In the past, the LCMS has supported mission work in Australia through LCMS World Mission’s partnership with the Lutheran Church of Australia in the Pitjantjatjara translation and literacy project. This support—encouraging, resourcing and training—is done through translating the Scriptures into the language Aboriginal people know best and providing theological teaching in that language. Examples include translation of additional Old Testament selections, publication of Bible-based reading primers, the Pitjantjatjara Picture Dictionary and regular training courses for Pitjantjatjara church leaders.
The Lutheran Church of Australia is an associate member of the International Lutheran Council, of which the LCMS is a member. Australian Lutheran roots go back to 1838, when their forebears arrived, fleeing the Prussian union. Their background, therefore, is similar to that of the LCMS. Post-World War II migration also brought a number of Lutherans from other European countries. In more recent years, many Asians have immigrated to Australia.
A split in the church occurred in 1846. In subsequent years, pastors came from various sources, including different German missionary societies and a number of the Lutheran synods in the United States. A merger took place in 1966, in which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia joined with the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia to form the Lutheran Church of Australia.
Since that time, the church body has related to world Lutheranism on a case-by-case basis, apart from having altar and pulpit fellowship with the two church bodies in Papua New Guinea. In 1993, the Lutheran Church of Australia became an associate member of the Lutheran World Federation. It also is an associate member of the International Lutheran Council. It currently includes 323 active pastors serving 605 congregations in 293 parishes and has more than 73,000 baptized members and 54,000 communicant members.