Your congregation is giving meaning, purpose, and hope to peoples’ lives. God’s Holy Spirit calls us to live by faith, hope, and love. Fear is set aside as we follow Jesus together.
I am grateful for what you do together in your local setting to grow in faith practices. As a church, you worship together, grow in God’s Spirit through Word and Sacrament, and provide ministries for various ages. As lives unfold – baptisms, weddings, funerals – you support one another in times of joy and sorrow. You invite people new to your community into God’s vision for the world and help them discern what God is calling them to do in God’s world through their vocations/callings. For all of this, and more, I am grateful for your local congregation and its local mission and ministry.
I am also grateful for our partnership in the Gospel. You move forward God’s vision and mission through Mission Support. Those dollars – a small percent of what you receive from local offerings, tithes, or bequests – are sent through our synod office for partnership ministry. Ministry is done here in our synod and throughout the world through our ELCA churchwide partnership! You make that possible. I am grateful!
The graph below shows a narrative budget. What it means is that 100% of your Mission Support goes to do God’s work! Of each $100 of your Mission Support, 48.5% ($48.50) provides local support for 237 congregations in SW MN as they discern and live God’s calling for today. For example,
- Your synod leaders are there when a pastor needs support or a church council has a question.
- In 2017 you provided support for House of Grace in its third year of formation in Montrose as Pr. Kimberly Buffie reaches out to many persons, especially children, who live below the poverty line.
- You were there when Alex Becker, a first-call candidate for ministry, discerned his call and then was called to St. John’s in Annandale. Alex is one of more than 20 persons discerning their call to rostered ministry in our synod!
- And through our shared ministries you provide support for Luther Seminary, Lutheran Campus Ministry, and several other partners to serve local congregations.
The remaining Mission Support dollars, 51.5% ($51.50 of each $100), provides our ELCA churchwide network the funding to do ministry throughout the USA and the world!
- You helped start more than 60 new congregations.
- Your congregation helped support missionaries in more than 90 countries.
- Your congregation offered its help through Lutheran Disaster Response and ELCA World Hunger as these ministries brought your congregation’s love to people in times of crisis.
I am grateful for our partnership!
I am writing to ask for your continued support in 2018 as you form your mission plan or budget.
As you discern what partnership level you will provide in 2018, let me encourage you to do the following:
TELL your local people about God’s story. Tell how they support and change lives. Let them know that their financial response to God’s grace supports God’s ministry right here. Emphasize this is God’s local mission to have a pastor. Then tell them a story of the impact their generosity makes. What is a ministry your congregation is proud of? Tell that story. Then tell a story from our synod. You can find video stories on the Embrace God’s Mission + Equip God’s People Funding Initiative webpage. Or visit our ELCA website www.elca.org and see “Stories of Faith in Action” or many other resources.
ASK them to increase their giving by .5-1% of their household income for 2018. If you need help, please contact Larry Strenge at our synod office for coaching.
THANK them for being part of God’s mission throughout the world. Your investment in God’s mission and the ministries of our ELCA’s Southwestern Minnesota Synod and ELCA churchwide partnership through prayer and Mission Support makes it possible for these words to be spoken: God is at work here! Love is on the move. Fear and death will not win in this world!
I ask you to increase your congregation’s Mission Support (partnership support) by that same .5-1% you asked of each household. Think of your congregation’s overall offerings, tithes, and bequests as one household and increase this by .5-1% in 2018.
Please know that I am grateful for our partnership in God’s mission and ministry to God’s world! You are changing lives as we follow Jesus TOGETHER! Thank you!
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
Helpful Mission Support Resources
– Bishop Eaton’s Video on Elijah, the widow and Mission Support
– Frequently Asked Questions about Mission Support
– Where Does my Offering Go?
– How Mission Support Works