Paths to Membership and Altar Fellowship at Concordia
Which path toward membership is determined to a large degree by the individual's background. Meeting with the pastor is the best place to start. But generally speaking, the following description of the paths toward baptized, communicant membership are followed:
+ TRANSFER - For those coming from another congregation of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (or a congregation in our church fellowship, such as TAALC or LCC), who are already baptized communicant members of their previous congregation, are usually simply transferred by action of both congregations.
+ GENERAL ADULT CATECHISM CLASS - For those coming from non-Lutheran Christian background (for example Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, non-denominational, etc.) usually adult catechesis (instruction) is held to cover biblical teaching as summarized in the catechism and to cover the historic Lutheran liturgy. This course usually will go for some months, but usually less than a year. Because of divergent issues between the LCMS and the ELCA, prospective members from congregations of the ELCA will typically be asked to go through adult catechism class as well.
+ ADULT CATECHISM CLASS WITH EXTRA ATTENTION - For those coming with no or little Christian background thorough catechesis (instruction) will be needed toward both receiving Holy Baptism, public affirmation of the Lutheran confession of the faith, and to be received as a communicant member of the congregation. In mind for this path are those coming from non-Christian religions or no religion at all (for example Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, atheist, pagan, unitarian).
For those coming from other Christian denominations and are already baptized, we want to ensure in these days that such were baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For those baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, there is no need for another baptism and it would be wrong to have another one. Those baptized among Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or Oneness Pentecostals will need to be baptized again, so to speak, though in such cases those baptisms were not properly Scriptural.
YOUTH CATECHESIS - Baptized youths at Concordia now are typically going through Catechism Class ("confirmation") during middle school years, with some flexibility as to which grade or the precise age. Our concern has to do with the student's readiness as well as the commitment of the parent(s). A minimum of two years of intensive instruction are required at Concordia prior to going through the rite of confirmation. The pastor reserves the right to commend a student for another year when deemed necessary for admission to the altar.
Parents seeking the sacrament of Holy Baptism for their infant children are asked to meet with the pastor regarding this.