'Fan into Flame' hits $50 million mark

As of July 30, Fan into Flame, the capital campaign to raise $100 million for new Ablaze!-related ministries, was halfway to its goal, having raised more than $50 million in gifts and pledges since it was authorized by the Synod in convention in fan.gif2004.

The total represents nearly 20,000 gifts — including more than $23 million in cash — from some 7,000 individuals and 850 congregations.

“We thank God for the resources He provides, and we thank each and every donor for these generous gifts,” said Dr. William R. Diekelman, LCMS first vice president and Fan into Flame spokesman.  “The LCMS is committed to Gospel proclamation around the world and to doing all we can to extend the kingdom of God.”

Fan into Flame funds already are being used by congregations, districts, and LCMS World Mission, says Diekelman, “to reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

As the campaign continues, he added, “we pray that others will be moved to participate, and we look forward in confidence that the Lord will see us through to the successful achievement of the campaign’s goals.”

Since 2005, the campaign has unfolded, district by district.

Campaign gifts are distributed quarterly to fund new outreach ministries:

  • in local communities, by participating congregations.
  • in U.S. regions, by participating districts.
  • nationally, including church planting and “revitalization” of existing congregations.
  • worldwide, through missionaries and partner churches.

Each congregation and district that contributes to Fan into Flame receives back a net 15 percent portion of the funds they collect to start new outreach ministries.  So far, $1.2 million has been disbursed to congregations, and $4.17 million to districts.

Even if the campaign’s total falls short of its $100 million goal, it still will have raised awareness about mission-centered stewardship and raised an “unprecedented” amount of money for God’s mission worldwide, according to Jeffrey A. Craig-Meyer, who oversees the fundraising as associate executive director of Development Services with LCMS World Mission.

Craig-Meyer said he’s amazed that, even in the midst of a recession, contributions this year have surpassed those of 2008.  And, about a third of the Synod’s 35 districts are just starting their Fan into Flame campaigns, he noted, so the total amount likely will grow.

Funds received so far are “a tremendous blessing,” he said, and have enabled the Synod to place 26 new missionaries, among many other mission-related efforts.

Dr. Thomas R. Zehnder, executive director of LCMS World Mission, said the campaign is “making great impact at the local level, where congregations apply their Fan into Flame funds to immediate community outreach.”

It is in these local neighborhoods, he said, “that many people are being connected to the love of Christ.”

For information about participating in the campaign, contact your congregation’s district office or call the Fan into Flame office at 800-977-2017.

Posted Aug. 12, 2009

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