The Mission Central Campus

Mission Central

Change lives through Mission Central in Iowa


Nearly three decades ago, Gary Thies served as a member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Board for Mission Services.

His commitment to telling people about our Savior, Jesus, caught the attention of then-Executive Director of LCMS World Mission Rev. Glen O’Shoney.

In a conversation between Gary and Glen that later included both LCMS Iowa District West and the LCMS Nebraska District, Gary agreed to serve as LCMS World Mission’s first deployed mission development counselor.

Mission Central Mission Festival

Those early steps led to what is now known as Mission Central — a cluster of farm buildings in Mapleton, Iowa, that became a miraculous, “not normal” place in the middle of nowhere.

When the Synod in convention approved a massive restructuring of the LCMS in 2010, the entity known as LCMS World Mission was dissolved, and the Board for Mission Services ended.

In its place, the Office of International Mission and the Office of National Mission assumed responsibility for our Synod’s work to share the Good News and make disciples of Jesus for life. That is our one mission as His disciples!

But buildings and structures aren’t what matter; it has always been the people who make Mission Central what it has become. Volunteers and contributors, friends and missionaries, congregations and church groups — all of these are “not normal” by the world’s standards.

Mission Central Voluntters

In 2017, the Rev. Dr. Brent Smith was called by the LCMS to serve alongside “Old Missionary Gary” as the Synod’s second mission development counselor.

In 2018, the LCMS Kansas District entered into a formal partnership with the LCMS/LCMS Mission Advancement/Mission Central to collaborate on raising awareness of how God’s people can personally be part of our Lord’s Great Commission.

In 2019, these special partnerships with the Iowa West, Nebraska and Kansas districts were reaffirmed.

Today, Mission Central is a vital extension of the work and service delegated by the Synod to LCMS Mission Advancement.

Mission Central focuses on personally connecting individuals, families, groups, organizations and congregations with LCMS called or appointed missionaries and mission projects, as well as district-coordinated mission initiatives.

As a result, Mission Central embodies the largest mission network providing support to our Synod’s international and national mission teams.

Many people around the LCMS — and even some worshiping Jesus in other Christian church bodies! — find joy in telling others about Him by giving, volunteering and staying informed through their connection with Mission Central.

You can be assured that when you return to God a portion of what He has given you to tell others about Jesus — and you choose to partner with Mission Central — you have the full support and joyful encouragement of the LCMS and LCMS Mission Advancement.

Gary, Brent, Pam, Sonya, plus many wonderful volunteers linked to Mission Central, are our co-workers and colleagues laboring in God’s harvest fields! We are on the same Mission Advancement team, serving one Lord, striving for the same goal: more and more people gathering with us in our real home in heaven.

Unlike a separate nonprofit or an LCMS Recognized Service Organization (or most independent mission societies), Mission Central functions with the full authority of the IRS exemption granted to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (EIN 43-0658188).

Your gifts to support the Synod’s called or appointed national and international missionaries, as well as the mission projects they oversee, are securely received and transferred to the LCMS for proper recording, crediting and receipting.

Compliance with donor intent is verified every year by an independent firm that audits the Synod’s books. Gifts to support mission initiatives led by Iowa District West, the Nebraska District or the Kansas District go straight to the respective district office and are put to work right away.

As a strategic, integrated extension of LCMS Mission Advancement, Mission Central continues to be a blessing to so many — and in so many ways!


What can you do to be “not normal” too?


Directions to Mission Central

Mission Central — LCMS Mission Advancement
40718 Highway E 16
Mapleton, Iowa 51034

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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 differently. 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, no more than 12 percent of a charitable contribution may be applied to administering gifts and communicating with contributors.  Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

Our Tax Identification Number is: 43-0658188

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