A large “Welcome” sign greeted delegates and visitors as they assembled in the basement of a church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thursday, December 13, 1900. The primary topic of this conference was a vital issue for those in attendance: should the congregations present organize a church body called the Church of the Lutheran Brethren? It was quickly and unanimously agreed that such a step would be in harmony with the Word of God. On Tuesday, December 18 a decision of major significance was made. The Milwaukee meeting recommended to the newly formed denomination that China be the first foreign mission field of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren and that it undertake mission work to the country as soon as possible. In 1902 the Church of the Lutheran Brethren sent its first missionaries to China.
Mission to Asia
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren faithfully continued its mission to China until the communist takeover in 1949 closed the country’s door to international mission. Nearly 50 years later, four men returned to the region for a visit. They were blessed to discover that the indigenous Church had not only survived, but had increased approximately 70 times in size. Today, our mission work in Asia continues, with missionaries serving in Japan and Taiwan, and national church bodies having been planted in both.
Mission to Africa
When the first Lutheran Brethren missionaries sailed for China in 1902, very few members of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren were aware of the vastness of Africa or of the great spiritual darkness of her millions. After the great Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910, a mighty and swelling wave of concern for Africa’s lost souls swept over the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, and in 1918 the Church of the Lutheran Brethren sent the first missionaries to serve in the interior of the continent—a place that previously had no access to the Gospel. Today, the Church of the Lutheran Brethren is predominantly African, with national church bodies planted in both Cameroon and Chad, and over 275,000 worshiping each Sunday.