Discover Church has been an active part of this rapidly changing community for the past fifty-one years. It is truly a unique congregation within the local community. At first glance, however, Discover Church seems more common than unique. It is after all just another Lutheran congregation in the part of the country that has the highest concentration of Lutherans and Lutheran congregations. However, upon closer examination, Discover Church is very different, both from other Lutheran congregations in Brooklyn Park and in the larger Lutheran tradition of which the congregation is a part. The unique flavor of the church comes from three factors that have shaped and formed its culture. For the past several years, the Church has described itself as ‘charismatic in expression,’ ‘evangelical in mission,’ and ‘Lutheran in tradition and theology.’ These three factors interact with each other in unique ways to form a distinctive church culture. ‘Charismatic in expression’ influences the worship style, as well as other areas of congregational life. Only one of our worship services has any traditional liturgical elements within the service on a regular basis. The other services follow a simpler format using very contemporary music. There are demonstrative expressions of praise through out all the services, particularly the raising of hands during singing. While the most common, the raising of hands is not the only way congregants express their joy and love of God. On an occasional basis people are dancing or moving in the aisles during worship. Discover Church believes in the full range of the gifts of the Spirit, and while they are not currently practiced within Sunday morning worship services, they are evident in other areas of congregational life including: other worship experiences, Bible studies, prayer groups, and in the church’s pastoral care ministry. ‘Evangelical in mission’ informs both the preaching style and the importance the congregation has placed on missions. In regards to the latter, at least ten percent of its budget is dedicated to mission organizations that have a strong evangelical component regardless of denominational affiliation. The mission organizations supported substantially by the congregation include: “Youth With A Mission,” “World Mission Prayer league,” “China Service Ventures,” “Hope Lutheran Church, Madagascar,” “Guyanese Outreach,” “Northern India Community Organization, and many others. The congregation’s support of missions is not simply financial. Former pastors have led members on short-term mission trips; other members have agreed to be local representatives of these same mission organizations. Several children of the congregation have heard the call to the mission field and are now in full time mission work, most of them with one of the organizations supported by the church’s mission budget. The evangelical label also informs the congregation’s high view of Scripture. It influences the way Holy Scriptures are presented in both preaching as well as in Bible study. One former pastor described Discover Church’s stance toward Scripture as “Biblically conservative, but intellectually curious.” In other words, the basic tenets of historical Christianity as presented in Scripture and expressed in the historic creeds are the norm for faith and life. However, that understanding has not hardened into a brittle fundamentalism. Bible studies taught at church make appropriate use of the historical-critical method to better understand scripture. The final factor is ‘Lutheran in theology and tradition,’ which primarily plays itself out in a deep sacramental view of Baptism and Holy Communion. The signature tenet of the Lutheran tradition, ‘save by grace through faith’ is heartily affirmed in the congregation. Salvation as God’s gift is made visible through the Lord’s Supper and Holy Baptism. The congregation has a profound sense of God acting in these two Sacraments. In the Supper both the individual congregant and the congregations as a whole meet Jesus. As members eat the bread and drink the wine they partake in the body and blood of Jesus. In that eating and drinking they receive as Luther says “forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.” The interaction of these three factors is what gives Discover Church its unique culture.

Location

Discover Church – Burnsville
14300 W. Burnsville Parkway
Burnsville, MN 55306

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