Who We Are
The Global Mission unit is responsible for the ELCA’s mission outside the United States, and serves as the channel through which churches in other countries engage in mission to our church.
Lutheran World Federation members vote during the 2003 LWF Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada.
The ELCA is part of the global “family” of 141 Lutheran churches that belong to the Lutheran World Federation. Within our global family, the ELCA has deeper, more intentional, bilaterial “companion church” relationships with many of these national Lutheran church bodies.
The ELCA’s global relationships are deepened by the ELCA Companion Synods Program, which pairs ELCA Synods with companion church bodies and dioceses around the world. This means that thousands of ELCA members are also engaged in global relationships through their congregations and synods, visiting one another, providing the roofs of new church buildings, inviting choirs to visit, making quilts, and more.
Pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia and the ELCA Southeastern Minnesota Synod during an Companion Synod exchange in Colombia.
With so many participants, the global Lutheran scene is complex! Recognizing this, the ELCA set the churchwide Global Mission unit in place to steward and facilitate faithful, sustainable, effective mission relations. The Global Mission unit is responsible for the ELCA’s mission outside the United States, and serves as the channel through which churches in other countries engage in mission to our church.
By listening faithfully to the voices of our companion churches, ELCA GM seeks to shape the “big picture” within which synodical and congregational relationships can flourish. By engaging as one through the Global Mission unit, the ELCA lives out God’s mission as we accompany one another in our global faith walk.
The goal of ELCA Global Mission
ELCA missionary Dr. Kristopher Hartwig and the management and hospice care teams of Bumbuli Hospital of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania plan outreach to HIV and AIDS patients.
ELCA Global Mission’s overall goal is to increase the capacity of both the ELCA and its companions in other countries to participate in God’s reconciling mission through proclamation and service.
On behalf of the ELCA, the Global Mission unit:
- Conducts church-to-church relations with national Lutheran church bodies called “companion churches”
- Calls and prepares missionaries for service in response to requests from companion churches
- Supports evangelism and other ministries through program grants to companion Lutheran church bodies
- Provides scholarships for international post-graduate study to global church leaders
- Works to alleviate poverty and meets human needs by funding long-term sustainable development projects using ELCA World Hunger Appeal funds
- Responds to international disasters through and with international church organizations and relief agencies on the ground using ELCA Disaster Response funds
- Connects ELCA members in North America to the global church through relationships and events.
Global Mission is God’s Mission
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea has more than 815,000 members. The ELCA accompanies the ELC-PNG through scholarships and personnel.
The church does not have a mission—the mission of God has a church! God
is in charge of God’s mission to the world. The ELCA’s tagline, “God’s work, our hands” unfolds this understanding. God drives the mission, and invites us into relationship to love and serve one another. With hundreds of other church bodies that collaborate in mission, the ELCA joyfully accepts God’s invitation. Through our hands, heart, and feet, God creates and nurtures the relationships that are instruments for reconciliation in God’s creation.