The Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as adopted by the Constituting Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (April 30, 1987) and as amended by the First (1989), Second (1991), Third (1993), Fourth (1995), Fifth (1997), Sixth (1999), Seventh (2001), Eighth (2003), Ninth (2005), Tenth (2007), Eleventh (2009), and Twelfth (2011) Churchwide Assemblies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reflect both the underlying theology of this church as well as its organizational principles and governance structures. They are ecclesial, legal, and missional documents. Thus, they commit this church in each of its expressions—congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization—to the centrality of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, carrying out Christ’s Great Commission, serving the neighbor in response to God’s love, worshiping God, nurturing members in the Word of God, and manifesting the unity given to God’s people in living together in Christ. At the same time, these governing documents also provide necessary organizational principles, structures, and policies for good order and meeting legal requirements. Taken together, these governing documents reflect the organic whole of this church in its interdependent relationships and as part of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
Although the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America began operation in 1988, its governing documents are rooted in Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and the experiences of predecessor church bodies. They incorporate important provisions that unite us as this church, yet provide organizational flexibility to congregations and synods. As such, they should facilitate ministry, not inhibit it.
We, as members of this church, find ourselves consulting these documents frequently to guide, direct, and assist us in mission and ministry together. They remind us again and again that this is not our church, but God’s church. As God’s people in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we have been “freed in Christ to serve,” and together we are doing God’s work. “God’s work. Our hands.”
Secretary David D. Swartling
September 15, 2011
Amendments to the Model Constitution for Congregations
Enmiendas a la Constitución Modelo para Congregaciones