In support of the Ablaze! outreach movement, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) and LCMS World Mission have established a “Mission Planting Fund” to provide low-cost loans for new mission starts in the United States.
“We are committed to providing resources to plant 2,000 new missions in the United States by 2017, one of the major goals of Ablaze!,” said LCEF President Merle Freitag.
Loans of up to $1 million each will be made available at a special loan rate equal to LCEF’s cost of funds — 4.75 percent as of Dec. 1. LCMS World Mission will prioritize and approve the loan applications. After three years, any loans still outstanding will be converted to traditional loans.
“We currently have $3.5 million earning interest in the Mission Planting Fund,” added Freitag. LCEF will allocate a portion of its annual operating earnings to the fund for up to five years. This year, LCEF has contributed $300,000 to the fund.
In a joint statement, Freitag and LCMS World Mission Executive Director Robert Roegner said that together, the Mission Planting Fund and the Synod’s Fan Into Flame fund drive promise to provide significant resources for church planting. Fan Into Flame seeks to raise by 2010 $100 million in support of Ablaze! and includes a component for mission planting that will partner with the Mission Planting Fund, as well as components for other needs, such as more missionaries, theological education, and a mission endowment fund.
“LCEF investors may designate interest from their current investments to support outreach by dedicating that interest to the Mission Planting Fund,” Freitag said. “Let’s grow this fund together so that mission planting is never postponed due to a lack of funds.”
Loans from the fund may be used for capital improvements, site acquisition, and non-capital-related costs, according to Roegner. LCMS World Mission and LCEF, he added, “are ready to receive requests!”
For information about applying for a Mission Planting Fund loan, contact your LCEF district vice president or call LCEF at (800) 843-5233.
Posted Nov. 21, 2007