by Roland Lovstad
One Gift—Many Messengers: National Offering Supports Seminaries
One Message: Christ,” the LCMS convention theme, emphasizes worldwide Gospel proclamation, and it calls attention to the need for pastors who will proclaim that message.
Therefore, “One Gift—Many Messengers” is an accompanying theme for the “Preparing Pastors Worldwide” national offering to raise $1 million to support seminary education. Convention delegates will bring their gifts and offerings from their congregations and circuits. LCMS congregations and their members are also invited to make their gifts directly.
“Not every individual has received information about the offering, but every one has a need for a pastor,” says Cindy Simpson, vice president for the Joint Seminary Fund of the LCMS Foundation. “We can’t stop preparing pastors; it’s not an option.”
Two-thirds of the offering will support Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. One-third of the gifts will assist seminary programs of partner churches worldwide.
“This offering seeks to move us beyond the status quo of just filling vacancies,” says Simpson, who notes that one in three of the Synod’s active pastors will be eligible for retirement by 2009 and another third will reach retirement age by 2019. “We have to look at our vacancies, but also toward the outreach opportunities within and beyond our American borders. Then we realize the magnitude of the educational task. It’s unending.”
Simpson said educational expenses also continue as seminaries develop curricula, pay faculty and staff, maintain facilities, offer distance and continuing education, and provide student aid. Those needs exist in the United States as well as among the 29 LCMS partner churches.
The national offering will continue beyond the convention. For more infor-mation, see www.lcms.org/Pastoral Education or call the Foundation at (800) 325-7912, ext. 1675. Gifts may be made directly via the Internet.