God blesses us every day in so many ways that it’s easy to take those blessings for granted. That’s true for us as individuals, and it’s also true for us as a synod. This annual report is intended to review some of the ways that God has blessed our work together during the past year.

The blessings begin close to home, as well-trained pastors and teachers serve our congregations with God’s Word. We will want to remember that those workers are gifts of God and are able to serve us because God himself has sent these workers into his harvest field.

We will look back on how God blesses our congregations as they gather around Word and sacrament and as their members reach out into their communities with the good news of our Savior and with Christian love and compassion for those in need.

Looking a little farther beyond our own congregations, we have seen how God has blessed the first year of our “100 missions in 10 years” effort, with 10 new home missions established and 10 existing ministries enhanced to enable them to serve more people with the gospel.

Then we look to see what God has been doing to bring his saving message to people of all cultures and nations. Cross-cultural ministry has been expanded here in the United States and beyond. God is giving us numerous new opportunities to reach the lost in places like Vietnam, Africa, and Asia. He’s not only giving us the opportunities, but he is also providing the manpower and opening the hearts of WELS people to support those efforts with their thank-offerings.

God’s mercies and blessings are new every morning.

He proved it every day during the past year, and he will continue to prove it in the year to come.


Rev. Mark Schroeder, WELS President


As a Christian church body, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s calling is to nurture the faith of our members and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

WELS is the third largest Lutheran church body in the United States with 1,243 churches, 335,648 baptized members, and 269,032 communicant members.

WELS has 12 districts to allow for more area-specific ministry, personal contacts, and member involvement.

WELS congregations—either individually or as federations—operate one of the largest parochial school systems in the United States. This system includes 280 Lutheran elementary schools, 356 early childhood ministries, and 30 area Lutheran high schools. Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis., a liberal arts college for Christian men and women, is a WELS-affiliated ministry.

WELS maintains four schools for the education of our pastors, teachers, and staff ministers—Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis.; Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn.; Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wis.; and Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich.

WELS supports work in mission fields in the United States and in countries around the world.

WELS is a member of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, an organization of 34 confessional church bodies throughout the world.

Five separately incorporated entities work closely with WELS to provide resources necessary to carry out WELS’ ministry.

Known as the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, the synod’s headquarters in Waukesha, Wis., houses WELS’ areas of ministry and support staff as well as the subsidiaries, WELS Archives, and the WELS Visitor Center.

From collections that document the administration of WELS to individual congregational records, the WELS Archives helps preserve and share the history of our synod. Visit for more information.

Tours to the WELS Visitor Center may be scheduled by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling 414-256-3200.




baptized members


communicant members


early childhood ministries


Lutheran elementary schools


area Lutheran high schools


“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

The purpose of WELS’ ministerial education program is the preparation of candidates for the public ministry of the gospel. Pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and missionaries are prepared to proclaim Christ’s love in the congregations, schools, and mission fields of our fellowship. WELS supports ministerial education on three levels at four schools—Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.; Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn,; Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis.; and Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich.

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) prepares men to serve in the…

Martin Luther College

Pictured above: The Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society sponsored…

Preparatory Schools

  Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich., and Luther…


World Missions

WELS World Missions conducts gospel outreach in 45 countries…

Home Missions

Pictured above: Joseph Lindloff was installed as the new home…

Joint Missions

WELS Joint Missions supports mission opportunities that are the…


WELS Congregational Services

WELS Congregational Services exists to encourage and equip congregations…

WELS Christian Aid and Relief

WELS Christian Aid and Relief reflects Christ’s love and compassion…

Support Services

Planning for 175th anniversary underway The 175th anniversary…


WELS Foundation

For Don and Joyce Frisque, supporting Christ’s gospel ministry…

Financial Services

Financial Services provides finance and accounting services that…

WELS Benefit Plans

The WELS Benefit Plans Office (BPO) serves WELS and Evangelical…

Northwestern Publishing House

Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) provides Christ-centered,…

WELS Church Extension Fund

WELS Church Extension Fund, Inc., (WELS CEF) provides financing…

WELS Investment Funds

Since 1997, WELS Investment Funds has been providing investment…