by Rev. Ronald E. Nelson
The successful distribution of 24,000 digital New Testaments at the 2007 LCMS National Youth Gathering was just the beginning of a partnership of LCMS World Mission with Hosanna Ministries of Albuquerque, N.M., and the American Bible Society to be a conduit for bringing God’s Word to the world.
The partnership will soon benefit Lutheran preschools. As a result of designated gifts to Fan into Flame, a pilot program is being conducted to test 20 preschool Bible-listening lessons.
Working through the School Ministry Department of LCMS District and Congregational Services, Ablaze! in God’s Word will provide each pilot preschool with
• a playback unit—similar to a portable radio—that has 20 Bible selections digitally recorded in a dramatic fashion, with music and sound effects;
• a teachers guide, reproducible handouts, and 20 Bible-story picture cards;
• a personal set of the 20 Bible-story picture cards for each child;
• an MP3 CD of selections from the Bible for each child, in English, for listening at home;
• a home-listening guide for parents.
In the classroom, children will listen to 20 Bible selections over 20 days. They will then be able to take the CD home and share the Bible selections with family members. A second CD is planned also. It will offer an alternate language that may be spoken in the home.
As it rolls out, the program will increase exposure to God’s Word in a format appropriate for young children. In addition, preschools will be offered the opportunity to support Bible-listening centers around the world (at $157.50 each), where the Bible will be shared in the local language.
India Seminary Begins Upgrades
Fan into Flame funds are supporting the drive to raise the accreditation standards of Concordia Seminary, Nagercoil, India, so that it can offer a bachelor of divinity (B.D.) degree.
Currently, the 78-year-old seminary is accredited only through high school. This means that India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) students who desire a B.D. degree must attend liberal ecumenical seminaries.
LCMS World Mission, in partnership with the Jesus Is Lord Mission Society, is in the midst of a multiyear plan for upgrading the seminary to meet the higher requirements. Fan into Flame gifts are providing $250,000 toward improvements such as the following:
• 20,000 additional library books
• Faculty office space
• Housing for single and married students
• Faculty and staff housing
• Studies for six faculty members to take them to the Master of Sacred Theology level
• Studies for four faculty members to reach the Doctor of Theology level
Fan into Flame is the national campaign in support of the Ablaze! vision of LCMS World Mission and its partners to share the Gospel with 100 million unreached or uncommitted people globally by 2017. The campaign, approved by the 2004 LCMS convention (Res. 1–04), supports outreach activities of Ablaze! and seeks gifts of $100 million by 2010.
Fan into Flame unrestricted funds are distributed quarterly based on an Acts 1:8 model: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem… Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Of the net proceeds, distributions consist of:
• 15 percent to participating congregations;
• 15 percent to the district;
• 20 percent for national mission projects;
• 50 percent to fund LCMS World Mission global projects.