Globally Lutheran membership jumps by nearly two million

Africa’s Lutheran churches saw their total membership increase over the past year by nearly two million, boosting the total number of members of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) worldwide to more than 68.3 million.

The Geneva-based federation says that Lutheran churches in Asia also registered an increase overall in the period, while slight decreases were again recorded in other world regions.

With an increase of 368,861 members, or 8.2 per cent, to 4.87 million, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the largest LWF member church in Africa, now becomes the second largest worldwide.

The largest LWF church is the Church of Sweden, which remained nearly unchanged over the course of 2007, with a slight drop of 0.03 per cent to reach 6,893,901 members. Still, Germany remains the country with largest overall Lutheran count at 12.63 million, but they belong to different churches, some of which are organized on a regional basis.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches

7 comments on “Globally Lutheran membership jumps by nearly two million

  1. robroy says:

    The similarities between the Anglican church is interesting to develop. I believe that the attendance on any given Sunday in Sweden is less than 1% of the population. I think we will see reverse colonial Christian witness amongst the Lutherans. I wonder if they will have border crossing as well.

  2. Augsburg says:

    More evidence that the Biblically orthodox Global South is set afire by the Holy Spirit, while we in the Global North are allowing the flame to die.

  3. Harry Edmon says:

    FYI – not all Lutheran denominations belong to LWF. In the US the LCMS and WELS do not belong, but the ELCA does.

  4. The_Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Two Million? Goodness gracious…

  5. Marion R. says:

    This again brings up a question I wonder about from time to time: how do Africans understand mainstream protestant denominational differences? What, if anything, do they think are the differences among Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, etc?

  6. New Reformation Advocate says:

    The Lutheran World Federation counts members like the Anglican Communion Office does, using maximal figures, including huge numbers of nominal members (at best). Thus while the article notes that worldwide, the LWF claims some 68.3 million members, that is as ridiculous as the ACO claiming there are “80 million” Anglicans in the world.

    The surprise for me was discovering the large number of Lutherans in Ethiopia. I knew there were substantial numbers in Tanzania and Namibia, as in other former German colonial areas, but Ethiopia? Exciting things are happening in the Global South.

    David Handy+
    Native of Sioux Falls, SD, which is definitely Lutheran territory

  7. Todd Granger says:

    Yes, robroy, they have had diocesan border crossings in Sweden since February, 2005, when the first bishop was consecrated by Presiding Bishop Walter Obare of the Lutheran Church in Kenya (along with other bishops, including the Byelorussian Lutheran bishop) for what is known as the Mission Province in the Church of Sweden:

    The Mission Province bishops have been ordaining priests for work in their koinonia groups for the past three years.

    The homepage of the Missionsprovinsen is here:

    See other links and entries along these lines here (in reverse chronological order):

    The Svenska Kyrkan, far from being the robust body suggested by the numbers in the article, is in profoundly serious trouble (the aforementioned Sunday attendance figures are emblematic), with near-total control by the secular political parties in Sweden (!) and with evangelical catholic Christian faith under siege.