New Here?

This info focuses on what to expect if you’re new to worshiping with us. It also applies to any event you may participate in with us, with typical tweaks for the specific activity.

Worship Schedule

Sept.-June schedule: Sundays at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 AM

Sunday School at 9:45 AM (starts in worship,leads directly to education time)

More worship info

What should I wear?

Please wear what you’re comfortable worshiping in when you join us. You’ll see a variety of dress here, from jeans to business casual to “Sunday best.” Shorts are common in the summer. We’re more interested in worshiping together as a community than worrying about what people are wearing.

Visiting GSLC

Getting Here

100 West Luray Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301

By car:

By Metro or bus: 

Once You’re Here

  • Entrances are on the Braddock Road and Luray Avenue sides of the building.
  • Restrooms are near the Braddock Road entrance on the main level and downstairs (an elevator is also available).
  • If you’d like coffee, we have a Keurig in the lounge. You’re welcome to take it in with you to worship.
  • Please make yourself a nametag. You’ll see a rack with nametags - there are blank tags and markers near.
  • As you enter the worship space, an usher will give you with a worship bulletin/pamphlet.
  • Choose any seat in the worship space. An usher can help you find a seat if needed or answer any questions.

Kids are welcome in worship! 

At Good Shepherd we believe worship is for all God’s children. Children of all ages are welcome to fully participate in worship, and parents with young ones can feel comfortable knowing the sounds of children are part of our joyful praise.

If you’d like, children’s busy bags are available as you enter the worship space. An usher can help if you don’t see them.

Should you need to step out with your child during worship, there are speakers in the lounge so you can hear the service. Often the volume is turned down when not in use; the control is on the wall to the left of the couch. An usher can help if you don’t see it.

For those parents who prefer their younger children be cared for in a nursery setting during worship, we have a staffed nursery during the 9:45 AM service (10 AM in July and August). The service can also be heard via speakers in the nursery.

The Worship Service

Worship services in general, and their pattern, can be rooted in history and tradition, which to some, may seem old and restrictive.

We use a wide variety of worship forms and styles, some traditional and some more casual and contemporary. Lutheran worship is traditionally liturgical, which means it follows an arranged order. At Good Shepherd, we use different liturgies, depending on the season. The 6-8 liturgies provide diversity and also have a comforting rhythm for those newly- or not-so-newly familiar.

Whatever the liturgy, this is the typical pattern. If you join us on Sunday, this pattern is also noted in the service bulletin/pamphlet:


    The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.

    Prelude: Instrumental, piano or organ music before the service starts. A time in the worship space for reflection, meditation or prayer.

    • We begin worship in song with a gathering hymn, sung by all. You’re welcome to simply listen if you prefer.
    • A responsive greeting led by Pastor Jen or the assisting minister follows, usually a combination of speaking and singing.
    • An opening prayer is shared, followed by announcements.
  • WORD

    God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching and song.

    • A worship participant reads the first lesson (often from the Old Testament) and second lesson (often from the New Testament and usually from a portion called the Epistles). S/he also leads those gathered in responsively reading a portion of the Psalms.
    • Pastor Jen reads the Gospel (from one of the first books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).
    • Kids are invited forward for a children’s message, usually involving a real-life analogy kids can apply to one of the scripture readings. Often there’s props. Sometimes there’s candy :-)
    • Pastor Jen then offers a reflection, often called a sermon, on the scripture that’s been read. Video example
    • We sing another hymn or song, read aloud the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed, offer prayers, and share the peace with those gathered.
  • MEAL

    God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.

    • The choir sings at the 11 AM service as we receive an offering, which is our gift of thanks that’s used to build a #biggerTable and support GSLC ministries locally and globally.
    • We use a responsive pattern for collective confession of our individual wrongdoings and ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. As Lutherans, we believe that forgiveness is freely given by God as a gift of grace.
    • Through word and song, we prepare for and give thanks for the communion sacrament.
    • The Lord’s Prayer is said, read or sung by those gathered.

    Communion: This is Christ’s table and all are welcome here! Ushers guide those gathered to kneel or stand at or near the communion rail. All who are baptized receive the bread (gluten-free wafers are available) first and then wine or grape juice. As Lutherans, we believe in the real presence of Christ in, with and through the bread and wine. Children who haven’t had first communion preparation or all who haven’t been baptized receive a blessing at communion.

    • If you come to the rail but for any reason prefer not to take communion, simply cross your arms to indicate such.
    • If you prefer the gluten-free wafer, there’s a small bowl for you to select it from.
    • If you prefer grape juice, cross your arms to indicate such.

    God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.

    • As worship concludes, Pastor Jen offers a closing blessing, often called the benediction.
    • We sing a final hymn and are reminded of our calling and abilities to be God’s hands in the world.
    • If it’s your first time with us, you should receive a welcome/visitor bag on your way out. Please ask for one if we miss you! It includes information about Good Shepherd and a small gift--our thanks for visiting.
    • As we depart, we greet those around us. You’re invited to enjoy the postlude music in the worship space or grab a/another cup of coffee in the lounge. Feel free to linger a bit and chat with others as you’re comfortable.  

After Worship & During the Week

We offer Sunday School at 9:45 AM from September to June for children 2 years old through high school and welcome your kids to participate when you’re with us. Occasionally, discussions or presentations (sometimes called adult forum) are also held at 9:45 AM.

We hold a variety of service and learning activities at Good Shepherd or in the community throughout the week. Find schedules and details across the website, especially:

On our calendar

By age group:

On Facebook