Editor's Note: Today I'm kicking off an "Exploring Our Faith" series in Grayslake that highlights our local places of worship. If you'd like to see your place of worship featured in this series, contact me, editor Korrina Grom, at email@example.com. Take a look at the Faith Series I've been working on in Libertyville!
Lord of Glory might not look like your typical church.
When guests and members walk in, they're greeted in a spacious area that's got a coffeehouse vibe. There are comfy couches, flat-screen televisions, a seating area with tables, a coffee shop-like area and even a see-through fireplace that provides a view of Pastor Brian Davies' office on the other side. There is even free Wi-Fi.
That relaxing, welcoming atmosphere was exactly what church leaders had in mind when they designed the space—including the new sanctuary—and broke ground on the project in summer 2012. The expansion at the Grayslake church officially opened in January of this year.
"For so many people, church is another world," said Davies. "We wanted to design a space that instead said, 'You're entering your family room.'"
The expansion also includes a larger space for the church's food pantry, which serves more than 2,000 people a month. The food pantry was previously housed in a small closet.
"The Lord has really opened up the doors for us," said Davies. "What we're trying to do as a church is not be an isolated entity, but to be a beacon of hope for the community."
Lord of Glory Lutheran Church, located at 607 W. Belvidere Road (Route 120), started meeting about 17 or 18 years ago in a Grayslake office complex. From there, the congregation moved to Grayslake Middle School before settling at the current location.
"Then, as the church was growing, we decided we needed a better front door for the community," said Davies.
A part of the The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Lord of Glory is "primarily and chiefly a Christian church.
"We believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's son," said Davies. "We exist to share that message."
But Davies said when the church doors open on Sunday mornings, it's not assumed that people will come to hear that message.
"We have to be very thoughtful and passionate about reaching out to the community," said Davies.
The church reaches out to the community in a variety of ways, including through the Alpha program, which Davies said is a place where non-Christians or those who have left the church can ask questions and not be judged.
The church is also home to Gloryland Preschool, which began in 2001 and "brings children in contact with the love of Jesus through songs, prayers and Bible stories," according to the church website.
There's also Adult Bible Study, Sunday School and youth activities.
'Message of Hope'
"We have a strong belief that we have a message of hope," said Davies. "The world does a really good job of beating up people. We have a God who redeems and we want to introduce (people) to that God. We want to get as many people as possible to come along with us."
While the church doesn't specifically track membership, Davies said there are probably more than 500 people who attend Lord of Glory.
"We really count how many disciples we're reaching," said Davies.
Davies, who joined Lord of Glory as its pastor in 2009, works with other local pastors on that same mission. The group, known as "Christ Together," meets regularly, and the churches have even joined forces on community projects, like volunteering at Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville.
"We're all on the same team: Team Jesus," said Davies.
Lord of Glory Lutheran Church offers two services—a traditional service at 8 and a contemporary service at 10:30—and a third may be added in the future.
"Our church is not a stoic hour. It's a busy, noisy hour—and we love it," said Davies.