A few years ago, the congregation council held a retreat and began to ask ourselves, “What is Faith Lutheran’s unique call in Chico and Butte County?” For a year we wrestled with that question, and our answer culminated in the mission statement we adopted in 2021: to be a community reflecting God’s love with a place at the table for everyone. With this statment came our vision, a way we can live out our shared mission:
Worship is where many people first experience divine welcome; where we experience welcome into God’s grace through scripture and preaching; where we experience welcome to Christ’s presence at the Lord’s table; and finally, worship is where we experience welcome into a loving and affirming community through the people we encounter.
We welcome you (people of all colors, backgrounds, ages, genders, sexualities, ideaologies, and financial, relational, or housing statuses) with smiling Greeters; offer the option of having a nametag so that you know who's who; and explain where bathrooms and children’s resources are. If you're a first-time visitor, we'll ask if you'd like to be seated with a long-time family who can guide you through the service. Throughout worship, what we are doing and why is explained and made accessible.
Our praise and teaching includes many voices all pointing to and reflecting God’s love. After worship, you are given the opportunity to share contact information so that we can follow up with you and let you know that we appreciate your visit. And in coffee hour after service, we make a point to ensure that you are connected with. When we experience divine welcome, it naturally draws us to be gathered with a spiritual community.
The Christian life is a life of intentional relationships, relationship with God, relationship with our siblings in Christ, relationship with our neighbor in need, and relationship with ourselves. Real relationships go deeper than listening to someone else talk for an hour a week. Our goal is for members and visitors of Faith to gather with one another outside of worship to share what is happening in your life, help each other see God in the midst of journey, and support each other through prayer and fellowship. Some of these small groups are focused on a shared interest/hobby, some are united around a shared stage of life, some are based on convenience of time and location, but all are facilitated by a trained leader who meets with other small group leaders once a month under the supervision of our Director of Family Life. We are the body of Christ, not as individuals, but together. When we are strengthened by the love and support of regular, intentional, spiritual community, we feel called to equip ourselves for a holy purpose.
We all yearn to have a meaning and a purpose greater than ourselves. In Christ we are called to just such a purpose in loving and serving our neighbor. The Holy Spirit gives each of us unique gifts with which to answer Christ’s call. The vision is that you meet our Equipping Ministry Team to help you identify your unique gifts given by the Spirit and the ways in which you feel called to serve. The Equipping Ministry then matches those gifts and sense of call with ministry opportunities where they can be lived out. Each ministry has a mentor, who trains and guides each new minister, until you can carry out the ministry on your own. At that point however, you -the new minister- becomes a mentor for someone else! In this way, each person is equipped for holy purpose and carries out their ministry in pairs, just as Jesus sent his disciples. When we receive God’s love in word and sacrament, are strengthened by the community of Christ’s living body, and are equipped for purpose by the Holy Spirit, we cannot help but go forth to reflect this love to others through service.
The greatest joy is not to receive but to give. Having received so much from God, we overflow with blessings and seek others upon whom to bestow them. The vision is that not only do individuals serve in the capacity for which they have been equipped, but that small groups serve together, either by caring directly for each other, participating in formal service events organized by the Social Ministry Team, or by recognize and addressing needs to which they alone are uniquely gifted to minister. Whether we serve as individuals, pairs, small groups, or as the whole congregation our ultimate purpose is to share the love of Christ in whatever we do. When someone experiences the love of Christ through a member of the church, they cannot help but wonder at the source of this love. May we through our service invite others to know Christ in worship, where they will be welcomed, with community where they will be gathered and strengthened, through purpose, with which they will be equipped, and through being sent in service, where they will share the love of Christ and invite others to do the same.
Our congregation operates under a constitution with a series of bylaws and continuing resolutions. We are a Reconciling in Christ community which means that we "[share] Christ's message, the Gospel, which is for everyone equally". In a nutshell, we believe that everybody is deserving of God's love and Faith Lutheran Church strives to demonstrate that through both worship and community service. Faith Lutheran Church of Chico is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, specifically the Sierra Pacific Synod. Pastor Ben is the dean of conference 1 (Redwood Conference).