Church-Wide Organization – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Since our beginnings in 1988, the ELCA has been a church body organized in three expressions – congregations, synods, and churchwide organization. Each expression has its particular functions but all three share a common mission to do the work of God in the world and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Together, they provide a solid foundation of leadership, active involvement in communities, opportunities for dialogue and diverse perspectives, creative partnerships, and support for ELCA members and ministries.

The church-wide organization is based at the Lutheran Center in Chicago and works with ELCA’s 65 synods and nearly 10,000 congregations in all 50 states, the Caribbean and the US Virgin Islands. The work and functions of the churchwide organization are guided by the Church Assembly, the Church Council and four elected officers. Its staff and elected officials work at the Lutheran Center and in other places around the world as administrators, advisers, organizers, partners and resource persons for the ELCA and its ministries.

The ELCA also maintains important ties with Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partners and related organizations. We work alongside 27 ELCA-related colleges and universities, 7 seminaries, more than 2,000 early childhood education schools and centers, campus ministries, outdoor ministries, social service agencies and other agencies and institutions across the country and around the world. The work God calls us to do in the world is never done alone or in isolation, and church-wide organization plays a key role in developing and sustaining a culture of interdependence, of diversity and common mission through all the expressions of the ELCA and its partners.

Barry F. Howard