Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) is an association of Lutheran congregations in the United States. It describes itself as a affiliation of autonomous Lutheran churches and not a denomination. It began in 2001 in response to the liberalization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LCMC is characterized by the traditional stances it takes on Lutheran polity, biblical authority, and human sexuality. The group describes itself as "centrist" or "mainstream", noting that it stands between the more liberal ELCA and the more conservative Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) and other Lutheran church bodies in North America.
LCMC was started by the WordAlone Network as an alternative for local churches who no longer felt that they could remain in the ELCA and work to reform it. In 2001 the organization began with 31 congregations as charter members. As of December 2012 membership was reported as 803 congregations, including 701 US congregations in 41 states, the U.S. Territories of Guam and Puerto Rico (1 in each territory), as well as 100 congregations in 10 other countries (including Belarus, Cambodia, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, and Vietnam). LCMC is now the fourth largest Lutheran group in the United States (after the ELCA, LCMS, and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).
Polity and beliefs
LCMC is congregational in structure, rejecting the historic episcopate of the ELCA, the denomination of which most LCMC members were once a part.
The beliefs of the LCMC are based on the Bible and the Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord. On one important issue, LCMC stands apart from the conservative Lutheran denominations: it recognizes the ordination of women as pastors. It believes that biblical marriage is between one man and one woman and therefore does not bless same-sex partnerships or permit congregations to be members if they have non-celibate gay pastors. LCMC's stance on marriage and sexuality has brought about significant growth from about 230 member congregations since the ELCA changed its standards in August 2009.