WHAT TO EXPECT
WE WANT YOU TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WHEN YOU VISIT
WE WANT YOU TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WHEN YOU VISIT
We recognize that, as a visitor to our faith community, you may be a lifelong Lutheran, a born-and-raised Catholic, or maybe you’ve never set foot in a church in your life. No matter your background, you are more than welcome in our doors. In case you have some questions about what to expect on your first visit, we’ve done our best to answer them below.
We are located in the city of Thousand Oaks, at the corner of Arboles and Mount Clef; our address is 1 West Avenida de Los Arboles. You are welcome to park anywhere in the lot that surrounds our campus, but please note that the circle drive near the sanctuary building is reserved for dropping passengers off (we like to keep this clear for a bus that brings guests from a nearby assisted living center). We have disabled parking spaces available for those who need them, and there is additional street parking on Arboles, for occasions when our lot is full.
Worship is held weekly at 8, 9:30, and 11 a.m. on Sundays.
At 8 and 11am, we host traditional services. These services follow a Lutheran pattern of what is called “liturgy,” which involves some ancient phrases used to worship God and acknowledging His many gifts. If you’re unfamiliar with this type of worship, you can follow along with one of our printed bulletins and words projected on the screen to guide you. Music is sung from a hymnal book and is led by a choir with a piano and pipe organ.
If you decide to attend our 9:30am informal service, you’ll encounter a more casual experience (with an equal value in praising and understanding God). Music in this service is headed up by a praise band, which plays a variety of instruments and tends to be a little more upbeat. These services can be a little more hands on, as sometimes attendees are asked to discuss questions with those seated around them or to join around some tables for Bible study and prayer. Of course you can participate in these activities at a level you find comfortable. All of our worship services include reading of biblical scripture, sharing the sacred meal of communion, and being sent out to serve the world. A few times a year we will merge the service styles so we can worship together as a full church body.
Generally speaking, families with small or adolescent children attend our 9:30 informal worship service, while our traditional services tend to be made up of our older members. However, anyone of any age is welcome at whichever service he or she feels most fit.
At each service, one of our ushers will greet you and offer you a printed “bulletin,” which includes prayers, Scripture readings, and hymns so you can follow along. Our informal service bulletin lists a general outline of the order of worship service elements; detailed words to prayers and songs are projected at the front of the sanctuary for your convenience.
During the school year at our 9:30 a.m. service, children aged preschool to fifth grade are welcome to be dismissed for about 20 minutes to attend “Faith Explorer” time and learn more about the Bible while their parents listen to the preached sermon. We bring kids back into the service for closing prayers and communion, however, because we love to encourage our families to get some time in worship together each week.
For those squirmy toddlers who have a hard time sitting still, we have a “Wiggle Space” located off the entrance to the sanctuary. Parents can sit in the space and still hear and see the worship service, or go back to their seat as one of our child care providers watches over your kiddo.
There are no Sunday activities for middle and high school youth, as we appreciate their presence in our services, but we have youth group events during the week. High schoolers meet on Monday nights and middle schoolers have confirmation class as well as youth events on Wednesday evenings.
Communion is the time during the worship when we share a little bit of bread and wine to feel God’s presence and to remember what Jesus Christ has done for us by giving thanks for His love and forgiveness. This time is also sometimes called the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist (a Greek word meaning “true gift” or “good gift”). As Lutherans, we believe that when we gather together to share bread and wine as Christ told us to do, and hear His words of forgiveness and remembrance, then we can really experience the presence of Christ in a mysterious and life-giving way. Lutherans call the Sacrament of Holy Communion a “means of grace.” It is a time when we can point to where God’s gift of love comes to us and know that God is with us.
Because Lutherans believe communion is a gift from God, we believe anyone can receive communion no matter where they are on their journey of faith. We host an “open table,” which means you are welcome to come forward to receive bread and wine no matter what church you have previously attended, or if you are from a non-Christian background. If you feel the call of Christ on your heart to participate, we believe such is the work of the Holy Spirit; please feel free to dine with us and join in giving thanks.
Children are always welcome to come forward and receive a blessing or receive communion.
For those who would like, we offer period workshops that explains the sacrament of communion to children and adults alike. If you are interested in a class for your child or yourself, please notify one of our pastors or the church office.
Like communion, Lutherans believe baptism is a means of grace. It is the ritual through which we believe we are washed of our sins and given new life in Christ. If you want to be baptized or have your children baptized, we provide an orientation with a brief period of instruction and conversation about the meaning of baptism for Lutherans. Please contact the church office or one of our pastors if you are interested in baptism for yourself or your children.
While many people do dress up for church at Holy Trinity, there are also those who will dress more casually in shorts or Hawaiian shirts. Dressing up can help us get in the mindset to honor and worship God, but it is not a requirement. We are just glad that you will be in church with us!
I’ve been a member of Holy Trinity for 30 years or so. Holy Trinity is my home away from home; it’s my family. We’re family here. we support each other through good, through bad. I just love how we truly live the gospel--like we’re supposed to. We love our neighbors as our friends. I just can’t imagine this place not being a part of my life.