This church is like family. The feel here is informal and relaxed. After every service most people linger to talk while eating the day's snacks and drinking coffee.
In our worship time you'll hear reading from the Bible and guidance for understanding and applying the word. We take time for prayer. People are often invited to share their ideas and experience, but there's no pressure to do so. We sing a mix of classic hymns, familiar praise choruses, and new songs. On 1st & 3rd Sundays we share Communion, the Lord's Supper, for all who want to receive.
Gatherings for worship happen to sustain the scattered mission of the church outside of the large gathering. Regular and rhythmic times of congregating remind us of the bigger story we are in, reinforcing why we live the missional life we do.
Pastor Nissen answered the call to serve at Calvary in 2019, along with his wife Christen and two youngest sons Sam & Grayson. This is Craig's third call after previously serving congregations in Iowa and Minnesota. Prior to being ordained as a Lutheran Pastor in 2008, Craig had a long career in youth & camp ministry, which began in 1991.
As a preacher he aims to be down to earth, connect conversationally, and let the Bible speak. You will find him out in the community serving as a chaplain with the Flathead County Sheriff's office & Braveheart Chaplains, and (in summer) often working in the community garden behind Calvary's building. In winter, most of his free-time goes to supporting (and feeding) his young hockey playing sons. Year-round he keeps dating his best friend and beautiful wife, Christen.
We are Lutheran, and are clearly taught by that theological and cultural tradition. At the same time we do not claim that we, or the Lutheran tradition in general, have the perfect understanding or presentation of the gospel or the mystery of God. We prize our heritage and aim to prioritize what is merely Christian by working cooperatively with all who follow Jesus.
This congregation confesses the Triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This congregation confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
We confess that we are bound to sin and cannot free ourselves. We sin against God in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done and by things we have left undone. We have not loved God with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. But on account of the son, Jesus the Christ, we ask God to have mercy on us. We trust God to forgive us, renew us and lead us, so that we may delight in the Lord’s will and walk in his ways to the glory of God.
This congregation accepts the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.
This congregation accepts the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.
This congregation accepts the confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.
We believe the Church is the universal assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel. The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship and as local congregations gathered for worship and Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment in the universal community of the Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations.
Pastors can teach theology and faith practices, explain church history, and certainly be a significant mentor; but a family shows a child what it is to be a Christian, and it takes a congregation to teach what it is to be 'church.' All members of Calvary, when they joined or were confirmed in their faith, confess these intentions: "to live among God's faithful people, to hear his Word and share in his supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people following the example of our Lord Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth." We fail at this, we confess that, and trust God to forgive us, renew us, and lead us - so that we can delight in God's will and walk in Jesus' ways to the glory of God.
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who produces them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good," (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
The name Calvary occurs only once in the Bible, and only in the King James Version, which reads "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him" (LUKE 23:33). Other versions of the Bible say "the place which is called The Skull" — κρανιον (kranion).
The other gospels also call the place where Jesus was crucified The Skull, but they additionally offer the Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent: Golgotha (MATTHEW 27:33, MARK 15:22, JOHN 19:17). It is nowhere in Scripture called a "hill." The crucifixion of our Lord took place outside the city walls ( Hebrews 13:11-13 ) and near the public thoroughfare. "This thing was not done in a corner."
The name Calvary is a transliteration of the Latin word calvaria, as used in the Latin version of the Bible. It has the same meaning as the Greek word κρανιον (kranion), namely that of skull (of a human or an animal — hence our English word "cranium").
The Hebrew noun גלגלת (gulgoleth), from whence comes the name Golgotha, also means skull or head.
The significance of the name, for our church, is the association with the cross, and the death of Jesus Christ. There is too much to say about that here, but we offer these Bible verses for starting points:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped [held on to for advantage], but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
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