Pastoral Care

Contact Pastor Otto for pastoral care at otto@gracefaithlove.org or call 816-524-7068.

Worship - This is God's highest and best way to care for His people.  Worship is described as a "Divine Service" because God serves us as we gather in His name to hear His Word.  As a mother prepares a variety of foods for a healthy family meal, the pastor prepares a balanced message through the order of service, hymns, readings, children's message, sermon, and devotional thoughts in the bulletin.  Worship is never virtual!  In worship we gather together to pray before God's altar, to sing with and pray with the body of believers in Jesus' name.  As Jesus resurrection was in a physical body, so we gather together physically as one Body of Christ to be the people of God in worship and mission.

Spiritual Care - Members of the congregation are under the spiritual care of the pastor, who is called by the congregation's Voter's Assembly to shepherd the flock that belongs to Christ.  He prays for them, speaks the truth of God's Word to them, and leads the congregation to find refuge and forgiveness in Christ.  He is to teach the Holy Scriptures to all ages, from children to adults, in the hope of strengthening faith so that God's people remain true to Jesus Christ, believe in Him for eternal salvation, and live as active disciples.  His calling is to encourage, support and forgive those who are repentant, and to correct and admonish those who sin against God and others, so that restoration and reconciliation may occur.  (See St. Paul's Epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy)

Confession & Absolution - God's people bear an important message: He is merciful and wants to forgive sinners!  We are called to confess our sins daily, to believe that for Christ's sake we are forgiven, to repent of our sinful behavior and live in holiness before God.  Christians may forgive one another in Jesus' name, and for good order the pastor announces forgiveness to the congregation during worship.  (See John 20:21-23, 2 Corinthians 5)

Hospital Visitation - Pastors visit those who are ill, preparing for or recovering from surgery, and are often part of the family's support when sudden medical emergencies occur. 

Homebound Care - Pastors are entrusted with soul care, and especially encouraging those who have become homebound due to age or disability.  They bring the Lord's Supper, devotions and prayer to them so the church family stays knit together in hearing the voice of our Savior.  Elders of the church are sometimes part of the support and encouragement for those who cannot attend worship.

Official Acts - Pastors are called through the congregation to properly administer God's Word and the Sacraments that Jesus instituted.  Therefore he prepares each individual, couple, and family with appropriate Law and Gospel as they receive God's blessings.

  • Holy Baptism - Jesus commanded Baptism as the entrance into the Kingdom of God, whereby the individual receives the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit.¬† Jesus blessed infants also, and announced that man can be born again "by water and the spirit," and so we offer baptism to all ages, from infant to adult.
  • Holy Communion - Jesus commanded his disciples to eat and drink the bread (His Body) and wine (His Blood) in remembrance of Him until He comes again.¬† It is a true eating of His Body, and a true drinking of His Blood of the Covenant, which He said is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.¬† Because Holy Communion is a confession of faith, including all that we believe about the teachings of Christ through¬†Scripture, it is a meal in which we commune with God and with others who share that confession.¬† We therefore commune those who have been instructed and have publicly affirmed these teachings, and we peacefully request that visitors refrain from communing at our altar until¬†these conversations can take place.¬† It is truly an act of love and care¬†on the part of the congregation, for the person¬†"who eats and drinks without discerning the¬†body eats and drinks judgment¬†on himself," (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
  • Holy Marriage - We believe, teach and confess that God instituted Holy Marriage in the Garden of Eden when he created woman from man, that he may not be alone and may become one flesh with his wife.¬† We believe marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, for the purpose of knowing the Lord--man is one flesh with woman, as Christ is one flesh with all believers (His Church); see Ephesians, chapter 5.¬† Through the family God has established the place to listen to His Word, worship God, live a forgiving¬†and¬†sanctified life, and to evangelize family and neighbors that they too may know Christ and eternal life.
  • Funerals, Memorials & Committals - As Christ cared for the body of Peter's mother-in-law, and of the widow's son from Nain, and of Lazarus from Bethany, so Christ still cares for the bodies of the living and departed today.¬† It is fitting that those whom Jesus has called into ministry will pray for, respect, and accompany the body to its resting place where it awaits the glorious day when Christ returns.¬† On the Day of Christ's Return, all flesh will rise and be joined again to its departed spirit.¬† Therefore the resurrection of the body is our hope, as Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.¬† Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die," (John 11:25-26).

Membership - Becoming a member is an act of sharing your life with Christ, and with others in the Body of Christ.  We go through instruction together, learn about one another, and promise to pray for and support one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.  One can become a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in the following ways:

  • Baptized & Confirmed - Children are often baptized first, then profess their faith at Confirmation.
  • For Adults - Adults are typically instructed first, then baptized at the same time as their Adult Confirmation.
  • Adult Confirmation - Adults are invited to spend 10 to 12 weeks preparing for membership by becoming acquainted with¬†the Bible's teachings, especially regarding the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and life within the Church.
  • Affirmation of Faith - This is primarily for two groups of people: 1) those who grew up in an LCMS church and would like to rejoin; and 2) those who have been confirmed in another Lutheran denomination, and may hold a similar confession to ours.¬† Those who join by Affirmation visit with the Pastor until both parties are prepared to go on with church membership.
  • Transfer from LCMS congregation - Those who hold membership in a sister congregation of the LCMS (The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod) or a church body in which we are in full Altar and Pulpit Fellowship, may request a transfer from their congregation to be sent to us.¬† Members in good standing will be received as soon as permissible.¬†

Membership for Children - Children are part of the Body of Christ, and are received as Baptized Members on the date of their baptism.  Since all mankind is born into sin, children need the "washing of rebirth and regeneration" that St. Paul speaks of (Titus 3:5), and to have the righteousness of Jesus imputed to them through the Holy Spirit, Who comes to dwell in the child at Baptism.  Having received Christ, parents, sponsors, and the Church teach little ones about life, doctrine, and walking in discipleship. 

Following years of learning to memorize, sing, and worship, they go through a two-year course of instruction in the 7th and 8th grade to prepare for their Confirmation; that is, for Communicant Membership.  This event is a traditional time in which each child affirms the Covenant that God made with him/her at Baptism, and receives Holy Communion for the first time.  Looking into young adulthood, these boys and girls trust in Jesus Christ and desire to live in His Church and follow His ways until Christ comes again.  As it is written, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I shall give thee the crown of life," (Revelation 2:10).

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