“Lutheran worship puts the focus squarely on Jesus Christ, who is present for us and with us through His Word and Sacraments. Lutheran worship is, therefore, Christ-centered, not man-centered. When we are gathered for worship, we are not contemplating some far-off Christ or meditating on abstract concepts, or pondering various principles for living. Neither are we in church to be amused or entertained. Christ is living and active among us, right where He has promised to be in His Word and Sacraments. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, to the very end ofthe age” (Matt.18:20). When He gathers us around His Word and Sacraments, He fulﬁlls this promise to us once again.”
At Mt. Zion, worship happens every Sunday morning at 9:00 am. The community is invited to join with the members and friends of the congregation in song, prayer, proclamation of God’s Word and celebration of the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Ordinarily, the service follows a set pattern taken from the Lutheran Book of Worship. Readings from Scripture are followed by the sermon for the day, delivered by the pastor. Members of the congregation also present their gifts and offerings at these services. They are used to support the ministries of the local and national Church.
Other worship services are held during special seasons of the Church Year such as Advent and Lent. These are offered as preparation for the festivals of Christmas and Easter and usually held on Wednesday evenings.
Martin Luther is credited with opening the pages of Scripture to the common people by translating it from Latin to the native German language. In that same tradition, Lutherans believe that God’s Word is to be studied and applied to their lives as growing Christians.
At Mt. Zion, this study begins with young children who attend Sunday School, or are enrolled in the Mt. Zion Preschool. It continues in Sunday School classes and the classes leading up to the rite of confirmation at the end of the 8th grade. Youth and adult Bible studies continue the process.
Specific classes and topics of study are available from the church office. Class times are as follows:
Mt. Zion offers many opportunities for service. Some are related to the governance of the congregation including service on the Board of Directors and related committees. Other opportunities are connected to service organizations such as the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML).
Some serve in the worship life of the congregation, using their voice or musical training to enhance the worship service. Others serve as ushers, greeters, acolytes and Communion assistants.
The church facilities require upkeep and maintenance. In order to practice good stewardship while also utilizing skills and talents of members, the church counts on volunteers to help maintain the facility.
Service is also directed outside of the congregation to the community. Mt. Zion’s facilities have been used by community groups. Mt. Zion members have served community agencies. Members also serve the greater Church in various capacities as members of boards and committees.
One God, Three Persons
We believe that there is one, true God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) — revealed to humanity through the Word of God. God’s Word has been witnessed in three ways:
In the creation (God “spoke” and it was.)
In the Bible — God’s Words
In the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ (John 1:14)
The Bible is God’s Written Word
We believe the Bible to be God’s inspired and inerrant Word — relevant and meaningful for all people and in every age.. It is not simply the musings of human beings, but rather the very “Word of God”.
“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21).
If it is God’s Word, it then is not “optional.” Christians find this very freeing, rather than confining, as some would argue. If we know it to be true, then we can be confident in following it and using it in our lives.
But even more than it being “true” is that it bears the truth about Jesus — and therefore bears life. We teach from God’s Word because it brings forgiveness and reveals God’s desire for us to be in right relationship with Him.
We treasure God’s Word because it brings truth into a world of relativism. Our worship, sermons and classes are all grounded in the Bible and its teachings.
We live in a broken world in need of a Savior
We believe that all people are fundamentally broken by sin and are unable to save themselves. “Star Trek” is way off in believing that people are simply getting progressively “better and better.” We’re not. God’s Word tells us clearly that:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:11)…
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23)
Broken relationships, greed, hateful actions, sexual insanity — our world is definitely in need of a Savior!
Only Jesus Christ can save us from sin
Christianity is the only religion in the world that teaches this basic truth: Rather than asking us to become “godly,” our Lord chose to become a human being — like us — that He might save us from our sin. In His mercy and wisdom, God chose to set aside His glory for a time and be born a fully human person — Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This “God – man” carries with Him three qualities that make Him our Savior:
1. He is human. Jesus wept, laughed, ate, hurt, was tempted — yet was without sin. He was also able to truly die and shed blood for those He loved.
2. He is holy. God’s demand is for perfection. Jesus Christ was the only one who could offer a completely perfect sacrifice.
3. He is God. Only God can die for all people and all sin.
This Jesus Christ is not simply a “good man,” a “moral teacher,” a “role model.” Far more than that! He Himself claimed to be the eternal and one true God. He received worship. He forgave sins — any sins. He says:
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
We worship Jesus Christ for He is truly God — our Savior from sin. He has opened the way to eternal life and won forgiveness and freedom for all people who receive Him as Lord. We give all glory to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Living a new life in Christ
One of the great joys of being of Christian is that our Lord invites us into a relationship with Him. He has begun this by taking humanity upon Himself and entering into our hurting world with the power to save and the love to pay the penalty for sin.
Christianity teaches that we cannot earn, nor do we deserve salvation. There is nothing we could do in the form of good deeds that stand before a holy, righteous, and just God (Isaiah 64:6). But in mercy and love, God came in the person of Jesus Christ to be our Savior. He brings peace and union with God as a free gift — unconditionally given to all who put there hope and trust in Jesus Christ as God and Lord. (John 3:16).
“Too easy!” “We’ve got to DO something,” you might say — and that’s certainly how it works in the business world. We get what we earn. But what if you owed so much that you had no hope of every paying it back? What would you do then? Jesus tells this story:
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents (millions of dollars) was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” (Matt 18:23-27)
If the Bible is right and we have a debt we cannot pay, then thank God that He chose to share His riches with those who are humble and seek His mercy, placing their trust and hope in Him. Love is a gift — we do not earn it (that would be wages) — it is always freely given. (See Ephesians 2:8-9)
The beginnings of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church go back to the late 1950’s when the members of Grace Lutheran Church, with support from the Colorado District, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, decided to start a new mission church in North Boulder. The District was able to purchase 15 building lots for $33,000 at 16th & Balsam. The congregation was formed and began worshiping temporarily at Howe Mortuary.
In September, 1956, Rev. Fredric Rhode was installed as the first pastor. Most of the 85 members of the congregation were transfers from Grace Lutheran. That same month, the congregation elected officers and officially called itself Mount Zion.
In April, 1957, ground was broken for construction of the new church. The building was finished in less than a year and by the time of its dedication in February, 1958, the congregation had grown to 364 members. In 1961, 12 Sunday School classrooms were added in the first of several building expansion projects. In that same year, Mt. Zion became a self-supporting congregation and began supporting several outside mission projects.
As Boulder continued to grow to the south, members of Mt. Zion and Grace planned for the opening of a new mission congregation. Mt. Hope was organized in 1964 and by 1966 they had installed their first pastor. Just prior to Mt. Hope’s opening, attendance at Mt. Zion was over 400 each Sunday. About 100 members transferred to the new church.
In 1969, a second building expansion was dedicated with added space for Sunday School classes and new offices for staff members. Changes were made to the congregation’s constitution in 1970 which allowed women to vote and hold office. A Board of Directors was tasked with operating the congregation.
Bible studies were expanded in the early 70’s. Children in grades 3-6 attended the Wednesday School of Religion. Men and women met on Tuesday evenings for Bible study. Over 350 women of the church and community gathered at Mt. Zion on Wednesday morning for Bible study under the sponsorship of Bible Study Fellowship. In 1974 the congregation purchased a new Allen digital organ. In 1976 Curt Genzlinger became the second full-time member of the staff, serving as Minister of Youth and Education.
Over the first 20 years of its existence, Mt. Zion was an “outreach congregation.” Bible study programs included Project Philip, Crossways, and BSF. Dial-the-Answer was a phone recording to show the plan of salvation to members of the community. Property was purchased in North Boulder for a future mission congregation. The annual Vacation Bible School consistently reached children who had little or no church connection. Mission funds were contributed to evangelistic organizations and the congregation was among the top congregations in per-member giving to Missions.
In 1984, after serving as Mt. Zion’s first and only minister, Pastor Rhode retired and the congregation once again sought God’s direction in finding his successor. In June, Rev. Neil MacLachlan of Brainerd, Minnesota accepted the Call and moved to Colorado. In August the congregation honored Pastor Rhode for his 28 years of service with a special reception.
After careful study, the congregation decided to open a preschool and called Gwen Marshall to be the first director and teacher. She was installed in August, 1986 and the first classes were held that fall. October marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of the congregation. Additional classes and teachers were added and by March, 1988, it was decided to add kindergarten and child care programs. The City of Boulder approved Mt. Zion’s request to expand to a full elementary school and Stephen Ott accepted to call to be principal and teacher of the school.
In 1995, after a year without a principal, Mrs. Cheryl Wu agreed to serve as both principal and early childhood director. Planning continued for a building expansion which would add classrooms, lunchroom, offices, and a full size gym to the campus. The capital campaign for the building program began in January, 1998, and loan approval came in June. The school addition was completed in the summer of 2000.
Pastor Mac announced his retirement and conducted his farewell service in November, 2000. After an extended interim, Rev. Allen Anderson accepted the call to become the third pastor of Mt. Zion and was installed in May, 2002. In 2005, the congregation celebrated 50 years of ministry and these closing words were written in the anniversary booklet:
“Looking back on Mt. Zion over the years, numerous changes have occurred: Pastors, church leaders, organizations, and the building itself. One thing hasn’t changed, however. In the words written for the 10th anniversary celebration: ‘Our goal to spread the word of God has not changed; our confidence to complete the good work has not withered.'”
Praise and Thanksgiving
Fifty Years of Mount Zion
-Becky Dimock, Delores Rhode
1680 Balsam Ave.
Boulder, CO 80304-3539