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How the new association

—is different from LCMC

by Mark Chavez (Director, WordAlone Network)

January 25, 2005

Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) is a different kind of association than what WordAlone (WA) is proposing. photo of Pastor Mark ChavezWA created LCMC as a Lutheran church body, but a church body somewhat different from the existing Lutheran church bodies like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the others. “Church body” is Lutheran jargon for what most mean by “denomination.”

LCMC is different in that it is a looser association of like-minded churches than most church bodies. LCMC has no intention of building a big national office with a complex bureaucratic organization. It is not a top-down, hierarchical organization. Also, LCMC allows its member churches to belong to more than one church body. About half of LCMC's churches are both LCMC and ELCA churches.

There were two reasons why WA decided in 2000 to form what would become LCMC:

  1. To provide a place for the seminary graduates to go who refused episcopal ordination (in March 2000 there was no guarantee that the ELCA churchwide would allow for any non-episcopal ordinations).
  2. To offer a place for the relatively few number of churches that wanted to leave the ELCA, but did not want to join another existing Lutheran church body like the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or any of the smaller Lutheran church bodies.

The new association that WA is forming will be a different kind of association than LCMC. It will not begin as LCMC did, as a church body. WA intends it to be a grouping of ELCA churches that take a confessional stand against the ELCA churchwide organization wherever and whenever it departs from the orthodox faith of the Christian Church and conflicts with the Lutheran confessions.

The churches in the association will work together with all of the good ministries that are happening within the ELCA. In addition, the association will work together as partners with independent Lutheran agencies for global missions, youth ministry, development of educational materials and other ministries that the ELCA churchwide organization has let slide or dropped altogether.

The aim of the association will be to form a significant, non-geographic synod within the ELCA. LCMC has no such purpose. The primary focus of LCMC right now is to do mission and ministry outside the ELCA. The primary focus of this new association is to pull together ELCA churches to do mission and ministry together.

It is possible that in the future there will be a close working relationship between the association and LCMC. Ever since LCMC was established, WA and LCMC leaders have expressed the hope that while, for now, the organizations are moving along parallel tracks, at some time the tracks might come back together. For the time being however, LCMC is focused primarily outside the ELCA and WA is focused primarily inside the ELCA.