Global Mission

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith.” Colossians 2:6–7a.

Rooted and built in Jesus! This is the core of our work as the ELCA walks with more than 80 companion churches in other countries to participate in God’s reconciling mission through proclamation and service. Participating in these relationships, ELCA members see how people’s lives are touched by the gospel, how their lives are transformed and renewed, and how their communities live in hope. Our living, daring confidence in God’s grace propels us, along with our companions, to say “yes” to a world searching for renewal and wholeness. As part of a global Lutheran community, we gratefully receive the witness of global brothers and sisters whose faith, hospitality, resilience and zeal energize us and our own congregations. In response, we share our gifts and talents to address the root causes of poverty and hunger and meeting human needs, fight HIV and AIDS, build communities that coexist in peace, and prepare women and men to preach the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Walking and working together, we seek to accompany our companions. Accompaniment is defined as walking together in a solidarity that practices interdependence and mutuality. The ELCA lives out accompaniment in relationships with global companions, striving to share God’s love and participate in God’s mission together:
  • Mutually: All of us have gifts to support God’s mission. There is no mission to, only mission with and among.
  • Inclusively: We seek to build relationships across boundaries that exclude and divide.
  • Vulnerably: Just as Jesus became vulnerable to us, we open ourselves to others.
  • Empowering: We seek to identify and correct imbalances of power, which may mean recognizing and letting go of our own.
  • Sustainably: To ensure local ministries last for a long time, we seek to embed mission in ongoing relationships and communities.
Flourishing, long-term, mutual relationships strengthen the worldwide Lutheran community as they deepen our global mission engagement. The church-to-church relationship between the ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, for example, includes 20 more relationships between ELCA synods and Tanzanian dioceses. With over 120 such relationships, the ELCA Companion Synods Program connects thousands of Lutherans, who share joys and sorrows, pray together, and collaborate on mutually beneficial ministries — most notably as a member of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 143 member churches in 79 countries worldwide. Because we can do more together than we can as individual congregations, ELCA Global Mission:
  • stewards the international web of ELCA relationships
  • listens to companion church bodies and responds to their priorities in mission with program grants and personnel
  • receives the gifts of Christian witness from the global church in order to build our own capacity for witness
  • funds long-term, sustainable development projects and responds to international disasters
  • calls and prepares mission personnel for service in response to requests from companions
  • provides scholarships for international post-graduate study to global church leaders
  • provides tools to equip ELCA members for faithful global engagement.
As an ELCA member, you already walk with companions and participate in God’s mission. In these pages you can also find out how to serve as a missionary, get involved in a companion synod relationship, make a gift to global mission, learn more about accompaniment, and find resources and events that equip you for global engagement.