What’s up with the Lutheran thing?

You're not the only one who's asked. So if you're curious, read on. 

For so to help a man that he does not need to become a begger is just as much of a good work and virtue as to give alms to a man who has already become a beggar.
— Martin Luther

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (originally known as Lutheran Social Ministry) was founded in 1970 by a group of Lutheran congregations in Phoenix that noticed needs in their community. People in their neighborhoods were hungry. Some were homeless. There was brokenness and they remembered their faith called them to serve "the least of these." So their work began.

From its beginning through today LSS-SW founders wanted to be a force of God's power, love, and compassion. Through the years, and with faithful partners, we have been blessed to serve as a beacon of hope in Arizona to 60,000 people each year.

A beacon of hope for seniors and people with disabilities that are scared of being forgotten and alone. A place where refugees are finally safe, after surviving the unimaginable. A loving home for a child who has been torn from her family. 

Our heritage is Lutheran. We are called as a people of faith to love each other and care for our neighbors in need. So if you’re wondering:

Can I come to a Family Resource Center of Food Pantry if I’m not Lutheran? The answer is: Welcome.

Can I work or volunteer at LSS-SW if I have a different faith background? The answer is, Yes, we employ and recruit volunteers from people of all backgrounds, and we know that in this diversity lies strength. 

How does your relationship with Lutheran institutions work?  About 2% of our budget comes from churches. We operate independently and use our Lutheran heritage of service to others as a value to inform our work.  This includes serving people of all faiths and advocating for their needs in the community.

I’m familiar with other Lutheran Social Services in other states. Are you all connected? While we share the name Lutheran Social Services with other organizations in the United States, we are individual non profits, responsible for our own budgets and service areas. 

Can my house of worship that isn’t Lutheran (or Christian) become involved as a ministry partner? Absolutely. We work with temples, mosques, churches, the LDS community, and many types of religious and non-religious organizations. 

I AM Lutheran, and I’m starting to feel less special. You are special. The fact is, a lot of our volunteers, congregational partners, and donors are Lutheran and become connected as part of that identity. You are doing great things in the world, and we don’t want to keep that a secret.