The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod began work in Taiwan in 1951, and the China Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) in Taiwan became an LCMS sister/partner church in 1966. It also is a member of the International Lutheran Council. The CELC currently reports a membership of 2,000, with 26 ordained pastors serving 20 congregations.
In 1967, the LCMS opened Concordia Middle School in Chiayi, Taiwan, and the school continues its ministry of educating middle-school and high-school youth in a Christian environment. More than 2,300 students attend the school. Each year, 200 graduating seniors enter the highly competitive university system of Taiwan. Concordia Middle School remains one of the CELC’s most vital evangelistic tools for reaching all segments of the Taiwanese population.
In 1992, the CELC generated support for the establishment of China Lutheran Seminary (CLS) in Hsinchu, Taiwan, which serves as a joint seminary for six Chinese Lutheran bodies and is supported by six Lutheran mission agencies. It is the only Lutheran seminary in the world that provides all of its instruction in Mandarin Chinese. The CELC has ordained a number of CLS graduates and will continue to train its pastors there. Students from all over the Greater China region study at CLS and become equipped to return as church leaders in their home countries.
The LCMS and the CELC expanded educational ministry in Taiwan in 2000, when Concordia English Language Academy (CELA) started on the campus of Concordia Middle School as an elementary after-school program, in partnership with the Concordia University System in the United States. CELA is a unique program that offers children stimulating ways to learn English as a Foreign Language in a loving Christian environment.
In 2003, the CELC partnered with the LCMS to extend a call to the Rev. Michael Wu, one of the first alliance missionaries. These are missionaries sent by LCMS partner churches to other countries, and they also are receiving support from the LCMS. Wu is currently serving in Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China. He started his work there as an evangelist.
Today, the LCMS supports the goals of Concordia Middle School and Concordia English Language Academy by providing GEO missionaries to serve as English and Bible teachers. The missionaries work alongside national teachers and serve in and out of the classroom by teaching classes and leading chapel services, Bible studies, fellowship groups and outreach events on campus and in the community. Additionally, the LCMS has sent two career missionaries to serve as professors at CLS.
The LCMS first provided mercy support in 2000 through funding for a rehabilitation center for abused girls. It also has provided post-earthquake disaster relief.