WELS by the numbers

As a Christian church body, our calling is to nurture the faith of our members and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Everything about the way we're organized is designed to serve that dual purpose.

We are the third largest Lutheran church body in America with 1,278 churches; 380,728 baptized members; and 300,665 communicant members.

We have 12 districts to allow for more area-specific ministry, personal contacts, and member involvement.

Arizona-CaliforniaDakota-Montana
MichiganMinnesota
NebraskaNorth Atlantic
Northern WisconsinPacific Northwest
South AtlanticSouth Central
Southeastern WisconsinWestern Wisconsin

We support work in world mission fields like Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, Albania, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia. We also support mission work in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies.

WorldwideUnited States
520 congregations1,278 congregations
80,176 baptized members380,728 baptized members
194 preaching stations19 preaching stations
8 teachers2,377 teachers
149 national pastors1,394 pastors
34 student pastors 1,342 students training for the public ministry
192 national evangelists 95 staff ministers
30 national vicars24 seminary student vicars
362 Bible Institute students19 non-traditional pastoral students
168 seminary students109 seminary students

We maintain Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis., and two preparatory high schools: Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wis., and Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich., for the education of our pastors, teachers, and staff ministers.

Our congregations—either individually or as federations—operate one of the largest Lutheran school systems in the country with 316 Lutheran elementary schools; 403 early childhood ministries; 23 area Lutheran high schools; and Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis.

We run one of the largest Christian prison ministries in the nation, distributing hundreds of thousands of Bibles and Bible correspondence courses to inmates across the United States over the last 20 years.

We are a member of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, an organization of 21 confessional church bodies throughout the world.

Statistics are taken from WELS' 2012 Statistical Report. School enrollment numbers are from the 2012-13 school year.