It all started in the fall of 2004
The voters in two congregations of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod voted to leave the LCMS and become independent Lutheran churches. Through a common interest in Christ-centered mission work, the two churches discussed a joint endeavor in helping to start mission congregations. These congregations were to be structured in line with the LCMS early model including congregational autonomy, liturgical worship, and basic Word and Sacrament ministry to name a few. They would have none of the trappings seen in the 20th century such as practices of the Church Growth Movement, “new” creeds, unionism, etc.
In July 2005 representatives from Redeemer – St. Clair Shores, MI and Pilgrim – Decatur, IL met in Chicago at the first meeting of the fledgling United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA). Much was accomplished by the eight laymen and two pastors on the ULMA Commission. The founding documents, a Constitution and Guidelines for Mission Congregations were officially adopted. Eventually the intent of the association was drawn up, various papers covering doctrinal and practical issues, and a list of frequently asked questions. Recently a paper entitled Statement of Faith – A Basis of Fellowship was added.
Our goal is rather basic: To help establish traditional Lutheran congregations. Our overhead is minimal. The ULMA has NO financial holdings or funds. Member congregations send volunteer representatives who compose the ULMA Commission to semi-annual meetings (at their own expense). The Commission works to determine mission needs, offer guidance, and establish funding requirements. The funding is based on the mission pledges of the member congregations which in turn are sent directly by the member congregations to the mission field.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted us with words of support, questions on our progress, and prayers for God’s blessings on our efforts. And of course, keep those mission queries and suggestions coming!
Our first forum was held on October 17, 2009. The topic was Life Without A Synod. Recordings and papers from many of the presentations are available. Details are on our Papers and Other Information page.