The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) began mission work in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1960s. This work led to the formation of a sister church body South Asia Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM). WELS and SALEM worked together to establish a Bible Institute in order to train current and future Hong Kong Christian leaders. Students advanced beyond the Bible Institute level so ALS was established on May 29, 2005.


Since 2005, ALS has grown beyond the Hong Kong contingent and now offers an online Mandarin program for mandarin speakers who wish to pursue a theological education. ALS has also now offers theological training in English to serve the needs of the church across many countries and cultures in Asia.


WELS is invited to assist Chinese Christians in Hong Kong.
WELS missionaries begin theological teaching for Chinese Christians in Hong Kong in a variety of settings and situations.
South Asia Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM) is established. The missionaries work to enhance theological training for future Chinese leaders of SALEM.
In the same year Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule, SALEM becomes an independent church body. A smaller WELS missionary staff remains to focus on developing new ministry.
Missionary Rob Siirila (middle right)
WELS re-assigns missionary Rob Siirila to come to Hong Kong from Taiwan and make preparations to begin a WELS run regional seminary for Hong Kong and East Asian Chinese speakers.
Dr. John Lawrenz (middle left) at the opening of ALS on May 29, 2005.
Dr. John Lawrenz arrives in Hong Kong. Working with missionary Siirila and in consultation with SALEM, WELS establishes ALS at 688 Shanghai Street, Kowloon.
2005 to 2010
Dr. Lawrenz serves as president, academic dean and primary teacher of ALS. Visiting professors from the USA and others in fellowship with WELS assist in Hong Kong.
ALS President 2011 - Dr. Steve Witte
Dr. Steve Witte becomes president of ALS and begins expanding theological training work to Chinese speakers in other parts of Asia.
Dr. Glen Thompson becomes academic dean of ALS.
First East Asia cohort graduates with Master of Divinity.
ALS begins to teach Christian Studies Certificate courses online in Mandarin.
Second East Asia cohort graduates with Master of Divinity.
Online recruitment begins.
First and second group of M.Div. graduates begin teaching for ALS.
ALS 1st Chinese Professor - Cheung Kwok Fai
A new ALS Governing Board is established and calls Cheung, Kwok Fai as the first full time Chinese professor at ALS.
ALS calls a full time “Recruitment Missionary” and begins online and social media recruitment efforts (Tony Barthels).
ALS receives accreditation from Asia Theological Association.
First ALS Chinese professor, Dr. Cheung, Kwok Fai, becomes academic dean.
ALS President 2023 - Dr. Jon Bare
President elect Dr. Jon Bare moves to Asia and on July 1, 2023 becomes the president of ALS.