Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Missouri Synod membership, contributions decline

Second largest Lutheran group lost 23,000 members in last count.

Baptized membership in the country’s second largest Lutheran church body declined in the 2004-2005 counting period. So did financial support.

There were 2,440,864 baptized members in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) at the end of 2005, down from 2,463,747 the previous year. Confirmed membership de-creased by 9,554 during the same period.

Membership tallies for 2005 were based on reports from 81% of the Synod’s 6,144 congregations. For the 19% which did not send in statistical reports, the previous year’s numbers were used.

The financial picture was no less gloomy. Contributions from members to congregations during the same reporting period declined, from $1,307,764,010 in 2004 to $1,296,818,738 in 2005. The figures do not reflect gifts by LCMS members to other entities related to the LCMS.

The number of baptisms, confirmations and Christian education programs & students all declined. But the number of adults received through “profession of faith” went up — from 12,868 to 13,114, an increase of 236.

The Synod’s statistician reported one note of hope: “backdoor” losses in the LCMS are fewer than before. These are members removed from rolls due to inactivity.