Home Missions History

1929: WELS serves primarily German immigrants with congregations in twelve states, mostly in the Midwest.

1950: There are no WELS churches east of Michigan and Ohio or south of Nebraska and Colorado (besides the Apache reservations in Arizona).

1953: Home Missions separates from World Missions in synod convention and becomes its own area of ministry.

1961: WELS has congregations in 16 states after splitting with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

1963: WELS calls the first full-time Home Missions administrator equivalent.

1965: WELS members rally behind the Board for Home Missions’ call to be in “Every State by ‘78”.

1983: WELS achieves its goal of having churches in every state.

1980s: Multi-cultural work through Home Missions is studied and launched. Today, approximately 20-30% of Home Missions’ budget supports multi-cultural ministry.

2000s: Due to synod financial struggles, Home Missions offers short-term enhancements to existing ministries who need temporary financial support rather than start brand new home mission churches.

2004: The Joint Mission Council is created to allow Home and World Missions to work together in multi-cultural situations, especially where immigrants who have joined our fellowship in North America are able to take the gospel back to friends and family in their country of origin

2013: The Board for Home Missions approves 16 new home missions: 12 new starts, 1 restart, and 3 enhancements.

2018: The Board for Home Missions approves 10 new starts, 5 enhancements, and 2 restarts, thanks in part to a $1 million special grant from WELS Church Extension Fund, Inc. (CEF).

2021: The Board for Home Missions approves financial support for home mission churches in seven new locations.

2022: The Board for Home Missions approves 12 new mission starts and enhancements.

Today: Home Missions supports 134 home mission congregations in 36 states, Canada, and English-speaking West Indies and financially supports 30+ campus ministry programs.