Congregational Governance

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, including its districts and other institutions, is governed by its member congregations, acting together through their visitation and electoral circuits, district and national conventions.

This page is intended to gather into one place the information needed for member congregations and others in the Synod to participate, as fully informed, in the selection of representation at each level, in the nomination of qualified candidates for leadership positions, and in the suggestion of actions to be taken by district and Synod through the submission of overtures.


For Member Congregations of The Synod

For a general introduction to the basic activities through which your congregation participates in governing its Synod and district, see the Overview Guide to Participation.

 Informed Participation

Background materials for understanding and how it works

 Triennium Processes

Details of specific governance processes of the Synod's triennial cycle

Three main governance activities for congregations (in overview):


Your congregation’s voice and vote

Learn more


Suggesting worthy ministers and laypeople for office

Learn more

 Overture Submission

Proposing actions to your district and Synod

Learn more

Appropriate congregational officers whose email addresses are registered by their congregations (lc.lcms.org) and installed pastors of member congregations with email addresses on file (cwu.lcms.org) will receive timely email reminders related to the above governance opportunities, especially through the “Synod Convention” phase of the triennium.

For specifics of the processes by which your congregation can participate in each of the above throughout the Synod’s triennial cycle and for important dates in the current Synod triennium, see:

Triennium Timeline

General Synod Convention Process Information

While basic instructions for congregational participation are included in the above, certain convention processes are of more general interest or require specific explanation. For these, see the following:


Regular Synod Convention Updates

Up-to-date information on the last concluded and next upcoming regular Synod convention is available on the Synod National Convention page.

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of a more challenging economic and philanthropic/fundraising environment due to inflationary pressure, not more than 12.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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