The Lutheran Church is one of the major Christian churches. It is the largest Protestant church in the world numbering more than sixty million people. The greatest numbers of Lutherans are in northern Europe and the USA. In Australia and New Zealand almost 255,000 people call themselves Lutherans. The Lutheran Church dates back to the Reformation of the 16th century, when Martin Luther rediscovered the central teaching of the Bible, namely: Jesus has done everything necessary to reconnect people with God, and so live lives of fulfilment, meaning, peace and hope. The name ‘Lutheran’ was given to people who believed that Martin Luther was right in his interpretation of the Bible. The Lutheran Church has been in Australia and New Zealand for over 150 years. In the 1830’s small groups of Lutherans emigrated in search of religious freedom. They settled mainly in rural areas in various parts of the country. Today, the Lutheran Church is made up of people from rural and urban areas and many different cultural backgrounds.
Bible-based preaching and the sacraments of baptism and holy communion are central in Lutheran church services. Lutherans use both traditional and modern worship styles.
The church provides Christian education for all age groups. The Lutheran school system has kindergartens, pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools throughout Australia, with over 40,000 students. Congregations provide Sunday schools, confirmation courses, adult Bible study groups, and inquirers' classes. Australian Lutheran College offers theological education to clergy, teachers, parish workers, and laypersons.
The church's expanding program of care for the needs of the community includes childcare centres, family shelters and support agencies, welfare centres, singles ministry, youth ministry, retirement villages, infirmaries, and world relief.
The church reaches out to the community through the ministry of its congregations and schools, radio and television programs, and the distribution of Christian literature. Lutheran missionaries have served among Australian aborigines and in Papua New Guinea for over 100 years. The Lutheran church also supports the work of churches in SE Asia.
To find out more about the Lutheran Church in Australia, visit their website at lca.org.au