The membership of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod totaled more than 2.5 million in 1999, a drop of almost 12,000 members from the previous year.
Congregations reported a total baptized membership of 2,582,440 in 1999, down 11,964.
Congregations also reported a slight decline in average weekly attendance at worship services. The 1999 figure was 155.1, down by 1.5 from 1998.
Financial giving by congregations surpassed the $1-billion mark for the second year in a row. Congregational giving totaled $1.11 billion, an increase from the $1.05 billion of 1998.
The average amount of giving per confirmed member in 1999 was $570.41, an increase of $8.61.
John O'Hara, research analyst for the church's planning and research department, said the higher contributions combined with lower membership was not unusual.
"If you have an aging membership, as in the Missouri Synod, and a smaller membership total, what you have remaining are people who are relatively more committed to the church and are giving more," O'Hara said.