Who are we?

Lutheran Women's Missionary Society

Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society is made up of mission-minded women of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) as well as women belonging to congregations that share fellowship with the WELS. As modern Christian women we follow the biblical examples of women who shared the same privilege and responsibilities to carry out God’s work.

Women began meeting together as early as 1958 in the Mississippi River Valley area to share information on missions and other activities of the WELS. The inaugural convention was to have happened in the summer of 1963, but the officers of the synod wanted to further examine all aspects of the foundling group, so the first Convention did not happen until June 27, 1964 at St. Matthew’s Church in Winona, MN. The people in attendance numbered 256, and the attendees adopted the mission statement and constitution. Erna Speckin was elected the first LWMS President. The theme of that first convention was “Oriental Harvest.” These forward-thinking women saw the opportunity to participate in work being done halfway around the world from their own homes and congregations.

Today, LWMS counts approximately 900 member congregations that are organized into 60 circuits across the U.S., Canada, and the West Indies. Every woman in a member congregation is by virtue of her church membership a member of LWMS.

Nine officers make up our Board of Directors, and they serve many hours on a volunteer basis. In addition, two part time employees operate our Central Office in West Allis, WI. They can be contacted at 414-321-6212 or by e-mail at centraloffice@lwms.org. Volunteers are always welcome to assist on a variety of non-elected and elected levels. God has put many gifted and talented women in our midst!

What is our mission?

The mission statement of LWMS is: “LWMS is women dedicated to serving Jesus by increasing awareness of, interest in, and support of the mission outreach of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).” We want to encourage women (and men) to learn about, pray for, and support with their offerings our mission efforts here in North America and around the world. We have sisters and brothers in the faith in over 24 countries around the world being served by WELS missionaries, going where we cannot go.

What do we do?

Local circuits hold rallies twice yearly wherein active LWMS members meet to hear mission speakers, worship together, and sponsor mission projects of their choosing. In addition, LWMS hosts an Annual Convention that brings together members from across the country and around the world. Attendance at these conventions can range from 800 – 1600 women. Conventions have been held in such places as Tacoma, Washington, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado. We typically have four to six mission speakers from here at home in the US and from around the world. We also have a selection of seven to eight workshops. Information on this year’s convention can be found by clicking the convention link on the LWMS home page.

The Befriend A Mission (BAM) program administered by LWMS is another way that we encourage individual congregations and persons to support, pray for, and communicate with our home and world missionaries. Every called WELS home or world missionary is matched with a circuit for mutual support through prayers, letters and cards, and small gifts when possible. Missionaries have expressed their gratefulness for this program. One missionary wife wrote, “My husband and I surely treasured those expressions of love from strangers that were our brothers and sisters in the faith.” The meaning of this support is truly priceless.

In addition to sharing spiritual support, encouragement, and educating people about missions, LWMS also collects mission offerings from our members and convention attendees. We are happy to say that 100% of mission offerings go towards mission work. It is estimated that in the 40+ years since the inception of LWMS, approximately $4,250,000 have been given to missions. Though raising money is not our most important goal, we are happy that we can contribute to the non-budgetary projects that our missionaries and their administrators feel worthy. Projects that are in need of support can be found in our Home and World Missions Projects booklet.

Why do we do it?

The work of LWMS is urgent. Though we may have the knowledge and comfort of Jesus’ gift of salvation, millions of souls in this world do not know their Savior and are in despair. Every day we have the opportunity to give someone the greatest gift, the gift of God’s Word, with the message of their Savior. As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the early Roman church “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!‘” Join us in this good work!