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WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday – Encouraging Word – November 2016

Coming Next Fall: WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday

As we work together in Christ to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people, we realize the value of promoting ownership of and celebrating these kingdom endeavors. To accomplish this as well as to encourage growth in Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) and special unrestricted gifts from individuals, WELS Conference of Presidents has proposed an annual WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday.

How would this work?

  • Starting in mid-2017, WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday resources will be available for use during the fall of the year so it will coincide with CMO encouragement for calendar year congregations or in the winter (e.g., Epiphany) for fiscal year congregations.
  • Congregations may choose to observe their own WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday or they may gather with other WELS congregations for a traditional-style mission festival.
  • In addition to contemplating God’s grace on us and the privilege of proclaiming Jesus in our communities, individuals and congregations will have the opportunity to learn about and enhance synod mission efforts through CMO growth and special individual offerings to WELS Mission and Ministry or their favorite area of WELS ministry.
  • By God’s gracious blessing, we will better understand the gospel ministry we perform together, our prayers will be more specific, and we will find joyous satisfaction in increasing our support for WELS ministries that share the eternal good news of Jesus with souls around the world.

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – November 2016

Submitting Offerings and Statistics

The end of the calendar year means preparing for submitting to WELS your 2016 Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) and statistics as well as your 2017 CMO subscription. Here are several items to keep in mind.

  • Please remit any final 2016 offerings by Jan. 9.
  • In early January you will receive coupons for remitting your 2017 offerings.
  • Your congregation’s CMO subscription for 2017 (the amount you pledge to give) is due no later than the first Friday in Feb. – Feb. 3 at noon (Central). Fiscal year congregations may report their 2017 CMO subscription now by using the estimated amount in their budget. The submission process uses a new web form that we hope gives you an improved experience.
  • In early January, congregations will receive a letter and e-mail with instructions for submitting 2016 statistics for the next WELS Statistical Report. The deadline for submitting statistics is also Friday, Feb. 3 at noon (Central). This process uses the web form we introduced last year with some improvements. Please note these data collection changes for the 2016 report, including the fact that the Conference of Presidents has approved the collection of member ages for a second consecutive year.)

Contact us if you have questions by calling 800-827-5482 or e-mailing mcg@wels.net. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation!

WELS Endowments Distribute Funds to Missions, Ministerial Education – Encouraging Word – September 2016

WELS Endowments Distribute Funds to Missions, Ministerial Education

The 2005 synod convention resolved that WELS establish and build up endowment funds for the support of WELS Missions and Ministerial Education. An endowment fund is a donor restricted gift that is not spent immediately but invested in a diversified investment portfolio. Annual distributions from the endowment funds are used to provide a source of ongoing financial support.

So far God’s people have given $21.3 million to these endowment funds—$11.8 million to the Missions endowments and $9.5 million to the Ministerial Education endowments. Annual distributions are made each year in July. This year’s distribution totaled $787,444—$435,175 to Missions and $352,269 to Ministerial Education.

According to Paul Prange, administrator for Ministerial Education, the funds are providing much-needed financial assistance to students. “One third of all of our graduates from Martin Luther College graduate debt-free. And the MLC graduates who continue at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary never add any education debt. We give thanks to God for these remarkable statistics, due in part to the distributions from WELS endowment funds.”

The Missions endowments are also helping our synod take advantage of the outreach opportunities God is giving us at home and abroad. “Along with Congregation Mission Offerings and special gifts to Home Missions, these endowment funds are allowing Home Missions to start and enhance missions in North America,” says Keith Free, administrator of Home Missions. Larry Schlomer, administrator for World Missions, says, “These gifts allow us to respond to new opportunities that are developing right now through immigrant contact in WELS congregations and new leads online. Thanks to the gifts, several outreach opportunities are possible in places like Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Guatemala, and Venezuela.”

In addition to the $21.3 million already given to the WELS endowment funds, another $50.4 million is expected from planned gifts. The convention set a goal of gathering $300 million for the WELS endowments, which would ultimately distribute about $6 million each year to both Missions and Ministerial Education.

WELS Annual Report Summarizes God’s Blessings – Encouraging Word – March 2016

WELS Annual Report Summarizes God’s Blessings

WELS Annual Report 2015 summarizes God’s amazing blessings on our church body across all areas of ministry in 2015. We thank our Lord and commend you for your prayers and Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) that aid these worldwide gospel endeavors. Please consider sharing this report with others at your church so they know how God is blessing their partnership in Christ’s work. There are a variety of formats available online at wels.net/annualreport:

  • Order free copies of the annual report through Northwestern Publishing House. (Note that an annual report went out in late January with each giving statement to individuals who made direct gifts to WELS in 2015.)
  • Download a PowerPoint of the annual report for sharing this information with God’s people. Someone at your church may give the presentation or invite a WELS Christian giving counselor to do it. Find your local Christian giving counselors at wels.net/givingcounselors or call WELS Ministry of Christian Giving at 800-827-5482.
  • Share the link to the annual report page or online flipbook through your church’s e-newsletter or website.

If your congregation, moved by Christ’s love and the opportunities he gives us for gospel outreach, would like to further support these efforts, here are three ways to help:

  • Pray for the Lord’s blessing on our joint ministry efforts using the “Mission Prayers” in this newsletters.
  • Maintain and, Lord-willing, increase your Congregation Mission Offerings. Consider working incrementally toward (or beyond) a goal of 10 percent of offerings toward synodical ministry.

If you haven’t done so yet, hold a special “One in Christ” offering collection to help eliminate the synod’s $4.7 million debt by the end of June. This will place our synod in a better financial position to move forward in ministry. Thanks be to God, at this point we have received over $1.6 million in “One in Christ” gifts with just over a quarter of our congregations participating.

Congregation Mission Offerings Update – Encouraging Word – March 2016

Congregation Mission Offerings Update

Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) for calendar year 2015 ended the year 1.1 percent higher than 2014 gifts and 2.9 percent higher than subscriptions. Total CMO for the year was $21.5 million, an increase of $234,000 over the previous year. This is the highest CMO total in the synod’s history and the fourth consecutive year that congregations have exceeded their subscriptions. “We praise Jesus for providing such generous offerings through his people’s congregations!” says Kurt Lueneburg, director of the Ministry of Christian Giving.

Recently, 95 percent of WELS congregations reported their plans for 2016 CMO. While CMO subscriptions for 2016 show a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2015 actual receipts, no reductions in ministry are necessary because of the higher than anticipated offerings in 2015.

“We thank God for the high percentage of congregations that reported subscriptions for CMO for 2016,” says Lueneburg. “We are confident that Jesus will enable our churches to exceed their subscriptions for the fifth consecutive year.”

Lueneburg says that a stable—not declining—CMO makes it possible to maintain the present level of ministry as long as there are also many substantial special gifts from churches and individuals. While CMO has increased about 1 percent annually over the last ten years, that increase provides only one-third of the 3 percent annual increase in gifts needed for maintaining WELS’ present level of worldwide gospel outreach for Jesus. “We ask our heavenly Father to help us keep growing in the grace of giving for our local and global ministries,” he says. “This is an opportunity for each of us to dedicate to the Lord an increased level of financial support through our congregations and special gifts. To that end, God help us.”

CMO Setting Begins – Encouraging Word – September 2015

CMO Setting Begins for 2016

WELS Ministry of Christian Giving initiated the Congregation Mission Offering (CMO) subscription setting process for 2016 in August by sending an instructional packet to every congregation. Congregations can use an online form to submit their subscriptions. The deadline is Friday, February 6, 2015 at noon (Central).

This year’s packet includes a letter and DVD video message from your congregation’s district president sharing how the Lord is blessing our mission offerings.

Congregations are encouraged to set a goal for CMO of 10 percent of the general fund offerings they receive during the year. Some congregations will be working toward that goal. Congregations that are already at or have surpassed that goal are encouraged to strive toward a higher goal and increase their percentage year by year, as the Lord enables.

Downloads

Congregation Mission Offerings