The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is a communion of churches that express their Lutheran identity and calling to God’s mission today in their respective settings and globally.

From 2019-2022, the LWF will engage in a global study of contemporary Lutheran identities as they are lived in the local church contexts. The study process will feature dynamic theological reflection and creative opportunities for participation aimed at listening for the ways in which we sound the common notes of Lutheran identity among the rich harmony of lived, contextual identities across our communion.

The goal of this process is to experience the diverse ways of spirituality and mission in which our member churches embody the Lutheran tradition in diverse cultural, contexts. Within new horizons of economic, political, scientific, technological and psycho-social developments, we want to discern ways in which we creatively express law and gospel, faith and works, nature and grace, justification and sanctification, freedom and vocation – marks of our common Lutheran heritage.

  • Phase 1 of this inductive process of mutual discernment and discovery began with a rich experience of our diversity in unity in a vibrant consultation on the theme, “We Believe in the Holy Spirit: global perspectives on Lutheran identity,” hosted by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in Addis Ababa in October 2019. You can access and share the report, videos and interviews from the consultation below.

    Rooted in the Bible, and our common confessions and catechism, consultation participants experienced the diversity of Lutheran spirituality and theology. It was summarized succinctly by one participant who commented, “I belong to the Lutheran family with one, but diverse identity. Our unity is based on what the Holy Scripture teaches regarding the Holy spirit and our Lutheran traditions, though our practices of common faith are shaped by diverse contexts...all deeply believe we serve and glorify the same Lord. Some of our churches have experienced Christianity for a century or less while others have many centuries of experience and resources. The Spirit is working in a way that we can learn from each other”.

  • Phase 2 will last from 2020-2021, and will be constituted by an intentional engagement with member churches and local communities in a process of research and collecting input regarding Lutheran identity today. The COVID-19 crisis has caused a delay, and necessitated a new approach to this stage of the process. But while we will not be able to access LWF regional leadership spaces or regional gatherings, we hope to have many creative channels for input (video, creative projects, poetry, photography, hymnody, etc.).

    Title Type Language
    Discussion guide EN | DE | ES | FR | PT | SW
    Lutheran Identity Survey EN | DE | ES | FR | PT | SW

    One way to increase communion wide participation in phase 2 will be through monthly webinar meetings entitled Being Lutheran. The aim of these webinars is to explore the findings of the Addis consultation. Speakers from across the communion will be invited to deepen our theological reflection on these themes, and provide a creative, dialogical space to increase participation in the study process. Being Lutheran webinars will be open to any member of the LWF who is able to register online. Details about the webinars and information about access will be available and updated on the LWF website.
    Being Lutheran - webinar series

At the beginning of the next 500 years of the Lutheran tradition, this study process considers Lutheran identity in relationship to the work of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, our self-understanding begins with the freedom of God and the Spirit’s ongoing work to renew and reconcile all creation. Continuing this work begun in Jesus Christ, the Church is called and gathered in communities where we are enlightened and equipped by the Spirit, through the means of grace to bear the creative and transformative fruit of Love.

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