Who We Are
First Lutheran Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a global faith community that shares a passion for making positive changes in the world. Our faith is built around a strong belief in God as made known to us in Jesus Christ. Through worship, service, and education, we practice our faith, grow our relationship with God and experience God's grace in our lives. Learn more about What We Believe.
We also work hard to put our faith into action. In today’s complex world, we strive to make a difference in practical, realistic ways. Read our Vision Document.
First Lutheran has about 1,339 baptized members. Itis expected that members worship, commune and contribute their time, talents and treasure regularly.
Congregational Council oversees these major divisions:
- Community Ministries
- Lifelong Learning
- Caregiving and Fellowship
With more than 10,300 congregations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 4.5 million members—we welcome you to experience this church right in your community. Explore the ELCA, and help us celebrate our gift of faith—with action.
Based in Chicago, the ELCA has about 4.5 million members. Bishop Elizabeth Eaton leads our church. We ask for your prayers for him and the wider Church. The telephone number is 1-800-638-3522 and the website is www.elca.org.
Through the ELCA, we are a part of the North Carolina Synod, which includes about 230 congregations. Tim Smith is the bishop. He and other staff members are in Salisbury. They can be reached at 1-704-633-4861, and the website is www.nclutheran.org.
First Lutheran contributes to support ministries in the Synod and the ELCA. Some synodical ministries include:
- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, which educates men and women for ministry in the Church.
- Lenoir-Rhyne University, a liberal arts university with about 1,500 students.
- Lutheran Services for the Aging, which provides residential care for older adults at campuses in Hickory, Albemarle, Winston-Salem, Salisbury and Arden.
- Lutheran Family Services for the Carolinas, which provides residential group home services, foster care, adoptions, refugee resettlement, prison ministry, marriage and family counseling and enrichment
- Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, which offers camping and retreat facilities at Kure Beach and Agape Camp.
- Lutheridge/Lutherock Camping Conference Centers, which offers year-round retreat and camping facilities at Lutheridge and an intensive summer program of camping and instruction at Lutherock.
The ELCA's primary purposes are expressed in the constitutions of congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization as follows:
To proclaim God's saving Gospel;
- To carry out Christ's Great Commission;
- To serve in response to God's love to meet human needs;
- To worship God;
- To nurture members in the Word of God; and
- To manifest the unity given to the people of God.
Some key ministries of the ELCA include global mission - such as fighting hunger and missionaries - domestic mission - such as establishing new churches - , and seminary education - such as training people who desire to be in full-time ministry.