…that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

Evangelical Lutheran Free Church—Germany

The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church was founded in the 19th century. At the time, the Christian faith was understood mostly as a moral and pious feeling. Many saw Jesus Christ merely as an exemplary person. The State also ruled over the church. In many German states, the Lutheran and Reformed churches were ordered by the State leaders to unite. Opposition arose against these developments. After 1830, it became necessary for independent Lutheran churches to be organized in Prussia, Baden, and Nassau. They founded themselves entirely on the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.

The State churches, whose name remained Lutheran, continued to widen their misuse of the Holy Word and Confessions more and more. They became a people’s church that tolerated unbiblical teachings and practices. Confession-conscious Lutherans who could no longer agree with these developments left the State churches with a heavy heart. In 1871, an independent congregation formed in Saxony and was founded in 1876. This was the first Lutheran Free church located in the region of a Lutheran state church. Within a few years, the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church spread throughout all German states.

The congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church are located throughout Germany and West Austria. The ELFK is blessed with its own Lutheran School, Seminary, and Publishing House. The Dr. Martin Luther School is situated in Zwickau and has 150 kids, classes 1-4. At the seminary in Leipzig, students from Germany and other countries study theology in order to become pastors of the ELFK or CELC sister churches. The “Concordia Buchhandlung” is a bookstore in Zwickau that also publishes books. For instance, they regularly print the monthly newsletters of the ELFK, “Lutherische Gemeindebriefe.” They publish the quarterly of the seminary, “Theologische Handreichung und Information,” and also the devotion book “Gott ist für uns.” The ELFK is known for doing lots of youth work and different kinds of retreats.

International guests are very welcome.

Church Body Statistics
Members: 1,200
Established Congregations: 16
Mission Congregations: 2
National Pastors: 18
Current Church Body President: Pastor Michael Herbst (serving since 2018)

Contact Information
President Michael Herbst
Phone from US: 011-49-0375-789616
E-mail: [email protected]

Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference


Providing a forum for confessional Lutherans around the world, the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC)—made up of thirty-two member churches worldwide—gathers at triennial meetings for encouragement, fellowship, study, cooperation in projects, and an internationally united voice. The group met in Grimma, Germany, for the ninth triennial convention in 2017. We welcome all interested in learning more about the Scripture-based heritage of the Lutheran Reformation.

Members of the CELC provide theological and doctrinal essays that further clarify issues facing confessional and orthodox Lutheran churches in our time. Rev. Gaylin Schmeling, president of the CELC, says, “In an era of uncertainty, the CELC continually points to Christ Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, the one way to heaven. Only through Him can one find comfort and meaning in this life and the certain hope of eternal life beyond the grave. This treasure is present in the inerrant Word and the holy Sacraments.”


2018 marked the 25th anniversary of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC). The CELC comprises 32 member churches worldwide, all of which are united by a common faith and confession. The CELC was formed in 1993 as the spiritual heir of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America.

Representatives of the CELC member churches gather at triennial meetings for encouragement, fellowship, theological study, cooperation in projects, and to speak internationally with a united voice. The CELC met in Grimma, Germany, for its ninth triennial convention in 2017. Its next in-person meeting will take place in Seoul, South Korea, in 2023.

Contact Information
President Gaylin Schmeling
6 Browns Ct.
Mankato, MN 56001
Email: [email protected]

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The WELS European Civilian Chaplain is here to serve you with God’s Word. Contact him through the Online Referral, or through the Contact Us form on this website.