My wife and I are members of an ELCA church. She joined this church in 1998 and I joined in 2004. She was raised Lutheran while I was raised Baptist. Neither one of us understood that there were separate factions within Lutheranism and that certain beliefs were different. We have stayed with our congregation because the majority of them are like us- we believe homosexuality is a sin and that abortion is murder. Recently we have hired a pastor that is very liberal and is pushing his views on the congregation. The two of us have discussed in length that it is past time for us to find a church that is more in line with our views. The research I have done shows that a WELS congregation would most likely be a better fit for us. My question is how welcome would we be in a WELS congregation if we decide to become members? Will the congregation judge us for being members of an ELCA church? This is very important to me because I have not felt God's presence during worship for a long time and am about to stop going to church altogether.
In the last congregation I served as pastor, I can think of members who had been Roman Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, ELCA, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, non-denominational—just to name a few. There was not any problem for those people to feel welcome in the congregation. There was a recognition on the congregation’s part that people come into a church family at different times of life and from different backgrounds. What was important was the present common faith.
I would encourage you and your wife to speak to the pastor of the local WELS congregation. He will be glad to explain to you in more detail the teachings and practices of our church body and how you might join our fellowship. God bless you.