As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.
How do we respond to God’s call to serve and love our neighbors? We faithfully steward the gifts God has so abundantly given to us. On this page you will find resources for stewardship – congregational, personal, and household stewardship.
What is Mission Support? Mission Support is the portion of your weekly financial offering that your congregation shares with your synod and the churchwide organization, the other two expressions of this church. As members of the ELCA, we do mission together through our financial giving. We do God’s work in ways that no individual, congregation, or synod can do alone.
In our Southwestern Minnesota Synod, 51.5% of your Mission Support offerings are being shared with churchwide ministries of our ELCA and the other 48.5% funds ministries of our synod.
In 2015 we passed through our synod $471,169 for designated gifts, including World Hunger, Lutheran Disaster Response, Missionary Sponsorships, Companion Synod projects in the South Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, seminary scholarships, seminary student debt reduction, and more. Thanks be to God for sharing generously!
How Mission Support Works
Your offering is stewarded by your congregation’s council to support the work of your congregation. When your congregation votes to adopt its annual budget, you designate a portion of your offering to be shared with your synod and the ELCA churchwide organization. These fund are call Mission Support
Your Congregation’s Mission Support dollars are then stewarded by your synod leaders to support the work of the synod. Synods use Mission Support to nurture ELCA congregations and rostered leaders and support local partners (camps, colleges, seminaries and more). Some synods support companion churches around the world. Synods also designate a portion of the Mission Support funds they receive to be sent to the churchwide organization.
Your Churchwide Organization
Your churchwide organization stewards Mission Support dollars to respond to national and worldwide ministries and to lead ministry initiatives on behalf of the whole church. A few of those ministries are highlighted in the Stories of Faith in Action publication, but there are many others that together create a strong witness to the love of Christ.
In 2016, ELCA members gave $1.75 billion in unrestricted offerings* to support God’s mission and ministry through the three expressions of the ELCA.
*Unrestricted offerings do not include special offerings such as congregational capital improvements or gifts to ministries like Lutheran Disaster Response.
94.4% Congregations ($1.65 billion was stewarded by the ELCA’s 9,300 congregations)
3% Synods (52.5 million was stewarded by the ELCA’s 65 synods)
2.6% Churchwide Organization (45.2 million was stewarded by the ELCA churchwide organization)
Click here to read Stories of Faith in Action to see how your offering from the past year has made a difference in raising up leaders and revitalizing congregations.
Where does my offering go?
Making a planned gift is a powerful way to express your compassion and values. Your planned gift becomes a witness to your faith in Jesus Christ. Rev. Larry Strenge, our synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission is available to help you plan and develop your holistic stewardship education as well as help you put together a financial generosity strategy.
Amy Bigot, our synod’s Regional Gift Planner, can also provide expertise, resources, financial education, and investment and endowment management services to help explore the variety of possibilities to give with generosity – today and into the future.
Rev. Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA
Amy Bigot, Regional Gift Planner, ELCA Foundation
The ELCA Foundation offers planning guidance, impact stories, and information on endowment investing. Click here to view the ELCA Foundation webpage.
Embrace God’s Mission + Equip God’s People Funding Initiative
As people and congregations of our Southwestern Minnesota Synod, we stand together at a pivotal moment. We are confronting challenges for all of us in our modern society. At the same time we are called by our Lord to move forward with hope and great expectations. It is time for us to prepare for the future. It is time to mobilize God’s people for God’s work!
Although some think of stewardship as only a financial response to God’s love, stewardship encompasses so much more than money. It is about how we use all that God has entrusted to our care – our time, our talents, and our treasures – to love God and our neighbors, both inside and outside of the church walls and our homes.
All of these resources are links. Please click the titles below to view.
Building a Stewardship House: Tools for a Strong Foundation of Generosity
Click here to view the entire live event from August 27, 2015. (The sound/slide issues are resolved after 18 mins.)
- Opening Thoughts – Bishop Jon Anderson
- Because Anxiety Makes Us Stupid – Rev. Catherine Malotky
- Young Adults & Giving: From Myths to Ministry – Rev. Adam Copeland
- Surprise! Introverted Treasurers Positively Affect Stewardship – David Anfinson
- Crowdfunding the Church – Rev. Adam Copeland
- Closing Thoughts – Bishop Steve Delzer