People who want to support the formation and care of pastors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod can now see nearly a dozen opportunities to do so all in one place: a new Pastoral Formation and Care online giving catalog.
The words “Pastoral Formation and Care” reflect a variety of giving options that support the identification, recruitment and education of future pastors, continuing education for clergy and the ongoing spiritual, physical and financial well-being of both current and future pastors — all of which can affect the spiritual health of congregations and their members.
The opportunity to support LCMS deaconess ministry under the supervision of a called and ordained pastor also is included.
Together As Synod (unrestricted gift)
The traditional “subsidy” given by the LCMS to its seminaries comes out of unrestricted gifts to the LCMS and Sunday morning worship offerings, which means that every unrestricted contribution helps shore up LCMS seminaries and students.
Mark Hofman, executive director of LCMS Mission Advancement, notes that this type of gift “rises in importance as LCMS congregations and district budgets become increasingly unable to fund Synod’s seminary subsidy out of weekly worship offerings.”
LCMS Joint Seminary Fund
Contributors to the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund strengthen the mission of preparing future messengers of God’s forgiveness. Donations are restricted in use by the Synod to providing annual supplemental grants for the seminaries (over and above the “subsidy”). Each seminary may use these offerings wherever the financial need is greatest.
Global Seminary Initiative (GSI)
The Global Seminary Initiative helps Lutheran seminaries in other countries prepare messengers of the Gospel for their own people. Contributions also support the enrollment and training of international students at the two LCMS seminaries for future leadership roles in partner churches.
Deaconesses share Christ’s mercy by serving under the supervision of a pastor and extending pastoral care in a variety of ways. A gift to Deaconess Ministry helps recruit and prepare deaconesses for service and builds up deaconess ministry in LCMS partner churches.
Soldiers of the Cross: Pastoral and Family Care
Contributions to Soldiers of the Cross support actively-serving workers through times of crisis by providing for emergency short-term grants, pastoral care and case management in partnership with an eligible worker’s district president. These gifts also can supplement aid to retired workers provided by Veterans of the Cross.
Veterans of the Cross: Pastoral and Family Care
Contributors to Veterans of the Cross help retired workers and surviving spouses afford basic necessities such as medicine, food and utilities. Grants and pastoral care received from Veterans of the Cross are possible only because of these donations.
Specialized Pastoral Ministry
Not everyone can attend a church to worship and hear God’s Word. Gifts to Specialized Pastoral Ministry provide resources and services to God’s messengers called to Word and Sacrament ministry in places like hospitals, prisons and retirement homes.
LCMS colleges and universities prepare professional church workers, including pre-seminary students and deaconesses, as well as schoolteachers, DCEs and others. A gift here strengthens the recruitment and education of future church workers.
Endowment for Pastoral Formation and Care
An endowment can be an enduring witness to personal faith, leaving a legacy to support pastors and other trained servants until the Last Day. Each endowment under Pastoral Formation and Care is as unique as the donor(s) establishing and giving to it. An individual or family can choose to establish a named endowment in any of the areas under Pastoral Formation and Care.
Unique opportunities also exist to establish legacy endowments in the various areas of study in theological education, i.e., Exegetical, Historical, Systematic and Practical Theology.
RSO Partners in Pastoral Formation and Care
The LCMS has several Recognized Service Organization partners like Grace Place, Shepherd’s Canyon and Doxology whose work serves and supports pastors. The LCMS supplies financial resources from donors who give to World Relief and Human Care.
Says Hofman, of the new Pastoral Formation and Care set of funds:
“God’s people in the LCMS do far more to prepare and care for His messengers of forgiveness than most of us realize, and this work goes well beyond our seminaries. The purpose here is to present the picture of the many ways people love and care for pastors, as well as other church professionals.
“Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will lead many others to seize the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our workers from the day they first sense a tug into professional church work until they draw their very last breath. Other opportunities are coming, and we’re also interested to know what people would like to see included in this grouping called ‘Pastoral Formation and Care.’ ”
Gifts to any of these funds can be made by mail, online or over the telephone, as well as through planned giving such as donor-advised funds, a Christian will or trust, or contributions using assets. For details on how to give, visit the LCMS giving page:Give Now
Posted Dec. 5, 2017