Why do you need a church?
Most people recognize that they have a need for a right relationship with God. They hope that they've been good enough that they won't face God's wrath and punishment, but they also know that they aren't perfect. So how good do I need to be? Jesus gives the answer; "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
Yes, that's it. Not "give it your best shot." Not "be in the top fifty percent." But who can be perfect? I'm not perfect. Are you perfect? The truth is, no one is perfect, and the Bible says as much; "There is no one who does good; not even one" (Psalm 53:5). And no matter how hard we try, we can't be perfect, not even close. "No one will be declared righteous in [God's] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20).
This is indeed a hopeless situation for us to be in. Or at least it would be, if not for God's undeserved love. In the Bible we hear of God's plan for us: "But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:22, 23). Jesus came to take our place under the law, to suffer and die for our sins on the cross, and to give us his righteousness. Through faith, our status before God is "perfect." That's what Jesus has done for us. "By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:14).
So why do you need a church? It isn't about duty to God, as many people believe. Instead, it's an opportunity to be showered with the blessings of God. Just as your body needs food on a regular basis, so your soul needs regular refreshment from Jesus, the water of life. Jesus comes to us in word and sacrament. He takes away our sins. He gives us his strength for the days ahead. And when Jesus comes again, we will be eager to greet him, not as our angry judge, but as our brother and our Lord.
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). WELS is the third largest Lutheran synod in the United States of America, founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since then we have grown to nearly 1300 congregations in 47 US states, as well as congregations in Canada and 23 other foreign countries. WELS is highly committed to education, operating the fourth largest private school system in the USA. We are a conservative, confessional church body that stands firm in the Word of God. We enjoy a great deal of unity between our congregations, so that there is one Gospel preached at all our churches.
For more information on WELS, including our ministries and our teachings, see our synod website:
Immanuel is one of a trio of congregations that share the same name in the White Mountains of Arizona. Immanuel in Lakeside is served by Pastor Adam Horneber. Immanuel in Taylor forms a dual parish with Immanuel in Springerville, and both congregations are served by Pastor Seth Georgson. Immanuel in Taylor is a small congregation with an average of 35 in worship. We follow a printed order of service. Visitors are always welcome. If you're visiting, expect to be greeted before and after church, but we will not call you out during the service. Worship starts at 8:30 AM on Sundays, and is always close to one hour in length.
At our churches, we practice something called "Close Communion." This is the biblical teaching that Holy Communion ought to be received by a person who is properly prepared and is united in confession with the other believers present. For this reason, we ask that Holy Communion only be taken by members (of our church, another WELS church, or of a church in one of our sister synods). All visitors are asked to speak to our pastor prior to communing with us.
Besides worship, we offer Bible classes for members and visitors. Every Sunday our worship service is preceded by a Bible class which begins at 7:30 AM. Other classes are available at different times and some may be available on request.
Pastor Seth Georgson ("George - son") has served Immanuel in Taylor and Immanuel in Springerville since July 2014, having previously served congregations in South Dakota. He grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and attended the WELS schools of Luther Preparatory School, Martin Luther College, and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, where he received his Masters in Divinity. He was ordained into the holy ministry in July 2012. He loves teaching and will be happy to answer your questions and instruct you in God's Word.