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Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession

Word of God Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pana, Illinois, is marking its fortieth anniversary this year. It is celebrating with two additions to its physical property: a complete renovation of its parking lot, and a major overhaul of its audio/visual system.

With the purchase of a large-screen TV and enhanced computer/internet capability, the congregation is now equipped to screen sermons and Bible classes from all over the CLC via live-streaming and recording, and to play other recordings on disc and from its extensive library of recorded sermons. This is especially helpful when the pastor is on vacation.

A video presentation featuring the late Dr. David Menton.
A video presentation featuring the late Dr. David Menton.

Word of God congregation has always been an evangelistic congregation. For twenty-five years it has broadcast its recorded sermons over several radio stations in central Illinois. It currently broadcasts every Sunday over stations WTIM, WMKR, WSVZ, and WTRH, reaching nine counties in central Illinois. Every program begins with the announcement, “Word of God Lutheran Church brings you this recording of its Sunday-morning worship service. Word of God church is an orthodox, conservative Lutheran church which holds the following to be true: all people are sinners, salvation from sin is available to all people through the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. Word of God Church is located at 406 W. Dewitt Street in Pana. We invite you to visit our worship services and Bible classes for all ages. Worship is at 10:15 and Sunday school and Adult Bible classes are at 9:00 A.M. every Sunday morning. Mid-week Bible study is at 2:00 P.M. Thursday.” All of this is announced over a choir singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Similar information is announced again at the close of each broadcast.

Sanctuary and chancel of Word of God Lutheran Church.
Sanctuary and chancel of Word of God Lutheran Church.

All of our members are encouraged to spread the Word of God in their daily lives with family, friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. To help them in this mission, the pastor has written a short Bible study pamphlet that members can give to those who will accept it. The pamphlet is entitled “Free for a Change.” The title reflects the fact that eternal life with God is His free gift to all in Christ Jesus, but it involves a change in one’s life through repentance, faith, and sanctification. It contains six short self-teaching lessons consisting of up to nine questions each, with a Bible reference where the answer to each question may be found. Users are instructed to look up the passages (either in their own Bibles or an on-line translation) and write their answers on the lines provided. Of course, our members make themselves available to go over the answers with anyone who wishes. Hundreds of these little booklets have been handed out over the years.

Word of God also maintains a website ( stating our basic teachings, phone number, and other information. Links to videos and audios of all sermons and Bible classes are included.

We trust God’s promise that when His Word goes forth, it will never return void, but will always accomplish the purpose that pleases Him, and will prosper in the thing for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Laboring for Him is never in vain (I Cor. 15:58).

Dennis Rieken is pastor of Word of God Evangelical Lutheran Church of Pana, Illinois. Members Darrell and Rebecca Haslett contributed to this article.