The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod began work in Sri Lanka in 1927 as a natural outgrowth of its work in India. Missionaries worked primarily in the mountainous tea estate region of central Sri Lanka among the Tamil-speaking Hindus. Between 1998 and 2013, there were no resident LCMS missionaries in Sri Lanka.
The Lanka Lutheran Church (LLC) was received as a sister/partner church at the 2001 LCMS convention. It also is a member of the International Lutheran Council. The LLC reports a membership of approximately 500 souls in 13 congregations, led by three pastors and seven evangelists. It also has two preschools. One LLC congregation is in Colombo, the capital. The remaining congregations are located on the tea or rubber plantations of central Sri Lanka.
The LLC is presently in the process of restructuring following several years of difficulty. Since capable leadership is essential for the reformation of the church, theological education has become a major emphasis in LCMS mission work. In January 2017, a pre-seminary was established in Colombo at the site of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, with four resident students. Additionally, the evangelists are pursuing further instruction with the possibility that some would be ordained as pastors.
The first mercy project supported by the LCMS in Sri Lanka was in 1987. In more recent years, mercy work included relief for tsunami survivors.