Vessey urges support of 'For the Sake of the Church'

ST. LOUIS – The chairman of the “For the Sake of the Church” Cabinet called on congregations to support the effort to double the number of LCMS students enrolled in the Concordia University System (CUS) and raise $400 million in endowment funds.


“For the Sake of the Church” is an initiative that spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ by strengthening the CUS, said Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., chairman of a 22-member cabinet overseeing the effort. Vessey, who spoke to the LCMS Regular Convention July 12, is a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and served in that role under the late President Reagan.


Since it was initiated in 2000, “For the Sake of the Church” has raised $120 million in new endowment funds, and enrollments are up 20 percent overall at the 10 colleges and universities in the Concordia University System, Vessey said.  “God has certainly blessed this effort,” he said.


On Sunday, July 11, nearly 20 percent of LCMS congregations held worship without the leadership of a pastor because there aren’t enough pastors, Vessey said.  Studies showed the number of the Synod’s professional leaders was expected to continue to decline, he said.


“Just pumping in more replacements won’t solve the problem,” said Vessey.  “Nevertheless we need to replace our losses.”


Vessey encouraged delegates to visit and learn more about CUS schools.  “The Lord of the harvest has laid out rich fields before us, and we need to send workers,” he added.


For the Sake of the Church is also supported by a $1.1 million challenge grant from  Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, contingent on the CUS and its schools raising another $2.5 million in endowment funds.


Posted July 12, 2004

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