one another, especially when in disagreement, to reduce the distance we must traverse toward restored relationship. We seek to be agents of reconciliation beyond Atonement, for the good of the church and the world.
Our Values at Atonement
Our core values energize our mission and vision. These are so integrally a part of who God is forming us to be that it would not be possible to realize our mission and vision without also living these values in everything we say and do.
(Acts 2:38) At the heart of our values is God’s move toward us in and through Jesus. By his life, death, and resurrection, God has demonstrated his love for us. Grace is being loved precisely at the moment we least deserve it (see Romans 5:8). As followers of Jesus, we also are committed to embodying and living in grace toward others.
(Hebrews 11:1) The Holy Spirit works within us to respond to God’s grace by trusting Him. Sometimes this trust is whole-hearted; at other times, it is constrained by doubts and difficulties. Yet faith even in small measure helps bring the power of God to the world (see Luke 17:5-6).
(Philippians 1:3-5) By God’s initiative, we have been given life now and forever. When we feel the fullness of this gift, we thank God. We also take nothing for granted in our interactions with each other, and freely offer thanks to one another.
(Philippians 2:5-8) Jesus defines humility. As God with us, he empties himself, that he may embrace humanity. As love personified, he gives his life rather than live without us. As Jesus’ presence in the world, Atonement and its members express humility in our relationships with one another and in the wider world.
(Acts 4:1-4, 18-22) Just as nothing stands between Jesus and his love for us, nothing may legitimately stand in the way of our telling others about him, of our ministering in his name, of our taking chances for the sake of the kingdom of God.
(Acts 5:40-42) As God’s forgiven people, we are free to tell the truth about ourselves, even when the truth is not what we’d like it to be. At the same time, integrity drives us to be who God calls us to be and who we profess to be, even when, or especially when, it is costly or inconvenient.
(Acts 2:45) We want to be generous. God’s generosity sparks shifts in our own lives from “what do I have” to “what is needed,” from “how much do I give” to “how much do I keep,” from “what should I do” to “how can I help?”
(Acts 2:44-47) The ultimate expression of community is God, in the three persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We, too, are inextricably bound to one another through Jesus Christ. Our celebrations are greater, and our losses less burdensome, for sharing them together. “What will serve the whole?” takes priority over “what do I want?”
(Philippians 4:4-7) We gather around the greatest news the world has ever known, that Jesus Christ has defeated the powers of sin, evil, and death, and invited us into eternal relationship with Him. What then is to keep us from being the most visibly joy-filled and celebratory people around?