Pewcards (Divine Service — an Explanation)

We at BJS were deeply involved in generating this pewcard, so we periodically post information on it, letting new readers have the opportunity to educate the laity at their church on what the liturgy means. Pastor Timothy Rossow originally developed these for his church, Bethany Lutheran in Naperville. While I was working for a printing company I got his permission to make these available to the church at large. We reformatted the cards to fit behind hymnals in pew racks and modified the text somewhat. We had gone through three separate printings before the company decided they wanted to focus on what they do best. An independent lutheran layman has now done a fourth printing and is involved in continuing to distribute these to the church. He reduced the price to make them available to more people. Read the below and see if you might be interested in obtaining these for your church. We would be appreciative if you would help spread the word that these are available.


I’m pleased to announce that we are now on the FOURTH printing of the pewcards shown below. This card was prepared and printed so that it may help the laity better understand the liturgy and its richness. We have shipped it all over the country (though not Alaska or Hawaii yet!) including two orders to Canada! We’ve been pretty busy with other tasks and haven’t really done much to promote it other than word of mouth. We appreciate all of you who are helping to spread the knowledge of this great resource around the country.

Life-long Lutherans come to church each Sunday, open the hymnal to the right page, and are ready to worship. But a visitor coming in for the first time may find the order of service confusing and intimidating. Without an understanding of what the Divine Service means, they may leave and never come to experience the richness and deep significance of Lutheran worship. Some life-long Lutherans may have learned about the parts of the service as a teenager and are now saying them from memory without understanding what each part means.


DS-ExplanationMany of you have observed the “Explanation of the Divine Service” pamphlets that are found in the pew racks at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville while attending a conference or event there.

The Brothers of John the Steadfast have worked to make a version of this pamphlet available to the church at large. These pewcards have been so well received that a fourth printing has now been completed.  Some of the comments coming back to us are:

  • “We’ve always wanted to write something like this, but never had the time”.
  • “I’m thrilled with it — in addition to having it available as information for our visitors, I’m planning on having a 2- or 3- week Bible study, reading through this and expanding on the liturgy”.
  • “It’s well designed and fits nicely behind our hymnals”.
  • “These are great for visitors and members alike, and a good tool to help members learn why we worship the way we do”.
  • “These are great. We’ve had many positive responses from members and visitors alike”.

For more information about “The Divine Service — an Explanation”, or to order one or more for your church, click here. (you can view the text on the card there).


We gratefully acknowledge the work of Pastor Timothy Rossow who developed the first version of this publication.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Pewcards (Divine Service — an Explanation) — 11 Comments

  1. This is a great idea! I’m glad to hear that it has gained traction. I’m an LCMS layman in Hawaii and approached my pastor about having a similar card (I had in mind a communion card whose form was similar to the one put out by President Harrison) but was told that no one would read it. Based upon interactions I’ve had with people in my congregation, I don’t think they’d know what “The Divine Service” is. Nonetheless, thank you for producing these cards and for your service to the Church at large.

  2. Norm, I’ve had these in the pews in both Gloria Christi, Greeley, CO, and here in Pagosa Springs, CO where I am permanently relocated. They are an excellent resource and in Pagosa we have a ton of summer visitors and I often see them looking the brochure over. Great job putting these together!

  3. I wouldn’t depend on a “communion card” to convince anyone that you have closed communion! If the congregation is firmly “closed” that fact is prominently printed in the bulletin and it’s also read before the service of the Sacrament.

    Perhaps at least a few in your congregation would learn what the Divine Service is, if an explanation were in the pews? Of course, your Pastor would have to be following one of the printed orders in our hymnals, a parallel to the explanation. (Is that where the shoe pinches?)

  4. This begs the question, who are we trying to reach?
    The “life long Lutheran” or the visitor? Jesus said,”I have come to seek and save the lost.”

  5. @Alan Turley #4

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. I know many people in the pews who are “life-long lutherans” who haven’t studied in years; some of them have commented to me how they learned from these cards. Yes, it would be better for them to be in regular bible study, but perhaps this might pique their interest and get them studying a bit more. I also see visitors looking over the cards; hopefully they have a better understanding of what will happen as they prepare for service.

  6. @helen #3

    The Divine Service may have the elements is slightly different order (think LCMS LSB vs WELS CW) but they are the same elements with the same meaning and purpose. The pew card is only an explanation, not an order of service.

    @Alan Turley #4

    You ask, “…who are we trying to reach? The “life long Lutheran” or the visitor?”

    Yes. Both.

    That is to say, even a “life long Lutheran” may not be able to explain the Liturgy and a visitor may need an explanation. This pew card is helpful to both. It shows how our practice (and thus our belief) is soundly based on God’s word.

  7. I have a question about the part where it says, “We cannot approach God without having our sins forgiven.”

    Can’t the children of God, who are already living in His forgiveness, express themselves to their Heavenly Father at any time?

    “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

    Furthermore, God is already and always close to those whom he loves: We have been united with Christ (Rom. 6:5, 1 Cor. 6:17), the Holy Spirit Himself lives in us (1 Cor. 6:19) and Jesus has promised to be with us to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20).

  8. @Carl H #7

    You can express yourself any time, but prayer is not the Means of Grace. That is the whole point of going to church–forgiveness of sins through the Absolution, Baptism, Word (Gospel, sermon), and Lord’s Supper.

  9. These are great! Saw them at Zion in Tomball, TX. Just ordered a bunch for our congregation.

  10. Hi! I am on our Board of Parish Ed and we would like to incorporate these pewcards in our church. We have a member who has a local printing company. Are we allowed, with your permission, to have him print these for our large church? Or, do we have to have them printed through the company above? Please let me know. Thank you!

  11. @Stephanie F #10

    Please order from the online ordering form at . Use the contact information on the online ordering form to request any special pricing consideration you may require.

    My goal is to personally guarantee uniformity of content, presentation, and ruggedness of the pew card. The only “advertising” is the visibility of the cards themselves. A single production source enables this.

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