Papua New Guinea is located in Oceania, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia.

The first Lutheran missionaries came to the island of New Guinea in 1886 and were sent by German mission societies. There were major disruptions in the German work during both World War I and World War II. In 1967, shortly after the independence of Papua New Guinea, the church became fully autonomous and its name was changed to its current name, Evangelical Lutheran Church-Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG). In 1921, the former Iowa Synod responded to a call for American missionaries in Papua New Guinea and, since that time, hundreds of Americans have worked alongside Australian and German missionaries as well as Papua New Guinean companions.