Writer’s Guidelines for The Lutheran Witness

About The Lutheran Witness

The Lutheran Witness (LW) is the official periodical of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), a 2.1-million-member church body with headquarters in St. Louis, Mo. Published 11 times a year (June/July is a combined issue), the magazine has a circulation of approximately 120,000. Its purpose is to provide LCMS laypeople with stories on faith and life, culture and theology that help them interpret the world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

What we’re looking for at LW

We’re always on the lookout for compellingly readable, theologically rich writing in a variety of formats:

  • Well-told feature stories, especially those that deal with LCMS people, ministries, and events
  • Topical or teaching essays on subjects relating to Lutheran theology and history
  • Interviews and profile pieces featuring people connected with the LCMS
  • Thoughtfully written opinion pieces on issues of cultural and ecclesial interest
  • Articles that interact with popular movies, books, TV shows, albums, blogs, podcasts and other cultural artifacts from a Lutheran perspective
  • First-person narratives and personal stories about life and faith
  • Infographics, how-to articles and lists that explore aspects of Lutheran life and theology
  • Humorous essays and comic strips relating in some way to Lutheran life and theology
  • Unpublished hymns, poetry, photography and artwork
  • Unpublished excerpts from forthcoming books by LCMS authors
  • Bible studies

(Please note that we are a magazine of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and will therefore generally give preference to articles by LCMS authors about topics of interest to LCMS readers.)

Although articles on any topic appropriate to our readership will be considered, we are especially interested in stories that tie into our planned themes for 2018:

Month

Theme

Deadline for queries

January

Technology, screens and the digital world

October 15

February

Diversity and hospitality

November 15

March

Prayer and piety

December 15

April

Easter to the ends of the earth

January 15

May

The gift of children

February 15

June/July

Men at church

March 15

August

Poverty, possessions and generosity

May 15

September

Time and limitations

June 15

October

Ministry and mental health

July 15

November

State of the Synod*

 –

December

Christmas, the Incarnation, and the body

September 15

*Due to the unique format of this annual special edition, no outside queries will be considered.

How to pitch your article idea to us

To gauge our interest in your idea for an article, send a query email to witness@lcms.org.

(You may send a complete manuscript if you have one ready, but a query by email first is generally preferable and may save you time and trouble if the idea isn’t a good fit for us. For visual art, poetry and book excerpts, please paste in the entire submission or a thumbnail thereof at the end of your query email. Do not send attachments unless we ask for them.)

If you do not have access to email, we will also accept submissions via the postal service to the following address: 

Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295

No phone calls, please.

Include the following information in your query:

  • Subject line: LW query: [subject of proposed article]
  • Story idea in brief
  • Projected length
  • Connection to issue theme, news event or holiday (if applicable)
  • Sample paragraph (or links to one or more previously published articles)
  • Short explanation of why this article would be a good fit for our audience
  • Your credentials as an author (including social media links and the name and location of your LCMS congregation, if applicable)

Please note that, because of the magazine’s long lead time, many articles are planned more than three months in advance of the publication date. Time your queries accordingly for best results.

Exclusive book excerpts will be considered only for forthcoming titles with publication dates after the magazine issue in which they will appear.

Our staff is small, and the volume of correspondence we receive is substantial. Even so, we will do our best to respond to your query within one to two weeks. If you have not received a reply from us within four weeks, you may assume that we are not interested and feel free to pitch your article elsewhere. 

What you can expect if we like your query

If we are interested in your query, we will assign you a deadline and word count and send additional instructions.

Articles may be selected for publication either in our print publication or on our blog (or both), at the editor’s discretion.

All articles are edited for clarity, style and length; a doctrinal review board will also evaluate manuscripts for theological content. When possible and appropriate, we will send edited drafts to authors for review prior to publication. (Please note that we have the final say on editorial changes.)

The Associated Press [AP] Stylebook and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition) serve as our basic guides to spelling, grammar, punctuation and usage. When quoting Scripture, we prefer the English Standard Version (ESV), unless the specific needs or wording of the story require a different version. (If that is the case, please let us know.)

Payment for commissioned articles is on a sliding scale, based in part on both the article length and complexity and the author’s credentials. Payment will be processed after an author’s contract has been signed and returned and the article in question has successfully passed doctrinal review. Excerpts from forthcoming books are uncompensated, as both the author and publisher can reasonably expect to derive material benefits from the publicity of their work.

Rights

The Lutheran Witness purchases first North American rights plus electronic rights for the LW website and blog, and the right to grant limited reprint permission to LCMS congregations strictly for parish use. We do not sell rights or permissions to others, but will refer them to you.

The rights to stories revert to their authors once the story is published.

When work is submitted, unless otherwise noted, it is understood that the work is free of copyright protection or that you are the owner of any copyrights related to the work and that submitting it is not in violation of any intellectual-property laws.

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