2016-19 National Offering

National Offering

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod gathers in convention every three years, and the Synod determines our mission and ministry priorities for the coming triennium. LCMS convention delegates convened in Milwaukee in July 2016 under the theme “Upon This Rock.”

By God’s grace, people in the LCMS already have responded with $411,305.69 in special contributions through Sept. 30, 2016 (unaudited). The following report details first-round allocations of the 2016-19 National Offering gifts received through September 2016.

You can continue this mission momentum through your ongoing support of this triennium’s National Offering.

  • Continue reading
  • Ahead of the convention, LCMS households, congregations and organizations were invited and encouraged to participate in a Synod-wide gathering of special gifts for the 2016-19 National Offering. These are gifts for action and impact in the lives of others — joyfully given by those united “Upon This Rock.”

    In announcing and promoting the Offering, our Synod made a commitment that contributions would be used to empower ministry work carried out by the Synod’s Offices of International and National Mission, as well as Pastoral Education (specifically the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund), excluding the personnel and administration costs of the LCMS (apart from those costs that result from promoting the National Offering). The LCMS committed to providing a report to the church how all funds received are allocated.

    Second-round allocations likely will be decided at the conclusion of the intensive year-end giving season.


First-Round Allocations

2016-19 National Offering

International Mission — 34% ($139,200)

National Mission — 34% ($139,200)

Seminary Support — 17% ($69,600)

National Offering Cost — 10% ($41,130.57)

On Deposit for Second Round — 5% ($22,175.12)

Download report >>   

First-Round Allocation Details

The Synod compiled a report on first-round allocations of the National Offering gifts received through Sept. 30, 2016. Download the report to learn how the funds are being allocated, and details are also available below.

  • International Mission
  • International Mission: CLET Scholarships

    Allocation Amount: $79,200

    FY 2017 Funding Required:

    Project ID: A16156-20701-385

    Project Oversight: Rev. Kombondjar Souk, Director – CLET

    Emphasis: Witness

    Description: The Lutheran Center for Theological Studies (Centre Luthériend 'Etudes Théologiques, or CLET) in Dapaong, Togo, serves as a regional seminary. The French-speaking Lutheran church in Togo operates the seminary; however, students from other French-speaking countries in West and Central Africa attend the seminary as well. Students and their families live and study at CLET. The program involves three years of preparation for ordination to the pastoral ministry. Funds for CLET provide for students' living and educational expenses.

    What this allocation pays for: Proceeds for CLET go toward scholarships for students from the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Republic of the Congo and Togo who are otherwise unable to afford the cost of attending this regional seminary.


    International Mission: Eurasia Theological Education

    Allocation Amount: $30,000

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Oversight: Rev. James Krikava, Regional Director – Eurasia

    Account Number: A16156-20701-734

    Emphasis: Witness

    Description: Theological education on the mission field is crucial for the training of indigenous members preparing to become pastors, teachers, deacons and deaconesses. This project will bring theological educators to established seminaries and teaching locations. It also will send local pastors to established seminaries for seminars or full courses. Confessional Lutheran teachers will have an impact on young, developing leaders. The education serves to develop the witness of the Lutheran Church.

    What this allocation pays for: Funds will provide financial assistance to students from countries in the Eurasia region so they can attend the Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, international extension campus in Gothenburg, Sweden; travel expenses for theological faculty (who are not part of the Office of International Mission or funded by the Global Seminary Initiative) to teach at various seminaries and theological conferences in Eurasia; and expenses associated with sponsoring theological conferences in the Eurasia region.


    International Mission: Latin America Luther Academy

    Allocation Amount: $30,000

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Oversight: Rev. Ted Krey, Regional Director – Latin America

    Account Number: A16156-20701-742

    Emphasis: Witness

    Description: Many Lutheran pastors in Latin America find themselves serving several congregations at the same time. The nearest neighboring pastor might be more than five hours away. As these pastors serve multi-point parishes, it becomes essential to offer them the opportunity to be fed by Jesus in the hearing of His Word through study and having evenings to enjoy much-needed fellowship with other pastors, especially those in similar situations. A recent Luther Academy conference in Argentina saw 76 pastors receive instruction. Each also was given a pastoral companion book containing special prayers and Scripture readings for the sick, the depressed, those suffering the recent death of a loved one and many other moments of crisis in one’s life. In addition, participating pastors received communion kits and were led through the practice of visiting those in need of the Lord´s presence through bread and wine, His body and blood. Many of the pastors were overjoyed to have received this training. Through more than 50 theological conferences in the past five years, Luther Academy encouraged national pastors throughout Latin America. Each year, 10 conferences taught by Lutheran pastors and professors from Latin America and the U.S. are held in five Latin American countries. Each Luther Academy conference covers a variety of topics designed to meet the specific needs of local participating pastors.

    What this allocation pays for: Funds cover Luther Academy conference costs, including local instructors, food and lodging, and local transportation (as needed) for attendees. (Communion kits are being funded by a grant from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and 200 pastoral companion books are being funded by donations to the Translation Team – Theological Material, or VDMA, project.)


  • National Mission
  • National Mission: Lutheran Study Bibles for Youth Servant Events

    Allocation Amount: $20,000

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Oversight: Rev. Mark Kiessling, Director – LCMS Youth Ministry

    Account Number: 24693-YG9003

    Emphasis: Life Together

    Description: Young people who attended the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans received a copy of Concordia Publishing House’s The Lutheran Study Bible, funded by a part of their registration fees and a gracious, youth-centered partnership with CPH. The resource of God’s Word, paired with additional study aids and tools, teaches the faith and supports the understanding of God’s truth and His love for us in Jesus Christ. An allocation of $20,000 from the 2016-19 National Offering is making it possible for the Youth Ministry Department in the Office of National Mission to provide a copy of The Lutheran Study Bible free of charge for up to 1,666 additional young people who will participate in the series of 2016-17 LCMS Servant Events, set to take place all across the United States.

    What this allocation pays for: As noted above, funds will provide up to 1,666 copies of The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH) for youth participating in Servant Events — at least for those youth who don’t already have one — so they can deepen their understanding of God’s Word.


    National Mission: Hope Center Ferguson (Missouri) Support

    Allocation Amount: $70,000

    Estimated Annual Funding Required:
    $134,444 (post construction)

    Project Oversight: Rev. Steve Schave, Director – LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission

    Account Number: ETH113-25813

    Emphases: Mercy, Witness

    Description:The Hope Center is planned to be at the epicenter of unrest that rippled across the nation starting in August 2014. The area will now have the opportunity to be the center of hope. The new Center will provide ways to address factors that have caused division. The goal is to work with local authorities and agencies, business owners, and residents. The Center will offer tutoring, mentoring and character-building programs focusing on the age group of 9 -18 years old.

    What this allocation pays for: National Offering gifts will underwrite the first year of lease payments for space within the new Urban League Empowerment Center (9420 W. Florissant Ave., St. Louis, MO 63136) and operating expenses (utilities, insurance, etc.). The multi-partner Urban League Empowerment Center is being built at the site of a convenience store set on fire August 10, 2014, during the first evening of civil unrest in Ferguson. The LCMS is not constructing nor will it own the building.

    Note: The Synod’s domestic missionary assigned to the Center, Rev. Micah Glenn, is being funded by a special network of prayer and financial partners under the Network Supported Missionary [NSM] model.


    National Mission: Looking at Life in the Womb (Elementary Edition)

    Allocation Amount: $9,514

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Oversight: Rev. Bart Day, Executive Director – LCMS Office of National Mission

    Account Number: NM7006-26506

    Emphases: Mercy, Life Together

    Description: This project spotlights the sanctity of human life for grade-school students. The curriculum and video make use of ultrasound technology and are age appropriate. Students discover that life in the womb is created in the image of God. The program stresses the value of protecting and defending life. This edition has built-in flexibility in that both Lutheran and public schools can use the material. LCMS Life Ministry will develop the project.

    What the allocation pays for: Funds will cover the cost of age-appropriate curriculum materials, including a special video.


    National Mission: Disaster Program – Gift Cards

    Allocation Amount: $9,686

    FY2017 Funding Required:
    Minimum of $13,333; no maximum

    Project Oversight: Rev. Ross Johnson, Director – LCMS Disaster Response

    Account Number: NM8003-26680

    Emphasis: Mercy

    Description: News of a disaster striking a community moves everyone. We all want to provide immediate help to affected families. Gift cards offer an incredibly effective way to give physical assistance. Donations to this project allow for the purchase of gift cards, which supply food, clothing, tools and diapers to those in real hardship following a disaster. Gift cards fill immediate needs and build relationships, affording congregations the opportunity to care for neighbors in both body and soul.

    What this allocation pays for: Gifts to the National Offering will make possible 96 pre-loaded gift cards that can be handed to disaster victims by local congregation members and disaster responders in the first days following an event (flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, etc.).


    National Mission: Every One His Witness (Lay Evangelism Training)

    Allocation Amount: $15,000

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Oversight: Rev. Mark Wood, Director – LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry, Revitalization

    Account Number: 26A130 A14130

    Emphases: Witness, Life Together

    Description: The Every One His Witness (E1HW) evangelism program provides training and resources to equip LCMS members to be more active and effective witnesses of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. The initial training for E1HW participants is through a core-module workshop. Currently this workshop is conducted by an outside facilitator in a one-day setting. In order to be able to provide resources to a greater number of LCMS members, reduce the costs of conducting the workshop, and offer more flexible scheduling options, the core-module workshop will be developed into a format enabling a local person to serve as the facilitator for that particular workshop.

    What the allocation pays for: The allocation will make possible the development and distribution of a version of the core-module workshop that can be conducted by a local, ad hoc facilitator.


    National Mission: re:Vitality (Revitalization)

    Allocation Amount: $15,000

    FY2017 Funding Required:

    Project Director: Rev. Mark Wood, Director – LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry, Revitalization

    Account Number: 26A131 A14131

    Emphasis: Life Together

    Description: The re:Vitality revitalization program addresses revitalization by helping LCMS congregations become more effective at inviting, welcoming and receiving people from outside of the Church. The equipping component of re:Vitality is made up of multiple training modules, each addressing a particular aspect of congregational renewal. Developing a training module involves producing video instruction by a subject-matter expert, workshop exercises, a participant’s workbook, a facilitator’s guide, and training resources for facilitators and coaches.

    What the allocation pays for: Funds will enable the development and release of one training module for the re:Vitality program.


  • Seminary Support
  • Pastoral Education: The LCMS Joint Seminary Fund

    Allocation Amount: $69,600

    FY2017 Funding Required:
    No limit (maximum)

    Project Oversight: Rev. Bart Day, Interim Executive Director – LCMS Pastoral Education

    Account Number: 23201-A20740

    Emphasis: Life Together

    Description: The LCMS Joint Seminary Fund encourages gifts restricted for the support of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Available dollars disbursed from the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund are treated as support above and beyond traditional Synod subsidy for its seminaries. The funds help sustain the annual operation of both seminaries as they prepare future pastors, deaconesses, chaplains, missionaries and other church leaders. The distributions to each seminary can be used however each sees fit and wherever the current need for supplemental funding is greatest. The exact amount allocated to each seminary is determined using a formula that factors in residential M.Div. student enrollment, while respecting both seminaries as equally important to the mission and future of the LCMS and her congregations.

    What this allocation pays for: The ultimate use of these dollars is determined by each LCMS seminary based on its unique needs at the time they are received. This allocation is in addition to contributions and estate gifts given to the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund and supplements already-budgeted Synod subsidy coming from regular worship offerings.


  • Costs & Deposits
  • National Offering Costs (per Board of Directors’ policy) — $41,130.57

    What the allocation pays for: A policy of the LCMS Board of Directors specifies that a prudent portion of all contributions, regardless of source or intent of use, must be allocated to cover costs directly attributable to the development of promotional resources and materials, fund-raising appeals, and the care of participating donors (recording gifts, receipting gifts and reporting on the use of gifts). This allocation can be no more than 10 percent of all gifts received, even if actual costs exceed that amount.

    On Deposit for Second Round of Allocations — $22,175.12

    As of Oct. 1, 2016, this is the amount of contributions already received that are available for the next round of allocations among National Mission, International Mission and the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund. With the exception of the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund, future allocations may go toward eligible mission projects not shown above.


Your Ongoing Participation Makes a Difference

You can continue this mission momentum through your ongoing support of this triennium’s National Offering by continuing to contribute and by telling others throughout our Synod about the 2016-19 National Offering.

To learn more about the National Offering, or to receive help with your questions, please call LCMS Mission Advancement at 888-930-4438.

Individual households and congregations wishing to make a National Offering gift may do so in a number of ways:


Give Now

By phone

Call 888-930-4438 and make a contribution using your credit or debit card.

By mail

Make check payable to “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod” and write “2016-19 LCMS National Offering” on the memo line. Mail to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
2016 LCMS National Offering
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

For assistance, or to learn about making a gift using appreciated securities, real property, grain or other tangible assets, please contact the LCMS Foundation at 800-325-7912 or lcmsfoundation.org.

Gifts for the 2016 LCMS National Offering are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Whenever possible, individual tax-deductible receipts will be issued to the donor making the gift.

Updated reports on our Synod’s impact through the National Offering will be made available here.

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of the joyful response and generosity of God’s people over the past fiscal year, not more than 10.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors (compared to a not-more-than ceiling of 13.5 percent the previous fiscal year). Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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