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Our Redeemer's

Lutheran Church

Small Churches

I read a lot of interesting articles, primarily because I belong to some very interesting online groups. On July 6, of this year, an article was published by Karl Vaters entitled, “8 Experiences Every First-Time Guest Should Have in a Small Church.” I found it to be especially interesting not just because I serve in a small congregation, but also because when we were on vacation in June, we attended a small congregation for the first time, so that experience is fresh in my mind.

In the article, he talked about the fact that with big churches, you pretty much know what you will find when you visit: age-appropriate children’s ministries, professional-quality bulletins and brochures, and high-end paid musicians. He compared it to eating in a national-chain restaurant. You know what to expect. However, small churches vary much more widely. It’s more like checking out the local diner in a small town: you don’t know what you will get, but you take the risk because you are hoping for something you can’t find anywhere else.

Here are the eight experiences according to Karl Vaters that every guest should be able to expect when visiting any healthy small church:

1. Genuine, intentional friendliness = Most people think their church is friendly because that’s where their friends are. However, friendliness is not automatic. We must be intentional about seeing people that we do not recognize, genuinely greeting them, and welcoming them into our midst.

2. Meeting the pastor = A simple greeting and handshake with newcomers before or after the worship service goes much further in welcoming visitors than preaching the best sermon ever. However, the pastor may not know who is visiting so it is helpful for church members to take the visitors to the pastor.

3. Sincere and passionate worship and prayer = A congregation does not have to have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or a fantastic pipe organ, but worship can still be passionate and sincere. Real worship is about turning our hearts toward Jesus in praise and prayer.

4. A building that looks like it’s cared for = Again, the building does not need to look like a European cathedral, but it needs to be clean and kept up. That does mean budgeting for long-term maintenance. But the almost-free things like cutting the grass, tending the flowers, cleaning the restrooms, and painting the building show great care and concern.

5. Accurate, up-to-date ministry information = Whether it’s the Sunday bulletin, a website, or a Facebook page, the information must be accurate and up to date. It would be better to have nothing than to have inaccurate or out-of-date information.

6. Obvious signage = Once people have found us, they need to know where everything is (especially the sanctuary, coffee, bathrooms, and classrooms). Signage doesn’t need to be expensive, but people need to be able to find the basics.

7. A clear practical presentation of the Gospel = We should never be sloppy, boring, or inaccurate with our presentation of the Good News. Nothing else matters if the Bible is not honored, taught, preached, and lived in the simplest and clearest way possible.

8. Opportunities to serve inside and outside the church = Look at your bulletin and newsletter. Listen to announcements. People want to participate in the ministry of the congregation. If churches only offer internal opportunities, people will turn away.

Pastor Beth



About Us

We are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). The church was founded in 1895 by Danish immigrants. All are welcomed to worship and commune with us. Music is an important part of our worship service. We are a very rural congregation and are celebrating our 125 year anniversary this year, 2021.


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11005 Country Rd M,
Suring, Wisconsin 54174

Pastor Beth Macha
Church Office Phone: 920-842-2039

Secretary - Christy Firgens
Office Hours: 7:30am - 12:30pm
every Tuesday & Wednesday
Phone: 920-842-2039

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