Dealing with Scary Services
I was on vacation, visiting a church I had never attended before. I was excited to go and see how their service was conducted, and knew I would be hearing a good sermon from a great, faithful, orthodox, Lutheran Pastor. I wasn’t worried about anything, until we got to the first hymn…and…it was a hymn I had never heard before in my life! Instantly, I was mortified! “What should I do?! I don’t know this hymn! How am I supposed to sing it?! Even if I were better at reading (or at all able to read) music, it wouldn’t matter, because these are only the lyrics! …Everyone else in here seems to know this piece of music just fine—they are singing it at the top of their lungs! …HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE?!?! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!?! Does this mean I’m a ‘Pew Potato’—obnoxiously sitting here, looking like some disinterested, lazy bum?! What is everyone thinking of me?! …I am so ashamed…Now I definitely can’t stick around for a donut during their fellowship hour….Maybe I can sneak out to my car and make a get-away while they are singing the last hymn—which I probably won’t know either…”
Have you ever dealt with anxiety or stress like this in a worship service? Sometimes there are parts of the service or pieces of music that you hardly know or may have never heard before—what should you do then? Perhaps you don’t enjoy singing; or maybe you feel as if you don’t have a very good singing voice; or you are self-conscious about it—what then? “Should I pinch the baby to make her cry so I could escape to the Narthex right now?—or maybe I should make a quick get-away to the bathroom?”
To be perfectly honest with you, I have dealt with such insecurities. I remember my first time visiting Mt. Olive as a Bethany student. I came from a small, close-knit, “mission” congregation—and was used to that. But now, here, I was overwhelmed—even downright terrified of the services that I attended at Mt. Olive and at Bethany Chapel. I had never before seen the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (we were still using that blue hymnal from 1941!). I had never sung the Lord’s Prayer. I had never heard any chanting before. I had never used liturgies like Rite One, Rite Three, or Rite Four. I thought the Office of Prime was the name of a Steak House; Matins was some sort of exotic fruit; and Vespers was a type of moto-scooter. I felt completely lost in the church services; I was discouraged by my seeming ignorance; I was wondering if I was a very good Christian or if God was actually being honored or praised by my inabilities and lack of participation during the worship services.
Then one Sunday morning in late September, a friend of mine, burst into my room to inform me I only had 20 minutes left to get up and get ready for church. I tried to explain to him that it just wasn’t working for me—that it was all a strange, foreign experience for me and that I was thinking of trying to find some other place to go. Thankfully, on that Sunday morning, my friend stopped and had an honest conversation with me.
I came to realize that church services are not so much about the “services” I am offering to God with my singing or reciting the liturgy or with my standing up or sitting down—instead all of these aspects about church were designed and put into place so that God might “service” me with the Gospel! He explained that if I did not know a hymn or a piece of music or part of the liturgy—not to worry about it. If I was not comfortable singing it or did not know the melody, I could (and should) still follow along with the message and meaning of the words and appreciate the atmosphere that is created by the music and singing.
My friend encouraged me by reminding me that many of these new and unfamiliar things would be quickly learned and would soon be beloved (and he was right!). He explained that the pastors took great care in designing their services so that it would benefit the people sitting in the pews—so that their faith might be fed by the Bread of Life. He agreed that sometimes it could be challenging. Not every hymn would be familiar to me—no one should expect that. After all, people from different backgrounds and places have different customs and familiarities—but this is never something that should discourage someone about church or the worship service!
My friend helped me realize that if there were moments where I would have to sit and listen, instead of participate, there was no need for me to feel self-conscious, insecure, or embarrassed! The people sitting around me were my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and are there to encourage and help me in Christian Love. If I got lost or was not able to follow along in the service, he told me to not hesitate in asking the person next to me for help.
Needless to say, I got up and went to church that Sunday. There were hymns and parts of the liturgy that were not very familiar to me, but thanks to my friend I had a different attitude about it. I realized that God was praised and honored—not because of how beautifully I sang, or loudly I spoke, or how quickly I stood up or sat down when the Pastor motioned with his hands. Instead, God was being praised and honored because I was receiving His Word in that service—He was being worshipped and glorified by coming and serving me with His grace in that worship service!
Over time, I became more and more familiar with the variety in our church services and hymnal. I grew to love and cherish those once unfamiliar hymns and liturgies of our church. I loved to read and learn about where they came from and why they were put into the divine service. I went from being nearly oblivious to them, to having them and their meaning and message stuck in my head throughout the day!
I look back and thank God for my friend who encouraged me in that struggle I was having. I thank Him also for the worship services that we have—where He comes to us and serves us with His grace! I also encourage you to appreciate what we have in our service! From time to time there may be parts that are unfamiliar or challenging, but do not let this discourage you. You can still appreciate the message and purpose—and (as has been the case in all the parts that you are now familiar with) you can get to know it—perhaps even grow to love it! I also encourage you as a Christian sitting in the pew, if you see someone who is lost or getting frustrated, take a moment to help them. Hand them your hymnal. Show them where we are in the service. Offer them your encouragement and help while emphasizing to them why we are here—so that in the Divine Service, God might serve us!
All Glory Be to Him! –Pr. Luke Ulrich
Online Worship Services
Our Services are ARCHIVED ONLINE! Mt. Olive now has a page on VIMEO where our services are archived. Check it out: http://Vimeo.com/mountolive
Meet Mt. Olive
Diann and Robert Brooks enjoy life together. While Diann grew up in Good Thunder, and Robert in Albert Lea, their life together began years go. They met while attending South Central College where they both majored in Computer Programing.
The two are employed by different companies (Diann at Mico and Robert at New Ulm Telephone Company) but both Diann and Robert both also work part time for the WOW Zone. In addition, they enjoy spending their free time together; including league bowling and traveling together on their motorcycles. A favorite destination is a Black Hills camping trip. The couple is looking forward to expanding their travels upon retirement.
Robert and Diann’s son Cory and daughter Kim both live nearby. They also have two grandchildren, Koby and Dexter.
New 2 You Disbursements:
We continue to be blessed with strong sales and a wonderful staff at New 2 You which allows us to provide $846.37 to Mt. Olive and $16,927.42 for Christian Education for the 4th Quarter. Thank you to all who support New 2 You with your time and/or donations. We could not provide the support we do for Christian Education without you! Please continue to support New 2 You by volunteering, making donations, shopping our store, or praying for continued blessings on their efforts. If you would like to become a volunteer please call New2You at 507-385-1455. ~Mt. Olive provides volunteers on the first Saturday of every month. The sign-up sheet is on the table in the narthex.
Kwik Trip Cards
Mt. Olive youth (grades 5-12) are selling Kwik Trip Cards as a fund-raiser to help raise money for Mt. Olive Youth Groups. 5% goes to our youth groups and individual youth. This is a year-round fundraiser. Cards are sold between services on Sundays year round. Contact Angie Younge: 389-9137 or Rebecca Strom: 386-0372 with questions.
The 2016 Flower Calendar for the church year is now up in the entry way next to the bulletin board. Thank you for signing up to bring flowers to beautify our altar this coming year!
Bible Classes at Mt. Olive
The following Bible Classes are offered at Mt. Olive:
9:40AM Sundays (Bible Class)
9:40AM Sundays (BIC)
8AM Tuesdays (Ladies Bible study)
8AM Wednesdays (Mom’s Bible Study)
9AM Wednesdays (Bible Study)
Bible Information Class (BIC) is available for anyone interested in learning more about our Christian faith. Please talk to one of the Pastors if you’re interested.
1st Service: Jeff Younge (captain), Aaron Younge, Joseph Roemhildt, Tim Roemhildt, Dustin Basel
2nd Service: Mark Madson (captain), Kirk Hankins, Joel Petersen, Andy Overn, Ian Overn
1st Service: Tom Bode (captain), Eli Bode,
John Schauer, Alex Schauer, John Pfeffer
2nd Service: Chris Kind (captain), Larry Rude,
Dale Schaffer, John Foede
1st Service: Don & Beth Westphal, Eldon Sting, Keith Anderson
2nd Service: Steve & Lois Jaeger, Bob Goetzke, Connie Long
1st Service: Ron & Mary Younge, Eldon Sting
2nd Service: Mike & Anita Smith, Dan & Joanne Maas
February: Ellie Fisher, LuAnn Sting
March: Carol Leiferman, Elyse Haugen
February: Chad Sorensen, Chris Kind
March: Lisa Holt, Brenda Garbers, Connie Meyer
Kindergarten Round Up
has been scheduled for Monday, February 22, at Mt. Olive and will begin at 6:30PM. Kindergarten enrollment for next year is open to children who will be 5 by Sept. 1, 2016.
Important Dates at Mt. Olive Lutheran School
Wednesday, February 3
Jr. Youth at All Seasons Arena
Tuesday, February 9
No AM Busing
Sunday, February 14
Boys’ & Girls’ Choirs Sing
Friday, February 19
11:15AM Early Dismissal/No PM Busing
Saturday, February 20
Monday, February 22
Sunday, February 28
Lutheran Schools Week Begins/ All CDS Children Sing
The season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on February 10. Lenten worship services will take place at 6:30PM through March 16. 5PM suppers are planned for 2/10, 2/17 & 3/16. Please contact the church office if you or your group wishes to host a Lenten supper on any of the following dates: 2/24, 3/2, or 3/9.
Employment Opportunity at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School
Full-time custodian for routine cleaning of Church and School starting April 1, 2016. Includes general maintenance of electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems. Includes grounds maintenance. Experience preferred. Flexible hours generally starting after school dismissal and includes weekends. Wages starting at $13-$15 per hour depending on experience. Benefits included. For application and more information call the Church office at (507) 345-4966.
Monday Night Services:
Please note that our Monday night services will be suspended during the upcoming Lenten season, with the last one being February 1st. We encourage those who cannot attend church on Sundays to join us for our midweek Lenten services on Wednesdays at 6:30PM, beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 10th. The theme for Lent this year is “Ironies of the Passion”.
Easter for Kids is looking for some donations for their event on March 19. They will need plastic Easter eggs and paper towel or toilet paper roll cardboard tubes.
Our CDS After-School Care Program is also looking for donations of used Legos.
Please drop off your donations in the office.
Jr. Youth Group
We will be meeting Wednesday, February 3rd at 6:30pm. After a devotion at church, we will be carpooling to the All Seasons Arena for Ice Skating from 7:15-8:15pm. Please bring $5 for entry & skate rental (or bring your own skates) we will cover the costs of hot chocolate & candy from the concessions stand. Parents can pick you up at the All Seasons Arena at 8:15pm. SIGN UP on the sheet on the Narthex table. PARENTS: We need some volunteer drivers to help get the kids from Mt. Olive to the All Seasons Arena. If you are able to drive, please sign up on the bottom of the Sign-Up Sheet on the Narthex Table. Questions: talk to Pr. Ulrich, Scott Fassett, or Lance Johnson.
On Sunday, February 14th; Clarice Madson, a long-time member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, will be celebrating her 90th birthday. She has many fond memories of her friends at Mt Olive and still misses the wonderful congregational singing. Clarice currently lives at The Glenn, a Senior Living Center, in Minnetonka, MN. For those of you who remember her and wish to send a birthday greeting, her mailing address is: Clarice Madson, 5300 Woodhill Road, Apt. #411, Minnetonka, MN 55345.
Bethany Lutheran College
Reserve tickets now for Bethany’s winter musical, Brigadoon, by Lerner and Loewe. Tickets may be reserved online anytime at blc.edu/theatre or by phone weekdays from 1-5 p.m. at 507-344-7374. Tickets are $10/adults, $6 for students/seniors 60+. Performances are Feb. 5-6 at 7:30 p.m., and a Sunday matinee on Jan. 31 at 2:00 p.m.
Synopsis: Two Americans on a hunting trip get lost in the Scottish highlands and chance upon the enchanted village of Brigadoon, which rises out of the Scottish mists for only one day every 100 years. When Tommy falls for beautiful villager Fiona, he must decide whether to stay in Brigadoon or return to his modern life in New York City.
Mark your calendar and plan to join us for Rise Up 2016: Powerful Women Living in Grace, where women from all walks of life will draw strength and grace from their Savior. The weekend will include guest speakers Carrie Pfeifer, First Lady of Bethany Lutheran College, Rev. Don Moldstad, Jennifer Schwertfeger and Laura Harstad. The weekend begins at 5 pm Friday, March 11 at Courtyard by Mariott Hotel & Event Center and continues Saturday, March 12 on the Bethany Lutheran College campus beginning at 9:00 am. Reduced early registration ends January 22 and group rates for 8 or more are available. For more information and registration options visit the Bethany website at: www.blc.edu/riseup2016 or contact Joni Bode at 507-344-7749 or email Joni.Bode@blc.edu.
Bethany Women’s Auxiliary: The next meeting of the Mankato chapter of the Bethany Auxiliary will be on Tuesday, February 9 at 7PM in the conference room, #234, of Honsey Hall. Amanda Quist will present the program entitled “Community Television at BLC.” Mankato area public access television is now operated by the video production studio at Bethany Lutheran College. This talk will cover the basics of public access TV, studio and student involvement, new community coverage, and more. EVERYONE is welcome to attend the presentation portion of the evening. Following the presentation the members of the auxiliary will hold their regular business meeting. Membership is always open to any women interested in supporting Bethany Lutheran College by staying informed of events on campus and participating in fundraising specifically intended to benefit the students.
Birthright is in need of volunteers. With more volunteers, our office could be open more hours and serve more women. You can work days and hours that fit into your schedule. We are planning a training session in February or March. For more information call 388-4558. Put your pro-life beliefs into action.