Mercy Work

Mercy Work

LCMS World Relief and Human Care

Christ’s mandate and example of love — the Gospel for the whole person — is the supreme example for our life in this world as we care for our neighbor in body and soul.

In tangible ways, at home and abroad, the LCMS continues to bear Christ’s mercy in word and deed. It’s at the very heart of every LCMS World Relief and Human Care gift.

Today, the LCMS is continuing the mercy work and legacy of LCMS World Relief and Human Care — it’s the same work, the same compassion and the same capacity.

LCMS Mercy Work and Ministries

You can focus your charitable giving on one of the more specific aspects of our Synod’s work of mercy, including:


  = work is done nationally and internationally


Sharing Newsletter

Sharing Newsletter

“Sharing” is the newsletter of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Read stories about reaching out in mercy and compassion to those in need, motivated by Christ and His Gospel.

View newsletter
Mercy Booklets

Mercy Booklet Series

In a variety of timely yet timeless essays, Lutheran theologians look at Christ’s mercy and how He showers healing, compassion and forgiveness on His people. Christians will be encouraged to engage in active, joyful lives of mercy in their homes, workplaces, congregations and communities.

Read essays

Giving Opportunities

Your contributions to the LCMS, designated for “LCMS World Relief and Human Care,” now reach people close to home through the Office of National Mission and in faraway lands through the Office of International Mission in ways that defy sin, death and the devil in this broken world.

God’s unchanging love, through many works of mercy, continues to open hearts and minds to the Good News so that lives are changed and souls are brought into the body of Christ for eternity.

One of the most efficient and effective ways you can support our church’s ongoing work of mercy is through a gift that can do it all — a donation to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, designated for “LCMS World Relief and Human Care.”

This straightforward designation affords our national and international ministries the financial agility to apply your donation — whatever the amount — whenever the opportunity for Gospel-centered mercy and human care is most pressing or urgent.



Make a secure online donation today using a major credit or debit card.




To offer support using a credit/debit card, to pledge annual support or to establish a recurring gift plan, please call us:



To offer support via personal or organizational check, please make all checks payable to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

On the memo line of the check or in an accompanying note, restrict your donation by writing “MERCY” or “LCMS World Relief and Human Care.”

Mail your gift to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861



To learn more about how you can champion our Synod’s mercy
efforts as a part of your personal or organizational philanthropy, contact:

LCMS Mission Advancement


Questions and answers about LCMS Mercy Work

  • What is the difference between Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in Baltimore and LCMS World Relief and Human Care or LCMS Mercy Work?
  • Q: What is the difference between Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in Baltimore and LCMS World Relief and Human Care or LCMS Mercy Work?

    A: The difference between Lutheran World Relief and LCMS World Relief and Human Care is significant.

      LCMS World Relief
    and Human Care
    Lutheran World Relief
    Acronym WRHC LWR
    Based in St. Louis, Mo. Baltimore, Md.
    Affiliation LCMS Pan-Lutheran
    (predominantly ELCA)
    Works internationally Yes Yes
    Works in the U.S. Yes No
    Receives gifts of quilts No Yes
    Engages in evangelism
    (Gospel witness) 1
    Yes No
    Is an RSO of the LCMS Not Applicable No
    Owned by LCMS Not Applicable No
    1“About Lutheran World Relief,” Lutheran World Relief, accessed Nov. 23, 2020,

    Contributors’ gifts to LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WRHC) fund the multifaceted mercy ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod both in the United States and in overseas foreign mission areas of the Synod.

    One of the Synod’s seven officially adopted mission priorities is “perform human care [that is, mercy work] in close proximity to Word and Sacrament ministries.” Contributions to LCMS WRHC fuel domestic and international mercy work in partnership with LCMS congregations, districts, partner churches and entities, including LCMS Recognized Service Organizations, where those individuals and communities who are served may also receive the church’s ministry in God’s Means of Grace in the Word proclaimed and the Sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, for the advancement of God’s kingdom and the salvation of souls through the power of the Gospel.

    Among the Synod’s mercy ministries making an impact on innumerable lives with contributors’ gifts to LCMS WRHC are LCMS Disaster Response, LCMS Life Ministry and the Synod’s various mercy work initiatives with institutional chaplaincy, family, health, older adults and those with disabilities.

    Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is a pan-Lutheran entity based in Baltimore, Md., that is not formally connected to the LCMS (i.e., by any legal ownership, governance or formal partnership arrangement). LWR is not an LCMS Recognized Service Organization (RSO). According to its website, LWR “tackles global poverty by helping people adapt to the challenges that threaten their livelihoods and well-being. We work with people based on need, regardless of race, religion or nationality and we do not evangelize. We provide aid in emergencies and help families restore their lives. We partner with communities to build and grow rural economies. We break the cycle of poverty, so families and communities can thrive. Our goal is to help people build self‐sufficiency and create new community‐owned approaches to problem‐solving that will last long after our projects end” (“About Lutheran World Relief,” emphasis added). LWR does not carry out its work in the U.S.; it pursues such initiatives exclusively in international contexts.

    The LCMS (including LCMS WRHC) has no ongoing or budgeted funding arrangement or partnership with LWR, either current or planned for the future. In specific, limited circumstances of pressing need (i.e., in international contexts where the LCMS has no immediate presence “on the ground”), LCMS WRHC could provide an opportunistic grant to fund LWR-coordinated mercy work only if such an initiative fully would reflect LCMS mission priorities, policies and strategic/operational mission objectives and would not conflict with LCMS doctrine and practice.

  • How is mercy work done in the LCMS? Are there specific “mercy” ministries?
  • Q: How is mercy work done in the LCMS? Are there specific “mercy” ministries?

    A: The answer to both questions is yes! While we continue to have specific ministries that are, by their nature, largely focused on mercy work, mercy is at the heart of everything we are doing in the LCMS.

    Mercy accompanies our witness when the Church in her life together proclaims the Gospel at home or abroad. Our missionaries across the globe are engaged in both witness and mercy as they work to revitalize our partner churches, plant new churches and reach out with the Gospel.

    Our national efforts at revitalization and church planting, working alongside districts and local congregations, include reaching out with tangible acts of mercy.

    On college campuses; with black, Hispanic and ethnic people groups; in the military; in our schools; with our young people — mercy is at the heart of everything we do.

    Specific LCMS mercy ministries are Life Ministry, Health Ministry, Disaster Response, Deaconess Ministry, Specialized Pastoral Ministry (chaplains), and Soldiers and Veterans of the Cross.

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Auxiliaries and Seminaries




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 13.5 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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