Churchwide Organization

Since our beginning in 1988, the ELCA has been one church body organized in three expressions — congregations, synods and the churchwide organization. Each expression has its particular functions but all three together share a common mission of doing God’s work in the world and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Together, they ensure a solid foundation of leadership, active involvement in communities, opportunities for dialogue and diverse perspectives, creative partnerships, and support for members and ministries of the ELCA.

The churchwide organization is based out of the Lutheran Center in Chicago and functions with the ELCA’s 65 synods and nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states, Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands. The churchwide organization’s work and functions are guided by the Churchwide Assembly, the Church Council and four elected officers. Its staff and elected officers work at the Lutheran Center and in other locations around the world serving as administrators, advisors, conveners, partners and resource people for the ELCA and its ministries.

The ELCA also nurtures important connections with Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and related organizations. We work alongside 26 colleges and universities related to the ELCA, eight seminaries, more than 2,000 schools and early childhood education centers, campus ministries, outdoor ministries, social service agencies, and other agencies and institutions across the country and throughout the world. The work God calls us to do in the world is never done alone or in isolation, and the churchwide organization plays a key role in developing and supporting a culture of interdependence, diversity and common mission across all expressions of the ELCA and its partners.