Board approves missions fundraising change

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Synod’s Board of Directors has approved a resolution that, starting no sooner than next July 1, will transfer “Level 1” fundraising activities for the Synod’s Board for Mission Services (BFMS) from the LCMS Foundation to the missions board.
That action came during the Board’s Nov. 16-17 meeting here.
“Level 1” is described in backup material for the meeting as “face-to-face donor contact activities through principal gift activity, adoption agreements, and donor clubs.”
The Foundation will retain non-face-to-face donor contacts on behalf of the BFMS, and will continue to provide services such as gift processing, gift reporting, and database management.
Before the Board acted on the proposal, it heard from BFMS Executive Director Robert Roegner and Chairman Kermit (Butch) Almstedt, and Foundation President Thomas Ries.
Roegner explained that with Level 1 fundraising the responsibility of the missions staff, it would be with those “who have passion for the Synod’s mission activity — those who know it best.”
Ries agreed with Roegner on that point, saying that some of that passion for mission has been shared by Foundation staff who have conducted Level 1 activity for the BFMS, “but not at the same rate that the change would allow.” 
The printed proposal from Roegner and Ries notes that the executive director of LCMS World Mission will invite Foundation employees conducting Level 1 activities for the BFMS to “continue in their work as employees of World Mission.”
The Board of Directors first considered transferring Level 1 activities to the BFMS at its May meeting, but postponed action until a transition plan could be prepared.  A survey of BFMS and LCMS Foundation personnel also was conducted.
In their printed backup material, Roegner and Ries presented “major findings” of the survey and planning process, including:

  • “The BFMS requests the change in order for LCMS World Mission to have more direct authority and responsibility for both revenue as well as expenses.”

  • “The proposed change is intended to more fully engage LCMS World Mission personnel in the fundraising process, an objective that has been an intentional and stated part of the current model since 2004.”

  • “Opinion is divided on whether the proposed transition will improve fundraising results for LCMS World Mission.”

Among other actions, the Board approved a recommendation of the Synod’s Corporate Synod Executives (CSE) to reapportion $925,355 of the 2007 Thrivent Financial for Lutherans $1.4 million block grant to the Synod, with funds now primarily to be used for the Ablaze! movement and for stewardship initiatives.

In August, the Board took actions to accept the CSE’s request to terminate an ad campaign that previously had been apportioned $1 million of the grant, and to amend the Synod’s 2006-07 budget by temporarily transferring the remaining funds for the campaign from the LCMS Board for Communication Services to the corporate Synod.

The reapportionment, effective with the Board’s action last month, applies the following in grant funds:

  • $400,000 for the Ablaze! comprehensive communications plan;

  • $360,000 for Ablaze! covenant congregations;

  • $40,000 for the National Circuit Counselors Conference;

  • $53,000 for “Faith Aflame: 360 Degree Stewardship”;

  • $60,500 for “Stewardship Advocates”; and

  • $11,855 for Synod-sponsored events.

The Board appointed two church professionals to fill vacancies on other Synod boards.  They are Rev. Philip R. Kuehnert of Fairbanks, Alaska, to the Board for Mission Services, and Richard Cohrs, a teacher from Bay Port, Mich., to the Board for Pastoral Education.
In preparation for elections at the 2007 Synod convention, the Board unanimously nominated Vice President-Finance — Treasurer Thomas Kuchta for re-election to that post.
On Nov. 15, the Board joined the LCMS Council of Presidents for a joint session concerning stewardship matters in the Synod.  Included in discussion and presentations was the report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Funding the Mission.
Ron Schultz, the Synod’s chief administrative officer, spoke of visits he has made and plans to make with boards of directors of the 35 LCMS districts.
“The Board wants to continue to develop and nurture relationships with district boards of directors,” Schultz later told Reporter.
Synod Secretary Raymond Hartwig led a Bible study on patience at the beginning of the meeting.  That topic is one of the principles the Board has identified to help develop trust.
“We learn patience best from Christ’s example when he patiently endured the cross,” Hartwig told the Board.  He also pointed out that Martin Luther wrote that “the art of defense against the enemies of body and soul is the ‘sweet, delightful little plant called patience,’ the product of faith and suffering and a gift of God through the Holy Spirit.”

Posted Dec. 4, 2006

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