The Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS) is a young church in an emerging nation. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, after a deadly and bloody civil war that claimed 2.5 million lives. The war left 70% of the nation’s population under 30 years of age. This war still defines the history of the country today. Infrastructures were destroyed during the war, and modern development is virtually absent in the country. There are only 100 miles of paved roads, and 130 medical doctors offering basic medical services. School children gather under the trees for study.
Despite the challenges, there is hope in Christ. Guided by its mission statement “Proclaiming Hope to a Broken World,” the LCSS brings an evangelical witness, reminding the new nation that the land of Judah also was in ruins after the Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 61:4-6), and that God never abandoned His people. The Prophet Isaiah also prophesized,
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because
the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to
bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up
the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and release to the prisoners.
The LCSS calls the new nation’s attention to “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33), and as a result the church is thriving.
Like the rest of the country, the infrastructure of the church remains at formative stage. Most of LCSS congregations worship under the trees, in open spaces, fences or in the hut/tents. Despite the limitations, the LCSS is determined to carry out its missional mandate and call to proclaim the Good News to the new nation. With vibrant evangelism, the church set goals to plant 130 congregations in the next three years and to build at least five churches each year.
Translating/printing worship materials and raising funds for pastoral compensation are top priorities. The church also calls for preparing and equipping more leaders. Shaped by the life and ministry of Jesus, the LCSS engaged in the ministry of “makingdisciples” (Matthew 28:19). In partnership with Western Gambella Bethel Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (WGBS-EECMY), the LCSS trained 12 pastors at Jackjordan Bible School (one of the EECMY’s Bible Schools in Western Ethiopia). These pastors are sent to be incarnational salt and light to the Word and to proclaim God’s presence in the new nation.
Internationally, the LCSS has partnered with the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, and has formally established its North American headquarters in Brookings, SD. The LCSS plans to partner with ILT and other Lutheran institutions to translate educational materials for children, adults, lay leaders and pastors. (The LCSS has no adult or children’s educational materials in the indigenous languages of South Sudan. With the exception of the Holy Bible and hymnals, there are no other print materials in the local languages.)
Individual congregations and friends to LCSS are invited to join in advancing God’s Kingdom in the new nation!
For more details, please visit the LCSS website: www. lutherancss.org
Contact Rev. Long at (585) 705-2805
Contact Dr. Bielfeldt (VP of the LCSS North American Board of Trustees) at (605) 651-9729