Recognized Service Organizations
U.S. Lutherans have historically supported a broad array of institutional care services and continue to do so. Recognized service organizations reach out in mercy to those in need at a variety of locations and through many different types of care. LCMS World Relief and Human Care supports and provides recognized status to service organizations that offer services such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Counseling and mental health services
- Foster care
- Refugee resettlement
- Aging and elderly services
- Emergency aid and shelter
The foundation for the work of LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) is in the bold, firm trust in God's grace and belief that, as believers, we are created anew in Christ Jesus to walk in good works. Bylaw 18.104.22.168(h) describes the responsibility of WR-HC to grant RSO status: …the board shall grant Recognized Service Organization status to health, chaplaincy, and social ministry agencies and institutions to validate their merit for use and support with assurance that they meet acceptable standards.
The work of the church — including RSOs — is done at the "rough edge of mercy" in the church's life. Luther provides direction in carrying out our ministry when he wrote about how we should respond after partaking in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, saying: “Here your heart must go out in love and learn that this is a sacrament of love. As love and support are given you, you in turn must render love and support to Christ in his needy ones. You must feel with sorrow all the dishonor done to Christ in His Holy Word, all the misery of Christendom, all the unjust suffering of the innocent, with which the world is everywhere filled to overflowing. You must fight, work, pray, and — if you cannot do more — have heartfelt sympathy.”
Working with RSOs
WR-HC carries out its assigned functions through many areas of work, including through the granting of RSO status and working with RSOs. This work includes:
- Identifying, developing and/or participating in collaborative, cooperative ministries with RSOs.
- Offering grants, as able, to advance ministry with and through RSOs.
- Collaborating with RSOs, as able, to develop programs or services to meet a need.
- Acting as an advocate and liaison for the RSO to the Synod, districts, congregations, agencies and auxiliaries.
To learn more about WR-HC work with RSOs, contact:
Deaconess Dorothy Krans
Interim Director, Social Ministry Organizations