Donor-Guided Ministry Makes ‘Tremendous Impact’
The first round of National Offering allocations have been made.
New training to better equip congregations to invite, welcome and receive people from outside the church is just one ministry guided by the people of the LCMS that’s moving forward with the help of National Offering supporters.
“Their gifts help us help our congregations do what the Church wants and is supposed to do: take the Gospel into communities,” said the Rev. Mark Wood, director of LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry and the Synod’s revitalization initiative, re:Vitality.
Such ministries that “offer tremendous impact” and otherwise risk “grinding to a halt” are benefitting from gifts totaling $411,305.69 — the first round of allocations through the 2016–19 National Offering, announced in October by LCMS Chief Mission Officer Rev. Kevin Robson.
“These generous gifts provided by the people of the LCMS beautifully reflect the love of Christ — His love for them, their love for Him — and in every instance will offer tremendous impact on the lives of others, both in the current generation and those that follow,” Robson said of the Synodwide gathering of gifts to support ministry priorities as determined by LCMS members, including delegates to the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, held July 9-14 in Milwaukee.
Those ministry priorities include work by the Synod’s Offices of International and National Mission (much of which is backed by convention resolutions) and by the LCMS seminaries in St. Louis and Fort Wayne, Ind.
Major ministry emphases aim to strengthen:
- Evangelism and outreach, congregational revitalization, youth engagement and life ministry initiatives in the U.S.;
- Theological education in international mission fields served by the LCMS;
- Human care in the wake of natural disasters; and
- The formation of future pastors and trained theological leaders for LCMS congregations, while reducing demand for tuition-based seminary revenues.
Appreciation for Gifts to Shape Next Triennium
Each project “takes the Gospel into the world and to people who are vitally important to the future of the Christian Church. Allocations are tied to the priorities for our Synod for vigorously making known the love of Jesus Christ in Word and deeds,” said Mark Hofman, executive director of LCMS Mission Advancement, which coordinates National Offering gift processing and reporting.
Projects receiving support through the National Offering include:
- Scholarships to the Lutheran Center for Theological Studies in Dapping, Togo, Africa, for future Lutheran pastors who otherwise could not afford to attend;
- Luther Academy conferences for Latin American pastors to grow through study and fellowship; and
- Age-appropriate curriculum to teach the sanctity of human life to students in U.S. Lutheran and public grade schools.
This debut allocation includes $139,200 each (34 percent each of the total allocation) to international and national mission projects and $69,600 to support both LCMS seminaries through the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund (17 percent of the total).
The National Offering began in conjunction with the 2016 Synod convention and continues as a giving opportunity until the next convention in 2019.
Wood joins his fellow ministry leaders in expressing appreciation for brothers and sisters in Christ who have made National Offering gifts — and who will continue to give and strengthen ministry.
“We are completely dependent on our donors. They are the ones who make it possible for us to plant and to water as co-workers in Christ (1 Cor. 3:8–9),” he said.