We have been ministering to the community of Jamestown for over 25 years. Our 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. services are a blending of contemporary and traditional worship styles. We have opportunities for each and every person.
Victory Lutheran is affiliated with the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Here are some commonly asked questions:
1. How many churches are currently affiliated and how many are located in the US?
In the USA and Canada we have 116 congregations in our fellowship. We have approximately 1600 congregations in Chad and Cameroon, 16 congregations in Taiwan and 29 in Japan. (2007)
2. Describe the Lutheran roots of your affiliation.
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren dates back to 1900. During a period of spiritual renewal sweeping through the upper Midwest five independent Lutheran congregations joined together to form the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. One of the driving forces in this venture was a deep commitment to bring the gospel to unreached people with a particular focus on China. The first annual meeting, six months later, called the first missionary couple to go to China.
The organizational structure and confessional statement was very closely patterned after the Lutheran Free Church of Norway.
3. What is your belief statement on the Bible?
The Bible, including both Old and New Testaments as originally given, is the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God and is free from error in the whole and in the part, and is therefore the final authoritative guide for faith and conduct.
4. What is your belief statement on baptism?
In the Sacrament of Baptism, God offers the benefits of Christ’s redemption to all people and graciously bestows the washing of regeneration and newness of life to all who believe. God calls the baptized person to live in daily repentance, that is, in sorrow for sin, in turning from sin, and in personal faith in the forgiveness of sin obtained by Christ. By grace we are daily given the power to overcome sinful desires and live a new life in Christ. Those who do not continue to live in God’s grace need to be brought again to repentance and faith through the Law and Gospel.
Because the sinfulness of human nature passes on from generation to generation and the promise of God’s grace includes little children, we baptize infants, who become members of Christ’s believing church through baptism. These children need to come to know that they are sinners with a sinful nature that opposes God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, they need to confess their sinfulness and yield to God; and possess for themselves forgiveness of their sin through Jesus Christ, as they are led from the faith received in infant baptism into a clear conscious personal faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior and being assured of salvation, rely solely on the finished work of Christ, and the power of the Gospel to live as children of God.
5. What is your belief statement on communion?
In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Christ gives to the communicants His body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine. He declares the forgiveness of sin to all believers, and strengthens their faith.
6. Bullet point your beliefs and doctrines.
* The Bible is the inspired Word of God – in the whole and in the part.
* The Triune God
* The human race is sinful and separated from God and needs salvation.
* Jesus Christ, the Son of God came into the world to redeem the human race through His death and resurrection. Salvation is only through Him.
* The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and brings us to Jesus Christ.
* We believe in heaven and also hell.
* We believe in the immanent bodily return of Jesus Christ.
* God has given us the Law to reveal our sin and the Gospel to declare the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
7. What are the goals of your affiliation?
Read our Mission Statement:
In response to God’s person and grace, we worship Him with everything we are in Christ, serve one another in Christian love and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all people.
Read our Vision Statement:
We see God stirring in our church a fresh passion to reach beyond our own comfort to al people among whom God places us. We embrace God’s mission to bring the life changing Gospel to unreached people in Asia and Africa, and we sense God convicting us to more intentionally reach out to people who live in our midst in North America as well.
8. Describe the governance structure of your affiliation.
The local congregation is autonomous. The Synodical administration exists to serve the congregations in helping congregations fulfill the great commission.
In the congregation we have the Board of Elders. This board works most closely with the pastor in the planning and direction of the ministries of the congregation assisting the pastor in the shepherding of the congregation. Elders are men of spiritual maturity who serve in this office as a calling and are ordained as elders.
Congregations will also have a Board of Trustees or a Finance and Facilities Committee who are responsible for the fiscal and physical dimensions of the congregation. Some congregations will have deacons and deaconesses who assist in the caring ministries of the congregation. Other boards may exist to handle other aspects of ministry such as Christian Education and Youth.
9. What are the financial expectations of member churches?
Members congregations are encouraged to be a regular part of the support team for the various synod missions such as world missions, educational missions etc. Congregations, through their delegates to the annual convention have opportunity to discuss the various missions and vote on the ministry plans and budgeting. Congregations are not assessed a certain percentage of their income or a certain amount per member.
10. Does the congregation have full oversight in the call of a pastor?
Yes. The Synodical Office of President as well as District Presidents will work with congregations in finding candidates and assist as needed. The local congregation elects a call committee that reviews possible candidates and the congregation votes on the extension of a call.
11. What is the number of pastors currently on your roster and do you provide benefits?
We have 185 active Ordained and Licensed pastors. 47 retired pastors. (2007) Yes, we have a pension plan and also a health plan.
12. Can your pastors be multi-rostered?
We do not have current provisions for multi-rostering.
13. Does your affiliation ordain women? No
14. In what offices or capacities can a woman serve?
We do not ordain women so therefore they may not serve in the pastor or elder offices. In most of our congregations they are free to serve in all other positions.
15. Can a divorced pastor be on the roster and called to serve a congregation?
This would depend upon the circumstances relating to the divorce.
16. Can a gay or lesbian pastor be on the roster and called to serve a congregation? No
17. Does your affiliation have a college, seminary or Bible School-if so, what is the name and location?
Our seminary, Lutheran Brethren Seminary, is located in Fergus Falls, MN (http://www.lbs.edu/)
18. What educational support does your seminary provide?
Limited financial aid is available to students.
19. Is there training for servants/disciples?
The Seminary offers a one year program that gives a Certificate in Theological Studies.
Short Courses are also offered from time to time in off campus locations. Some opportunities are available through distance learning. Specifics can be learned through contacting the seminary directly. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
20. Is the primary focus for growth local or abroad?
Since our beginning the Church of the Lutheran Brethren has had a very strong world mission focus. North American Mission is the division of ministry that focuses on planting new churches and revitalizing existing churches in the US and Canada.
21. Describe mission efforts in terms of monetary and goods.
The World Mission budget is approximately $1,000,000.00 annually. This supports ministries Taiwan, Japan, Cameroon and Chad. Each of these fields has their own seminary program for training national pastors. In the African churches we have ongoing translation projects that are now mostly driven by the national church and we partner with them in mission to the Muslim peoples of the region.
North American Mission seeks to plant new congregations and assist in revitalization of struggling congregations in the US and Canada. The annual budget is approximately $300,000.
22. Describe direct mission efforts abroad in terms of missionary workers.
In our Asian churches we focus on evangelism efforts and utilize an ongoing number of short term workers who serve as English teachers. We also have one family serving in a restricted access region.
In Chad and Cameroon we have one couple who serves in the Chadian Seminary. Other missionaries serve in evangelism and translation projects particularly focusing on Muslim people groups. Each year our churches are invited to participate in a relief offering that is used for famine relief or related needs. In the past we had a major health program which is now fully carried on by nationals. We have also had agricultural ministries as well.
We have now provided five full Bible translations and a dozen or more New Testaments.
23. What are your views on contemporary services?
Within our congregations we have a variety of worship formats. Some are fully contemporary while some are fully traditional. Most are a blend. Whatever the form our concern is that our worship services are channels for meaningful worship of our Lord and proclamation of the saving gospel message.
24. Who owns congregational property if disassociation?
The local congregation holds the property. Most constitutions will have a clause that states that if there is a split the party that is faithful to the constitution has the property. If a congregation dissolves the property is deeded over to the Synod.
25. Are there any other resulting issues if we disassociate?
It may impact the pastor’s roster status. Our pastors may serve an independent Lutheran congregation but if the congregation joined another group that has a major doctrinal difference he would likely loose his roster status. He could ask for a transfer of his credentials.
26. What are the key differences from other affiliations and synods?
That is hard to answer since it is such a broad question. With some the differences would be minor and primarily in governing structures. With others there would be doctrinal differences of significant dimension. I suggest you review our Statement of Faith. This is what we seriously hold. Also note our statement of core values. These are enclosed.
27. What are the auxiliaries of your affiliation?
Lutheran Brethren Women’s Ministry is our national women’s organization. Read more...
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN is a Jr and Sr high school. It is both a boarding and commuter school. Read more...
Lutheran Brethren Homes Inc. Is a Nursing Home and an Assisted Living facility located in Fergus Falls, MN. Read more...
We have two Bible Camp/Retreat facilities. Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center, Mt. Bethel, PA; and Inspiration Point Bible Camp, Clitherall, MN
28. Does your affiliation offer retreat and camping opportunities?
Yes, see the above question. Several other camps also serve people in their respective areas although these camps do not have their own facilities.