Mission History in Nigeria
1935: The Synodical Conference of North American surveys Nigeria as a potential mission field at the request of Ibesikpo church leaders.
1936: Lutheran mission work begins in Nigeria when when Dr. Henry Nau (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) and his wife arrive for preparatory work.
1937: Dr. William Schweppe and his wife Leola (WELS) arrive to lead the mission. Working with established Ibesikpo churches, the Lutheran Church of Nigeria took shape.
1944 – 1948: 11 expatriates are added to the missionary staff, including Norbert Reim, George Baer, Edgar Greve, William Winter, Alvin Werre, and teachers E. J. Baer and R.A. Spangenberg. from WELS.
1962: The Lutheran Church of Nigeria numbers more than 33,000 baptized souls in approximately 200 congregations and preaching stations, served by 18 Nigerian pastors, 18 missionaries, and many other workers.
1961: The Lutheran Church of Nigeria decides to remain affiliated with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod after the breakup of the Synodical Conference. Today the Lutheran Church Nigeria, partnered with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, continues to thrive with 80,000 members and 72 Nigerian pastors.
1969: A group of 15 congregations, one pastor, two students nearly ready to be ordained, and many lay members from the Anang clan break away from the Lutheran Church of Nigeria for reasons of doctrine and practice. They form Christ the King Lutheran Church of Nigeria.
1981: WELS declares fellowship with Christ the King Lutheran Church of Nigeria.
1990s: Christ the King Lutheran Church of Nigeria opens Christ the King Lutheran Seminary. WELS calls two missionaries as temporary resident seminary instructors to help the effort. Seminary classes are taught in a newly-built mission house and seminary building in the village of Uruk Uso, Abak local government area.
1991: Another group of 21 churches withdraw from the Lutheran Church of Nigeria over doctrine and practice and become All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria. This group is in the Ogoja area, at the north end of Cross River State.
1994: The first class from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary graduates.
1998: The first president of All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria discovers a Christ the King congregation in Calabar and begin discussions to explore declaring fellowship.
2000: Christ the King and All Saints declare fellowship in January.
2001: WELS officially declares fellowship with All Saints in August. Students from All Saints travel to Uruk Uso to join the Christ the King students. The three-year seminary program teaching load is split between Nigerian pastors and short-term visiting WELS pastors.
2004: Eight men graduate from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary.
2008: Ten men graduate from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary.
2015: Eleven men graduate from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary.
2014: WELS calls a missionary to serve Nigeria for the first time since the 1950s. Pastor Douglas Weiser accepts the call to be a visiting missionary to Nigeria after visiting since 1997 and serving as WELS Liaison to the field from 2002 to 2014.
2017: Pastor Weiser retires in June, and Missionary Jeff Heitsch is called to serve Nigeria half-time from Cameroon. Due to political unrest in Cameroon, Missionary Heitsch is able to make only two visits to Nigeria before returning to the U.S. Missionary Dan Kroll is relocated to Lilongwe, Malawi, and serves Nigeria remotely.
2019: Christ the King celebrates their Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) of the founding of their synod in 1969. The seminary program restarts with 20 students.
2022: The joint seminary graduates 18 new pastors (Nine for Christ the King and nine All Saints). Due to security concerns, missionaries still cannot visit. Missionary Kroll and other One Africa Team members are able to meet with several national pastors and potential future students outside of Nigeria.
Consider supporting this mission field with your prayers and your gifts.
Browse through and share pictures of Africa, taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.