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What we believe

As Christ's Holy People
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Valparaiso, Indiana

A Statement of Faith, Confession, and Action 

God has called us by the Gospel to be his people,

In the water of baptism we have been united with Christ. In that washing we are baptized into Christ's death, in order that our sins may die with him; we are promised that his Father will one day raise us to new life as Christ has been raised; and, empowered by the Spirit sent by Christ to dwell within us, we are called to follow him daily in lives of faithful obedience.  

Remembering our baptism, each of us can be assured day by day that the God who from eternity Jesus knows as Father has now become our Father by adoption--and that he wants us to know, love, and trust him above all else. It belongs to our honor and freedom as as his holy people to enjoy and use his gifts in a spirit of wonder and praise, to work with him in everything we do, to endure sufferings with patient hope, and to love others as we have been loved in Christ.

The family of God that is the Church

Baptized in the name of the Triune God, we are members of Christ's Body and are gathered into the one family of God with all others who share that baptism. In this family, the Church, our lives are joined also with past generations of Christ's people, as together we listen to the Word of God. All of us have been nourished and instructed by the Holy Scriptures, which tell of God's work in his people Israel and in Jesus the Messiah--the story of God's love for the world. We have been nourished and instructed also by the Church's ancient creeds--Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian--as well as Luther's Small Catechism and the other Lutheran Confessions. These guide and focus our own efforts to tell of God's mercy, enacted in Jesus as the hope and life of the world.

Specifically in Immanuel Lutheran congregation

For now God has brought us into the congregation of believers we call Immanuel. Here we seek together to live out our calling to be the Body of Christ. As far as possible we would like to know others and be known by them, so that we may enjoy one another's gifts and grow together in the love, caring, and forgiveness of Christ. If we move away, we will ask that our membership be transferred to another congregation, so that there we may continue to fulfill this high calling.

Rejoicing that despite our sins and frailties, God cleanses us in baptism and invites us to be servants as he has been a servant in his Son, we give thanks for the congregation in which we live out our faithful obedience, and we seek to share Christ's Spirit and calling with Christians in other churches near and far. With them we want a dark and scattered world to be drawn together into the light of his love.

Here we are drawn into regular worship with our fellow saints

On the first day of the week the Holy Spirit inhales, as it were, drawing us into our gathering place. There God enriches us again with the Word that reaffirms our baptism. Through eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus, we are gathered under the cross where our sins are hidden. If we become proud, the judgment of that cross humbles us. If we feel worthless or ashamed, the promise of that cross lifts us up. In worship the Holy Spirit binds us together, so that our varied gifts may celebrate one vision of hope and joy. We offer God our store of thanksgiving and praise, sin and weakness, worry and suffering. We pray for one another and for our world, encourage each other with God's promises, and build one another up in trust and courage as we seek to follow Jesus. Together we learn to bring this spirit of worship into our personal and family life through daily thanksgiving, prayer, and study of God's Word.

From worship we go out to serve God in the world

Having gathered us for worship, the Spirit of Christ then exhales, sending God's people back into the world of daily work. We aim now to see all of life as service to God. We welcome opportunities to play our part in God's creative work, that the world may be blessed by our labor, even as God continues to bless us. Moved by the Spirit of Christ, we do not rest content with the work given us. We also seek to learn to notice and respond in love to the need of any neighbor. As God gives us opportunity, we strive to relieve the suffering, feed the hungry, console the grieving, honor the lowly, and rejoice with the joyful. We pray for the vision and courage that will enable us to take the first step toward breaking down any wall that divides us from others; for the Gospel of God's love in Christ invites and enables a hurt and divided humanity to become one in his grace and peace.

And to share the Word of life

God's "bread of life" does not stop when we are fed, but it grows in us and multiplies like the loaves in Jesus' hands. In this way Christ's Spirit readies us for moments when we may speak to others--both within and outside our congregation--of the hope and freedom given us in the crucified and risen Jesus. This Word of God, which we are privileged to speak, has power to silence the tormenting voices that drive people into depths of guilt and anger, futility and worthlessness, loneliness and despair. It can also expose our illusions when we forget our own failings, and it can free us from such pride. Thus the commission our Lord gave to the Church becomes our mission in this time and place--to be a sign of God's love and peace, and to bring God's promised mercy to every creature.

We serve God also in the work of this congregation

Immanuel congregation, like any other, derives its character from Christ, who is the Church's head. As members of Christ's Body, we follow him and want to be steadfast in our discipleship.

Because our congregation is not only Christ's Body but also an institution within the world, it necessarily takes the form of a human organization. In accordance with Christ's will, we call pastors to lead and feed us in worship and in our care for one another. We seek ways to rear our children as followers of Jesus, and we strive to continue our own learning throughout life. We seek opportunities to serve. We own, use, and maintain properties. We join with sister congregations in training pastors and teachers, sending out missionaries, and supporting agencies that serve special needs.

As partners in such work, we welcome opportunities to contribute our time and abilities. We seek to grow also in the art of joyful and generous giving, imitating and passing on the overflowing generosity of Our Father toward us. At the same time, we keep watch lest our congregation should use its institutional power wrongly, as earthly power untouched by the love and mercy of God. We pray that our congregation may be faithful to all that the Church as Christ's Body is called to be and to do.

And in the structures of our society

The world in which we live, work, and serve is--despite all its sin--still God's world. Therefore we delight in and give thanks for the many arenas in which God sets us: family, workplace, government, schools, business, medicine, research, technology, social agencies, communications, art, sports, entertainment, and the like. We accept also, as a necessary and divine blessing, the demands and restraints of law, which requires us to pursue not only our own advantage but also the wellbeing of others.

Because self-interest marks all of us, and because human wisdom is limited, we know that some in authority will abuse their power and that solutions to problems will sometimes create new problems. Nevertheless, Our Father calls us to rely upon his grace and, if need be, to suffer injustices in hope and love, as Jesus did, rather than to inflict them on others.

We aim to be good citizens, therefore, by offering our talents, energy, and wisdom for sustaining government, correcting abuses, enacting effective laws, and improving our institutions. As far as possible we want people of every nation to enjoy not only survival and bodily comfort but also gifts such as honor, justice, opportunity, stability, freedom, and peace.

Since God is witness to all that we desire and promise, we pray him to help us, Christ's holy people in Immanuel Lutheran Church, to carry out these intentions to his glory and for our own joy.


Vision Statement (Who we are)

The people of Immanuel Lutheran Church are a manifestation of the body of the crucified and risen Christ, rooted in Word, Baptism, and Holy Communion, shaped by our Lutheran heritage, and sent to welcome people to join us in following Christ.


Mission Statement (What we do)

The people of Immanuel Lutheran Church are called to dynamic, faithful WORSHIP, intentional, ever-deepening faith FORMATION, bold evangelistic SERVICE, heart-felt HOSPITALITY, and abundant GENEROSITY. 

First adopted on May 25, 1971, and readopted with some revision in 1975, 1980, 1985,
1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005.
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