Mission History in Indonesia

1979: Two WELS pastors arrive.

Early 1980s: Third missionary arrives. Services begin.

Mid-1980s: A seminary is organized to train evangelists and pastors.

1994: Suspension of seminary program and withdrawal of missionaries because of government dispute. Later in the year, one WELS pastor returns as theological advisor.

1995: Six nationals ordained as pastors and four assigned as vicars. There are six congregations and four exploratory posts.

1998: Seminary is re-opened. Theological advisor’s family is evacuated but later returns. Five new students enroll in the seminary. A satellite seminary is established in Central Java. National pastors begin teaching in the seminary.

2001: Five more men complete seminary studies and are immediately assigned to the growing number of congregations. After the September 11 attacks, the theological advisor’s family is permanently recalled to the United States, a year and a half earlier than the formal withdrawal plans called for.

2002: Gereja Lutheran Indonesia has 11 congregations and nine exploratory posts, representing a 60 percent growth in membership in two years. Twenty-one national workers serve.

2003: Gereja Lutheran Indonesia is accepted into fellowship with WELS. The final step in church planting.

2004: Possibilities for home mission work by Gereja Lutheran Indonesia in Papua and West Timor are explored. The final step in church planting proposal is accepted by the Board for World Missions.

2005: Gereja Lutheran Indonesia sends a pastor and an evangelist to begin work in Papua. It also joins the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference.

2010: Gereja Lutheran Indonesia now has 32 congregations and posts; 12 of these are in West Timor. The church has 29 national pastors and evangelists, and in the last ten years has grown from 400 to 1,800 souls.

2011: WELS seminary professor begins service at Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Lutheran (STTL), Yogyakarta in July. The national church purchased land and built a central office in the provincial capital of Kupang, West Timor.  The building is also used as a worship facility.

2016:  A Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary professor visits Indonesia for a seminar sponsored by STTL.  There are discussions about developing regularly scheduled trips by visiting professors from WELS.  Initial steps to relocate STTL in central Java are underway.


Browse through and share pictures of Asia taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.