by Melanie Ave
The Lutheran Mission Society is there for people who fall through life’s cracks.
It’s there for people who have been wounded by job loss, personal or relational tragedies, loss of hope and direction, according to the Rev. Dr. David R. Maack, executive director of the Baltimore-based Lutheran Mission Society. It provides for both the physical and spiritual needs of people.
Said one 41-year-old woman, who had lived on the streets since childhood and came to the Lutheran Mission Society for food: “I was hardened with hatred. I wanted to change my life so bad, but I didn’t know how. The Lutheran Mission Society showed me how. They taught me to believe — in myself and in Jesus.”
The LCMS works with 171 independent Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs), like the Lutheran Mission Society. RSOs extend the church’s reach by providing faith-based social and mercy ministry and outreach. The current roster of RSOs includes 116 social ministry organizations, 27 mission agencies, 13 camps, three campus ministries, two communications organizations and 10 other nonprofits devoted to specialized outreach.
RSOs are able to address human, social, economic, educational and spiritual needs that would otherwise be beyond the resources of one organization alone, said Deaconess Dorothy Krans, director of LCMS RSOs.
“RSOs are showing the love and compassion of Christ as they help the needy, the suffering, the lonely, the aging, the families, the youth and others,” she said.
“RSOs are showing the love and compassion of Christ as they help the needy, the suffering, the lonely, the aging, the families, the youth and others.”
The LCMS began recognizing service organizations in 1979. The LCMS Board of Directors approved
a new RSO application and review process in 2008 ensuring that RSO programs are in harmony with the doctrine and practice of the LCMS. RSOs can reapply every five years.
Once an organization has been granted RSO status, it can issue calls for ordained and commissioned ministers on the LCMS roster, use the LCMS logo, apply for loans through the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, seek LCMS grants, and participate in the Concordia Health Plan and the LCMS Group Purchasing Agreement.
“RSOs value their Lutheran identity and relationship to the church,” Krans said. “It says who they are and why they show mercy and compassion. They serve those in need and share the Good News of the Gospel.”
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