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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) - upper midwest districts serves Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) organizations and members in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. LCEF is a unique ministry-through-investment organization that offers LCMS members the opportunity to invest their money, earn interest, and help build LCMS churches and schools at the same time. www.lcef.org

 

Loving Boldly: 2017 LCEF Fall Leadership Conference

LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

Well into its third decade, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) 2017 Fall Leadership Conference continued its tradition of presenting the Gospel-inspired results and benefits of church extension work. This year’s conference was held in New Orleans on Nov. 17-19.

Organized around their annual corporate meeting, the conference serves as an opportunity to acknowledge and applaud all that God has done through LCEF’s partnerships with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Every year the conference follows a theme. This year’s theme was “Love Boldly.”

In his opening remarks, LCEF Senior Vice President – Ministry Support and conference emcee Max Biesenthal noted the noble nature of “loving boldly.” In practice, he said, “we tend to love the things we like,” such as ice cream, naps, our children, sunsets and books. Instead, loving boldly challenges us to love the unlovable just as Christ has shown us.

One ministry loving boldly was Redeeming Life Maternity Home. This home for unwed mothers in Sanford, Fla., offers a safe haven for women who may not know a pro-life Christian option is available to them. Pastor Ed and Sheryl DeWitt started the ministry when their unmarried daughter learned she was pregnant and knew that abortion was not an option. Their daughter shared her situation with the congregation and asked for their support—and it was given in abundance. LCEF gave Redeeming Life the 2017 Fred E. Lietz Mission Project Award.

“I loved hearing the stories of the awardees,” Rev. Jeffery David Nickel of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Clarence, N.Y. said. “It’s encouraging to hear how God is working around us, often in small, nearly invisible ways,” through His people and investors. “It’s a testament that LCEF support makes a difference in the Church.”

For his tireless and charitable work at his congregation and in the community, Rev. Dennis Bartels received the Lietz Individual Ministry Award. Bartels is a 35-year veteran of Holy Cross in North Miami and LCEF advocate.

Florida-Georgia District President Greg Walton said the following about Bartels’ generosity: “Their school feeds 400 students both breakfast and lunch. And when Irma went through Miami and the school lost power, instead of losing all the food in their refrigerators they grilled it and gave it away.”

The awards are named in honor of Fred E. Lietz, an early church extension pioneer and LCEF’s first president.

Joy and loving boldly
Noteworthy speakers like radio talk show host and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and former San Francisco Giants baseball player Dave Dravecky advanced the 2017 conference theme in their one-of-a-kind ways.

Dravecky shared the story of losing his pitching arm to cancer and how the bold love of friends helped him navigate that dark period of his life. Cain spoke about the idea that “you cannot love boldly unless you are happy.” He then explained how to achieve that happiness: have something to do; have someone to love (starting with Jesus); and have something to hope for.
Cain’s point about happiness wasn’t lost on LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison who spoke Saturday morning. Harrison said, “If we cease caring for the least, the lost, the last, the disaster victim, the divorced, the struggling, the broken, we lose the soul of the Church. Bold love requires us to be joyful—joyfully Lutheran.”

Other speakers included LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day; Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty Greg Seltz; and Concordia College New York President Rev. Dr. John Nunes.

“Dr. Nunes’ presentation had the biggest impact on me,” said Rev. Jason Shaw of Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Jackson, Mo. “I loved his personal testimony. He removed fears that I have about changing trends in our culture and gave me hope that the best of the LCMS will survive and prayerfully thrive.”

Gathering of the Church
The conference highlights the impact LCMS ministries are having on their communities through LCEF support. Through the stories shared and awards given, attendees felt a sense of pride in the ongoing work of the Church, as well as confidence to continue building a bold future upon that solid foundation.

“The feeling of unity, within LCEF and the Church, is something special,” LCEF District Vice President—Montana and Wyoming Jeffery Snyder said.
For others, seeing old friends and gaining new ones makes the conference memorable. LCMS Pacific Southwest District President Larry A. Stoterau said, “The opportunity to be with leaders, both lay and professional … it becomes a great gathering of the Church.”
The Servant Event, hosted just hours before the conference officially starts on Friday, is the highlight of the weekend for many attendees. This event invites people to participate in a benevolence project. This year, care packages were filled for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

LCMS Northern Illinois District President Dan Gilbert, who attended the Servant Event with his wife, said, “The very positive atmosphere and the encouragement to continue faithfully in the Lord’s mission makes this one of the best LCMS events I attend, year after year.”
Saturday afternoon was dedicated to LCEF’s annual meeting, which serves as an official review of the fund and current organization objectives. LCEF Board of Directors (BOD), officers, members-at-large, former staff, district vice presidents and district voting delegates attended this two-hour gathering.

George Cook, international consulting director with Graystone Consulting, shared an overview of the economy, as well as an investment market presentation. LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day reported on LCEF’s 2017 fiscal year performance metrics; announcement of earnings distribution to the Synod and partner districts; and core initiatives for 2018 fiscal year.
To fill a vacant BOD seat in the West Region, members voted and elected Dale Wagner.

Wagner is a retired finance executive and sat on the LCEF Rocky Mountain District Loan Committee. To fill a vacancy in the East Central Region, members voted and elected Don Scifres. Scifres is President of SmartFile in Indianapolis and serves on the LCMS Indiana District Board of Directors. Incumbents Michael Kzirian and Mark Pieper, both up for re-election, kept their BOD seats. Additionally, a vacancy in an At-Large position was filled with the election of David Worthington by the LCMS Board of Directors at their November 2017 meeting.

Ending on a strong note
There was a general feeling that the love boldly theme energized the attendees and all the presenters connected back to it. This truth could be seen on display during Sunday’s Divine Service.

Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall, first vice president of the Southern District, preached on 1 Corinthians 13:13, the conference verse. He said, “When we are dire and in despair we need to have hope, unconditional love. We need to keep reminding those who are hurting of this truth, through words and deeds, God is love.”

He left the audience with this thought-provoking question: “Does the world know how much we love?”

LCEF, a non-profit organization, has served as the financial extension of the LCMS since 1978, offering funding and resources to congregations, schools and Rostered Church Workers through investment support of LCMS members.

The mission of LCEF is to support the Church in fulfilling its mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being a Christ-centered servant partner of the LCMS, ensuring that funds and services are available now and in the future.

Zion Celebrated LCEF Sunday

The LCEF Loan Rebate Check was received, on behalf of the congregation on Oct. 15, 2017, by Zion LCEF Advocate Bonnie Brooks and Zion Congregation Chair Larry Gebhardt.

The LCEF Loan Rebate Check was received, on behalf of the congregation on Oct. 15, 2017, by Zion LCEF Advocate Bonnie Brooks and Zion Congregation Chair Larry Gebhardt.

In celebration of receiving their Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Shared Blessings Rebate, Zion Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Minnesota hosted an LCEF Sunday on Oct. 15, 2017. LCEF Minnesota North District Vice President George Miller presented the congregation with a rebate check of more than $4,800.

Congratulations to the members and families of Zion whose personal LCEF investments not only helped fund Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries across the nation but also helped Zion earn their loan rebate this year.

Zion LCEF Advocate Bonnie Brooks helped raise awareness of the rebate opportunity; the congregation now has nearly 19% investors including more than 50 Y.I. Club members—well done!

For more information on how to become an LCEF investor or obtain loan funding for your LCMS church or school, please visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

 

WI State Youth Gathering Heroes!

Saturday evening worship was hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Dells and officiated by Rev. Matt Gehrke.

Saturday evening worship was hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Dells and officiated by Rev. Matt Gehrke.

More than 260 high school youth and adult leaders joined together to learn, study, worship and experience fellowship at the 2017 Wisconsin State Youth Gathering on November 3-5 at the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. 

Based upon Hebrews 1:1-5, the gathering theme was “HERO: Greater. Better. True.” Students spent time in God’s Word, praising Him with music and learning about the true Hero—Jesus.

Saturday evening worship was hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Dells and officiated by Rev. Matt Gehrke.

Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) North Wisconsin and South Wisconsin Districts were blessed to partner as sponsors of this uplifting event. In appreciation of the youth, LCEF also provided an online LCEF Gift Card Giveaway at the gathering. 

The four LCEF gift card recipients—announced at the Mass Event on Sunday morning—were Gavin Zawicki, Trinity Lutheran Church, Racine; Clay Schult, Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau; Ryan Lampi, Christ Lutheran, Abbotsford and Lauren Issacson, Immanuel Lutheran, Brookfield—all of Wisconsin.


LCEF offers the Young Investors (Y.I.) Club for young people to help others learn about Jesus and save for their own futures.

Features of the Young Investors (Y.I.) StewardAcccount®
•    Minimum of $25 to open account (ages 0-18)
•    Premium interest rates on balances up to $1,000
•    Savings are accessible
•    Extra Credit of up to $50/year for community service and good grades (ages 7-18)
•    Checks and Visa® debit card available to custodian
•    Debit card available to your child at age 16
•    Interest compounded and paid monthly
•    Opportunity to make additional investments with checks or Y.I. Stamps
 

Learn more at lcef.org.

LCEF is a nonprofit religious organization; therefore, LCEF investments are not FDIC-insured bank deposit accounts. This is not an offer to sell investments, nor a solicitation to buy. LCEF will offer and sell its securities only in states where authorized. The offer is made solely by LCEF's Offering Circular. Investors should carefully read the Offering Circular, which more fully describes associated risks. StewardAccount access features are offered through UMB Bank n.a. The StewardAccount is not available to investors in South Carolina.

Young Stamper Saves for Future

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Stamps, saving and supporting his school!

Pictured left, young Eli is working on filling up his Y.I. stamp sheet at Mount Olive Lutheran School, Des Moines, Iowa. Assisting Eli is Mount Olive parent volunteer and Y.I. Stamp Coordinator Jeff Rains on Friday morning, November 3, 2017.

As a member of the Young Investors (Y.I.) Club, Eli has an investment that earns great interest for his future needs. Not only is it his own personal investment, through the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), Eli is also supporting his school and other Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries across the nation. 

LCEF helped fund extensive renovations at the school in 2014; since then Mount Olive has been eligible for an annual Shared Blessings Loan Rebate. "Every LCEF investor, including young Eli as a Y.I. Club member, helps the school receive rebate dollars back for ministry each year. It's win-win." said LCEF Iowa Districts East & West Vice President Carole White. "The school just started offering stamps this fall and already has nearly 40 Y.I. Club members."

 

The Young Investors Club makes saving money fun while teaching children to give thanks for God’s blessings. Through Y.I. Club newsletters, activities and web pages including the online Y.I. Activity Center, children learn the value of saving, spending and sharing money—while empowering ministry through Lutheran Church Extension Fund.

Learn more at lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.