Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


1. This term defines the activity of bringing the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ to people everywhere through word and deed, the obligation of the ch. collectively and of its mems. individually (Mt 28:18–20; Mk 16:15–16; Lk 24:46–48; Jn 20:21; Acts 1:8).

2. Many types of miss. expression have developed. The prime undertaking is the direct preaching of the Gospel. Other efforts include those in educ., health and medicine, agriculture, industry, economic development, concern for the handicapped, for the oppressed, for those experiencing discrimination, economic or soc. repression. Means used include mass communications, printed materials, audio-visual aids, radio, and TV.

3. Reasons for delay of Luth. world miss. efforts after the Reformation: (1) The seafaring and colonial govts. were RC; (2) Some held that the miss. command was limited to the apostles.

4. Gustavus* I sent pastors to Lapps (see Lapland) 1559. Swed. Luth. colonists in Am. supported efforts of J. Campanius* to reach Am. Indians 1643–48. P. Heyling* was in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) from 1634; tr. NT into Amharic. See also Weltz, Justinian Ernst von.

5. Miss. concerns of Frederick* IV of Den. and lack of miss. manpower in Den. combined to lead Frederick to contact A. H. Francke* at Halle, Ger., for missionaries to Dan. colonies in India. Pioneer work of the Dan.-Halle miss. was done by B. Ziegenbalg* and H. Plütschau.* See also Medical Missions, 6.

6. The work in India was supported by Eng. socs. with royal encouragement. For its further hist. see India, 10.

7. Frederick IV also founded a coll. for promoting the spread of the Gospel 1714. See also Egede; Westen, Thomas von.

8. Missions were encouraged esp. by C. Wesley* and J. Wesley* in Eng. and N. L. v. Zinzendorf* in Germany. Miss socs. est. as a result of miss. movements in the 18th and 19th cents. include Baptist* Miss. Soc. 1792, The London* Miss. Soc. 1795, Church* Miss. Soc. 1799, Wesleyan* Meth. Miss. Soc. 1813, Basel* Miss. Soc. 1815, Paris* Ev. Miss. Soc. 1822, Berlin* Miss. Soc. I 1824, Rhenish* Miss. Soc. 1828, Leipzig* Ev. Luth. Miss. 1836, Gossner* Miss. Soc. 1836, Neuendettelsau* Miss. Soc. 1849. Hermannsburg* Miss. 1849; other socs. were est. elsewhere (e.g., Scot. and Scand.).

9. When Luths. came to N. Am. they continued to show interest in missions of Eur. socs.; in various ways they often supported missions begun by Eur. groups.

10. As Luth. chs. in Am. grew they est. miss. socs. or bds. (see Central Missionary Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States). “The Society of the Synod of Pennsylvania for the propagation of the Gospel,” founded 1836, sent J. C. F. Heyer* to the E. Indies 1841 in search of a suitable miss. field; he chose India, arriving 1842. LCMS sent K. G. T. Näther* and F. E. Mohn* to India 1894. The Ev. Luth. Joint Syn. of Ohio* and Other States began work in India 1912, when it bought 2 stations of the Hermannsburg Miss. (see also India, 13). The Joint Ev. Luth. Syn. of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Other States (see Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) did Miss. work among Apache Indians beginning 1892 (see also Indians, Lutheran Missions to North American). It joined the other chs. of the Ev. Luth. Synodical* Conf. of N Am. in opening work in Nigeria 1936 and in 1953 began its own work in N. Rhodesia. Other missions have been est. in various countries by Luth. chs.

11. As a result of WW I, many missions related to Eur. chs. were orphaned because of internat. tensions. Already during the war much interch. help was given. To ensure that no miss. would be overlooked, various US bds. est. the Luth. For. Missions Conf. of (N.) Am. 1919; it disbanded at the end of 1966, when the Lutheran* Council in the USA became operative.

12. The Lutheran* World Fed., est. 1947, soon created an agency to help foster Luth. world miss. work.

13. More than 1,400 agencies, including at least 20 ecumenical and internat. organizations, are engaged in world missions. Ca. 600 miss. bds. or socs. or related groups in N. Am. send or support ca. 33,000 Prot. missionaries (ca. 70% of all missionaries). Of N. Am. Prot. missionaries, ca. 32% serve in Lat. Am., ca. 29% in Asia, ca. 29% in Afr., and ca. 10% elsewhere.

14. LCMS missions becoming chs. include India Ev. Luth. Ch. (see India, 13), Luth. Ch. of Nigeria (see Africa, C 14), The Ev. Luth. Ch. of Ghana (see Africa, C 11), The Luth. Ch. in the Philippines (see Philippines, Republic of the, 3), The China Ev. Luth. Ch. (see Taiwan), Wabag Luth. Ch. (see New Guinea, 6), The Luth. Syn. of Mex. (see Mexico, D 3), Japan Luth. Ch. (see Japan), Korea Luth. Ch. (see Korea, 5). Missionaries are at times loaned to or borrowed from other miss. and ch. related agencies.

Luth. chs. have been est. also in many other areas. HHK MLK

See also Bible Societies; all entries beginning with the words Mission, Missionary, and Missions; Theology.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online