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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is a unique ministry-through-investment organization that offers Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members the opportunity to invest their money, earn interest, and help build LCMS churches and schools at the same time.

LCEF - Central Region serves Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod organizations and members in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Learn more about LCEF at lcef.org.

 

Can People Find My Church?

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What kind of an image does your church facility present to the community? The visual presence can impact how the church is viewed by the community. Is it clean and tidy, or do the grounds and buildings look tired?

Well-maintained grounds and buildings can be an invitation and clue to the quality of the experience inside. Here are some ideas that you may consider to raise awareness of your church.

Lighting

Light the important features of your facility. The front façade, steeple or ground sign when lit and attached to a timer are effective tools to draw attention to your facilities.

Landscaping

Beyond the obvious trimmed landscape, consider a colorful flower garden around your yard sign or sidewalk edging. Identify an ideal spot for color and empower a “green-thumbed” member of the congregation to work wonders with a minimum of investment. In general, well-chosen plant materials continue to be the most cost effective way to enhance your facilities.

 An example of a feather-shaped sign.

An example of a feather-shaped sign.

Signs, Banners, Flags

Signs are often under-scaled. If you can’t read the sign when passing in a car at 30 mph, your sign is too small to be effective.

Some of the best signs have a component of movement. Consider an American flagpole or feather-shaped advertising sign to draw attention to your facilities.

Take a long look at your facilities and see if some of these ideas have merit.

Contact LCEF to find an Architectural Advisory Committee member near you for additional information. Contact your local district vice president, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

“By Grace . . . Access for All!”

 Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa conducted a successful capital campaign last year and is adding on to improve accessibility.

Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa conducted a successful capital campaign last year and is adding on to improve accessibility.

For more than 140 years, Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa, has been blessed to be God’s instrument. The congregation helped bring access to the Gospel for generations and was instrumental in several church plants. However, the ministry was not without its challenges over the years. Zion lacked accessibility; the church needed an elevator and an updated restroom on the sanctuary level.

Increasingly over the years, attendees found the multi-level (think ‘many steps’) facility was not easily accessible for many elderly and people with physical impairments. Pastor Ken Davidson and congregational leaders decided it was time to respond to the challenge.

Zion’s Journey

In 2012, Zion contacted the Lutheran Church Extension Fund Architectural Advisory Committee to explore options to enhance access. LCEF’s AAC consists of professional Lutheran architects and liturgical artists who advise on architectural design, planning, construction and preservation of facilities.

Architectural assistance provided a plan for an ADA compliant entry to the church and fellowship areas as well as a lift to enable all members and guests to enjoy all levels of the facility.  One of the challenges initially was finding out how to finance the improvements. It was projected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In order to learn more about the feasibility of a capital campaign, the congregation reached out to Carole White, LCEF District Vice President – Iowa East and West, and Rev. Bob Riggert, LCEF Immeasurably More Campaign Consultant.

By the fall of 2016, the congregation voted to enter a partnership with LCEF to develop a campaign based on Gospel-powered, Biblically-based stewardship principles. The capital campaign would also be reflective of Zion’s history and culture, unique to their needs and provide significant gifts toward the project.

Consultant Riggert and a team of dedicated Zion volunteers immediately went to work to plan a campaign for early 2017. The team chose the campaign theme— “By Grace . . . Access for All!” —with Romans 5:2 as the Biblical base.

A Generous Response

After a Lenten season of prayer and Bible study, including communicating the need and opportunity to fellow Zion members, the congregation gathered for a Commitment Celebration on April 2, 2017.  Congregation volunteers made a special effort to invite those who would be blessed by the improved accessibility to attend, thus, there were numerous wheel chairs and walkers in the sanctuary.

The response of Zion members was generous, over three years, more than $250,000 was committed toward the facility improvements. A celebration banquet at the local high school was a congregation highlight.

“Working with Bob was great,” said Pastor Davidson. “It helped as we continued to move forward and unify around the goal of providing Access for All in our church building so that the Gospel could be better shared.”

Digging Began!

Zion’s construction of the improvements began this summer. “God-willing there will be access for all—members and community—to the means of grace shared in and through Zion Lutheran Church,” said Riggert. 

Based on Ephesians 3:20-21, “Immeasurably More,” is a process for trained LCMS consultants to walk alongside congregations as they grow as stewards and respond to opportunities including updating facilities, helping to grow ministry, reducing debt and other endeavors requiring capital funding.

To learn more, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations in the Iowa East and West Districts should contact Carole White for more information at Carole.White@lcef.org or 515-240-2229.

Guthmiller 2018 Recipient of LCEF North Dakota District Scholarship

 Allison Guthmiller was awarded the 2018 LCEF North Dakota District scholarship. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, N.D., Allison is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck, and currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

Allison Guthmiller was awarded the 2018 LCEF North Dakota District scholarship. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, N.D., Allison is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck, and currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

“What I admire about the mission of LCEF is that it gives churches and individuals the support it needs in order to go out in the world fearless and make disciples just as God intended us to do, “wrote Allison Guthmiller, Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, North Dakota. “The financial aspect of keeping a ministry running is often forgotten or overlooked and yet it remains such a vital part of a functioning congregation.”

Allison is the recipient of a $1,000 Lutheran Church Extension Fund North Dakota District scholarship, one of nineteen 2018 LCEF district awards. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, North Dakota, she is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck. Allison is currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. Her parents are Bryan and Tanya Guthmiller.

In her letter of recommendation for Allison, Bethel Lutheran Youth Fellowship Advisor Patricia Sebastian wrote,

“Allison's academic performance is superior as evidenced by her grade point average and advanced course work. Her intelligence and work ethic in academics does not manifest itself in an arrogant know-it-all way. She realized early that academics are crucial to being the most competent nurse anesthetist she can be to best serve patients.

She excels in music and athletics and has been chosen for leadership roles as drum major, student council, Bismarck Public School Foundation Advisory Committee and volleyball team captain. Allison is a leader who others want to follow! I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for Allison beyond high school.”

In her scholarship essay, Allison wrote,

“I have seen firsthand what blessings LCEF can help bring. I have grown up in the same Missouri Synod Lutheran Church my whole life and since I was baptized the church has consistently grown. Unfortunately, several years previous our church reached a standstill because we no longer had the room for our growing population, that was until LCEF stepped in and helped us with a loan to expand our education wing.

… [since the addition,] our church has grown exponentially and the mission to spread God’s word remains relentless. I [have been] a Sunday School Teacher in that very education wing teaching the precious gift of God’s word that was made possible by the generosity of the LCEF loan our church was granted.”

In his letter of recommendation for Allison, Advanced Placement Senior English Teacher John Tufte, Ed.D. wrote,

“…I have come across strikingly few students with the capabilities [that] Allison Guthmiller displays on a daily basis. Academically, she separates herself with relative ease. She carries a 4.5 GPA and is ranked #1 out of 267 students at Legacy High School.

Academic prowess acknowledged, the real strength of Allison is to be found in her character and demeanor…. At a time when the make-up of today's youth is often questioned for substance, Allison reminds that there are indeed fantastic young people headed toward higher education. Classmates and teachers alike find themselves comfortable in Allison's presence; this is a priceless reality few students possess and will serve her well for years to come.”

LCEF is blessed to provide annual district scholarships for active, faith-filled Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod students just like Allison. The 2019 scholarship application will be available beginning in September 2018 at lcefcentral.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2019.

Learn how you can become a partner in ministry via LCEF investments, loans and ministry support at lcef.org.