More than $227,000 already has been received for the “One Mission Ablaze! National Offering,” in response to a mailing to 345,000 Synod donors in May.
Related mailings also were sent to LCMS national convention delegates and to all 6,100 Synod congregations, and offering envelopes were included in a special June/July issue of The Lutheran Witness magazine.
Funds raised through the national offering will be divided equally among LCMS World Mission, LCMS World Relief/Human Care and the Board for Higher Education’s “For the Sake of the Church” initiative, and will be used to complement outreach in various ways, including providing human-care assistance and training church workers through the Concordia University System.
Terry Whittle, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the LCMS Foundation, which organized the mailings, said the campaign was intended to be widespread “so that the whole church has an opportunity to participate in the national offering.”
Congregations are being asked to send their contributions to the Synod convention with area delegates, who will turn them in during the opening worship service on July 11. Planners with “One Mission Ablaze!” are hoping to raise at least $1 million, Whittle said.
The mailings to donors and congregations included a letter from Synod President Gerald Kieschnick; Dr. Robert Roegner, executive director of LCMS World Mission; Rev. Matthew Harrison, executive director of LCMS World Relief/Human Care; and Dr. William Meyer, president of the Concordia University System, inviting recipients to contribute to “the greatest single gathering of gifts that our church has ever witnessed.”
“‘One Mission Ablaze!‘ is our Synod’s opportunity to ignite a world in need of the Good News of salvation through Christ,” the letter states. “We are dedicated to a national offering to seek, to serve and to share Christ with our neighbors, whether across the street, across the district or across the world.”
Kieschnick said the national offering is “very, very important” if the Synod and its partners around the globe are serious about Ablaze! — a movement started by LCMS World Mission to reach 100 million people with the Gospel by 2017. There is a need, Kieschnick said, “to assist the pastors, educators and laypeople of our Synod with resources, materials and training to accomplish this monumental task.
“Also, in my visits with leaders of our 28 sister churches in different corners of the globe, I have become convinced that they are looking to the LCMS for the provision of such tools for the encouragement and proper motivation for their leaders and members, as well,” he said. “Missionary support and the development of new congregations in our country and beyond require significant financial resources.”
According to Roegner, only 21 cents of every dollar spent on world-mission efforts is derived in the traditional way — from offering plate, to district, to national Synod.
“That means that, of every dollar we have to spend, we have to raise 79 cents,” said Roegner. When you have an annual budget in excess of $22 million — the budget for LCMS World Mission for the 2004-05 fiscal year — that’s a significant amount of money to derive from individual donors, mission societies, foundations and others, he said.
“Without it, we would have only 21 cents of every dollar to spend, which would significantly change what we do in mission around the world.”
Roegner said he is “humbled and amazed at how far the Ablaze! vision has already been carried throughout the world.” A significant number of mission partners — both in the United States and abroad — are “actively involved or are looking for ways to become involved in Ablaze!,” he said.
To contribute directly to “One Mission Ablaze!,” send your offering, made payable to “One Mission Ablaze!,” to The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 790231, St. Louis, MO 63179-9723.
For more information, visit http://catalog.lcms.org on the Web.
Posted June 25, 2004