Words We Use

In order to communicate better, we have created a list of common Brookfield Lutheran terms with how the leadership of Brookfield Lutheran uses them. Any word in italics in a definition is defined on the list as well.

Absolution: The pronouncement of Christ’s forgiveness to those who have confessed their sins. (See Confession of Sin for more.)

AC: Activity Center

Adult: Age 18 and up

BOD: Board of Directors

Body of Christ:

  1. The literal physical person of Jesus.
  2. A scriptural metaphor for the Invisible Church.

Church small “c”: Segments of the Invisible Church. At a large scale churches are worldwide organizations, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. At a small scale it is a local community where the Word and sacraments are present, such as Brookfield Lutheran Church. “Small c” churches are visible organizations and communities, as such, both unbelievers and the Invisible Church (believers) can and do gather together in “small c” churches.

Community: This term has two general elements. First, there is geographic location. The second is when two or more people with shared interests, beliefs, values, backgrounds, or goals communicate about these shared aspects.

Confession of Faith: Public acknowledgment of statements of belief in God and allegiance to said statements of belief.

Confession of Sin: Acknowledgement of our personal corruption of God’s good creation with the desire to receive forgiveness and not sin again.

Confession: An acknowledgement. At Brookfield Lutheran the term ‘confession’ should not stand alone. More clarity is conveyed when the phrases Confession of Faith and Confession of Sin are used.

Creature: All created living beings. (Includes angels and humankind)

Creed: A statement of belief.

Death: The ultimate corruption of God’s good creation; Satan’s victory over unbelievers and a temporary disruption in the lives of those redeemed by Christ.

Discipleship: Beginning with faith in Christ Jesus, it is the lifelong journey and practice of letting Jesus mold us into thinking and acting like him so we can live out his will for creation until he returns and completes our faith and his work in us. At Brookfield Lutheran this journey is encouraged and strengthened through four interwoven avenues:

  • Life in the Word: The Bible and the proper proclamation and teaching of that which pertains to: God revealing to us who Jesus is; His works of righteousness, justification, and redemption; and our need of His grace. This is the foundation of our faith.
  • Life in the Cross: The belief about the Word to which we submit. This belief is based upon and interprets Life in the Word of God. Submitting to this belief involves our dying to self, it affects how we see and live in creation.
  • Life in Service: The practice of loving God and neighbor through: Day to day self-sacrifice; Creation care; Outreach; Evangelism; our response to God’s promises in a worship service. This practice is the outcome of Life in the Cross.
  • Life in Mission: Specific undertakings in the Life of Service with which a person or a group is charged.

Dying to self: The attitude and choice of denying our self-centered desires in exchange for pursuing the will of God. It often also involves pursuing God’s will for the good of others.

Education: Instruction in knowledge and practice.

Evangelism: The ongoing sharing of the Gospel with someone who does not trust in Jesus with the goal of conversion.

Father: God and Creator of the universe. We are totally reliant on Him for all things.

Forgiveness: Through Christ, it is the removal of eternal accountability for sin, thereby reconciling us with God. It does not necessarily remove the earthly consequences that result from sin. We share the forgiveness and reconciliation that Christ offers with others.

Free Will: People have the ability to do some good and lots of evil. We can reject faith in Jesus Christ, but we cannot follow God’s command perfectly, earn God’s favor, or convert to faith in Jesus Christ. Conversion to faith in Jesus is an activity of the Holy Spirit.

God sightings: Hindsight acknowledgement of God’s gracious work according to his good purposes as we find revealed in scripture. Not dependent on our interpretation of whether what occurred was good or bad personally or for the world.

Gospel: Jesus—who is fully God—becoming human and living a life without sin, revealing the Father and his plan, dying on a cross in order to give forgiveness to the world, rising from the dead 3 days later proving himself to be the Son of God and securing eternal life with him for all those who trust in his work, and his eventual return to abolish sin once and for all.

Grace: Unmerited mercy, kindness, compassion, and favor.

Heaven: The current dwelling place of God in creation. Where the souls of those redeemed by Jesus go after death until the resurrection of the living and the dead and they are given eternal bodies in the new creation.

Hell: Eternal existence separated from the presence of God.

Holy Spirit: See Spirit

Hope: Present confidence in the fulfillment of the promises of God.

Invisible Church: Consists of all people who believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is invisible because faith resides inside a person. The Invisible Church is also known as the Church “capital C”, as in The Church. The Invisible Church is not any one institution, rather it is the people, so the Invisible Church exists anywhere and everywhere the people are.

Jesus Christ: The Son of the Father. Both truly God and truly Man. Our redemption, justification, and salvation are found in Him alone.

Justification: Being declared righteous before God on account of the death of Jesus.

Kingdom of God: The realm where God reigns. Satan, sin, and death have no place or power in this realm. Jesus’ death and resurrection adopt us into the realm. Through the Holy Spirit we see and live in it dimly now. Eventually, Jesus will return and the realm of God will be completely realized by those who trust in the promises of Jesus.

Law: The way God ordered the world to function.

Local: Relative term. For our use, within a 20 minute drive of the Brookfield Lutheran campus.


  1. General:  A person who through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus is now part of the Invisible Church.
  2. Specific: A person who is a baptized believer who is living out his or her discipleship by: contributing to, participating in, willing to receive care from, and being accountable to the Brookfield Lutheran family. 

Message: A proclamation of God’s revealed will in his Word during a worship service, including; pointing out wandering from God’s will, proclaiming the promises of God in Christ, and offering ways of correction.

Ministry:  A specific function or activity of an individual Christian or group of Christians which expresses the love and care of Jesus to another.

Mission: A Specific undertaking with which a person or a group is charged.

Missional: An adjective implying an intentional attitude or way of living.

New creation in Christ:  A person who through baptism into the name and work of Jesus Christ has been given life and purpose in the Kingdom of God.

Outreach: The intentional action of serving—in word and deed—people in order to open up avenues for Evangelism.

Proclamation: Announcing the Gospel so that it is heard, read, or seen.

Redemption: Being bought and rescued from our slavery to sin by the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Resurrection: The eternal bodily restoration and transformation of Jesus after his death on the cross. It is also the promise of eternal bodily restoration and transformation that occurs for all people on the Last Day of this world. Those who have faith in Jesus will share in the bodily restoration to eternal life in His Kingdom, and those without faith are restored in body to eternal condemnation apart from His Kingdom.

Righteousness: Not straying at all from the demands and obligations of the will of God.

Sacrament: Free gifts from God that Jesus commanded us to do. They combine a physical element with the Word. There is a promise of forgiveness attached to them. Lutherans therefore hold to two sacraments, baptism (water and the Word) and the Lord’s Supper (bread, wine, and the Word)

Salvation: The result of Jesus dying, taking our punishment and saving those with faith in him so they can be with him for eternity. He does this because we are unable to save ourselves from the peril of punishment by death and separation from God for going against his will and sinning.

Sanctification: The process that begins with one’s salvation, after which the Holy Spirit continues to work in believers as they submit to God’s will to put aside their sinful behaviors in exchange for behaviors that reflect their new life in Jesus. The process will be fully realized and finished upon Christ’s return.

Sermon: See Message

Service: The practice of loving God and neighbor through: Day to day self-sacrifice; Creation care; Outreach; Evangelism; our response to God’s promises in a worship service.

Sin: Everything that strays from or is in rebellion to God the Father’s will. It has subjected God’s good creation to corruption.

SLC: Spiritual Life Committee (elders).

Soul: The unseen essence of human beings that exists into eternity.

Sovereignty of God: God possesses power and authority over all things. He rules and works according to his purposes in the ways he sees fit, while allowing Free Will.

Spirit: Normally referring to the person and activity of the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Trinity; the life and faith giver and sustainer.

It may also refer to the essence and activity of unseen beings such as angels and demons.

The Cross: An upright stake, often with a crossbar, used for torture and execution. Jesus died upon one in his submission to the will of the Father.

The term can also be used for our submission to the Father’s will. See Matthew 16:24-27

Trinity: There is one God yet three distinct persons existing simultaneously; Father, Son (Jesus the Christ), and Holy Spirit.

WFLC: Worship and Family Life Center

Witness: Making known the truth of Jesus to others.

Word of God: The Bible and proper proclamation and teaching of that which pertains to: God revealing to us who Jesus is; His works of righteousness, justification, and redemption; and our need of His grace.

Worship: Beginning with the recognition of our place as creatures before our Father God, and our need of his grace and love in Jesus, we live our lives for his purposes and will by the power of the Holy Spirit. This occurs on a daily basis. See Worship Service for the definition of specific times of worship.

Worship Service: The times when Christians gather around the proclamation of the Word and respond in faith, praise, and adoration.

Brookfield Lutheran Church
18500 W. Burleigh Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53045
Office: (262) 783-4270
Fax: (262) 783-4616




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