We are called to do God’s work in the world and that compels us to be prayerful, thoughtful and courageous as we discuss and make decisions about how to go about God’s work as a church.

The ELCA Churchwide Assembly is the primary decision-making body of the church and gathers every three years. Voting members are chosen locally from across the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, representing the diverse communities, congregations, synods, perspectives and geographic contexts of the ELCA. Together with other leaders of the ELCA, and guided by the Holy Spirit, they discuss the work of the church in the world and make decisions reflecting the challenges we face and the strengths we all bring to loving and serving our neighbors — locally and globally — in the name of Jesus Christ.

When the ELCA Churchwide Assembly convenes, its voting members meet with confidence in God’s grace around word and water, wine and bread, to carry on their work on behalf the entire church. Over the course of five days, voting members:
  • Hear reports and review the work of churchwide officers, leaders and units;
  • Receive and consider proposals from synod assemblies;
  • Elect officers, board members and other leaders as specified by the constitution or bylaws;
  • Establish ELCA churchwide policy;
  • Adopt a budget; and
  • Conduct other business related to the ELCA churchwide organization.
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be lively and challenging, yet it is respectful of the diverse nature of the church and the world we live in. It reflects how we participate in God’s work in the world while embracing each other’s questions, perspectives, complexities and strengths. It provides a time and place for growth and change while remaining rooted in Scripture, tradition, Lutheran confessions and the rich histories of our congregations and communities.