Economic Life

“Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” is the ELCA social statement on economic life. The statement expresses ELCA teaching that economic activity is a means through which God's will is served for the thriving and wellbeing of humankind and the care of the earth. It recognizes that even though sin distorts human activity, we are called to practice economic activity justly and with special concern for those who live in poverty.

In this work, the church is guided by the biblically grounded imperative of “sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all.” This means giving attention to the scope of God's concern (“for all”), the means by which life is sustained (“livelihood”), what is needed (“sufficiency”) and a long-term perspective (“sustainability”). The statement recognizes that these criteria may be in tension with one another, but it still provides a framework for discernment. Toward that purpose, it discusses commerce, law, vocation, public policy, work, human dignity, agriculture, business and efforts to empower those who live in poverty.

You can read or download the full social statement on “Economic Life: Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” in English or en español. The statement was adopted in 1999 by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

Social Statement (en)

Social Statement (esp)


Follow these links to find supplemental resources for understanding this social statement: