Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2015

Illustrate Planned Giving with WELS Foundation’s Gift Guide

As you encourage stewardship among members, don’t forget to let them know about planned giving opportunities including estate planning and other options for supporting the Lord’s work and family while receiving tax benefits.

Direct people to WELS Foundation’s online Gift Guide either by providing the URL ( or linking to it from your website. The gift guide provides an overview of options for supporting your church, regional WELS ministries, or the synod through a planned gift—and even lets people calculate benefits according to their personal situations.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – September 2015

Drafting an Appeal Letter

According to Bruce Eberle in his book “Charitable Direct Mail Fund Raising,” the outline of an appeal should be:

1. Grab attention.
2. Spell out the problem.
3. Spell out the solution.
4. Ask.

A congregational communication following this outline might looks as follows:

Dear member,

Paragraph 1 – Grab attention with a moving, real-life story of how the gospel, shared through your church, has affected a person or people.

Paragraph 2 – Spell out the problem: “but we’re limited in reaching more people with the gospel because . . .” Problems usually include lack of support with time, talents, and treasure.

Paragraph 3 – Spell out the solution: “We know that, trusting in God, we can achieve the goal” (point to Scripture passages such as Matthew 6:33 and Malachi 3:10). “Let’s test God in his promises and see if we don’t grow spiritually.”

Paragraph 4 – Ask: “Would you prayerfully consider helping?” Be clear about what you are asking for. People want to know so they can help!

Close the letter by bring it back to the opening and reminding how, when we trust in God, we will see more of the gospel’s impact (Isaiah 55:11).


Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – July 2015

Develop a Ministry Plan, Then the Budget

Develop a ministry plan and then determine what forms and levels of support are needed to fund it. Many look at what they think support will be and then craft a ministry plan around that level of support, thus never giving the congregation the opportunity to pray for and respond to the plan with their offerings.

Todd Poppe, WELS Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – March 2015

How Electronic Givers Can Actively Participate in the Weekly Offering

Despite electronic giving (e.g., electronic funds transfer arranged through the congregation’s bank or Thrivent’s Simply Giving program) providing predictable support for congregational ministry, some members hesitate to sign up because it feels strange to pass the offering plate on Sunday morning without putting anything into it. These people feel like their children and fellow members might notice and be discouraged by their seemingly not participating.

Your congregation can overcome this obstacle by continuing to provide offering envelopes to members who are giving electronically. These members can write “EFT” on the offering line and drop the empty envelope in the plate. In a similar fashion some churches provide members with stickers that have the electronic giving program name printed on them so that they can use these on their envelopes. These possibilities allow members to physically place their offerings in the plate as an act of worship each week.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – January 2015

Share WELS’ 2014 Annual Report

WELS recently published its 2014 annual report, which summarizes key developments across all areas of synod ministry. This report is a great way to inform WELS members of the Lord’s work we are doing together as a synod. It’s also a helpful reference as the congregation begins planning their support for worldwide gospel endeavors during the coming year.

There are several ways to access and share the report through WELS Communication Services’ Resource Center:
  • Download the report in PowerPoint format. Someone at your church may give the presentation or you can invite your local WELS Christian giving counselor to do it.
  • Share the link to the annual report in “flip book” format through your church’s e-newsletter or Web site.
  • Five copies of the report are being mailed to each congregation mid-January for distribution to leaders with the option to order additional copies (free besides shipping) through Northwestern Publishing House. (Note that an annual report is also going out with each giving statement to individuals who made direct gifts to WELS in 2014.)