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


Congrats Kristen Carlson! $1,000 LCEF Scholarship Winner

“Kristen exemplifies what we want in the next generation of church leaders – confident, humble, caring individuals with a heart to share the good news of Jesus Christ,” wrote Troy Miller in his letter of recommendation for Carlson. Miller is the Director of Christian Education at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Austin, Minn. 

Carlson is the second student to receive a $1,000 Minnesota South (MNS) District Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) scholarship this year. Seven upper Midwest districts will be awarding scholarships this spring, the first award winner was announced last week, Heide Ide, who was also a member of a MNS District congregation, St. John’s in Plato, Minn.

In her application, Carlson wrote, “The fundamental threads of LCMS Lutheran belief can be found woven deeply in Biblical truth, God’s love, and the power of sharing the Gospel. Some of my favorite words of Jesus lead us to this calling. They are found in the Matthew 6 parable where He instructs us ‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ These words are comforting yet educating, telling us simply as followers of Him that we need to invest our God-given blessings and resources back into His ministry and our future home. LCEF does just this by serving the LCMS and larger Church body; encouraging the sharing of the Gospel and helping believers invest resources to fund LCMS growth simultaneously.”

Carlson continued, “The lives changed by the timeless Gospel can be found through the ages of history. We see the miraculous change of Saul to Paul centuries back and today I’ve experienced it firsthand by working as Jesus’ hands and feet at the MN South District’s church camp, Camp Omega. With LCEF’s invaluable contribution to the Church, lives can continue to be changed far into the future. The funds available by personal investments can be turned around and capitalized upon in the form of building new churches, growing our denomination, and ensuring the presence of the Gospel’s truth far into the future.  The amount of people affected are immeasurable and unforeseeable. Many times we are able to watch individuals brought into the safety of Christianity, but we can never discount the worth of seeds sown in ways beyond us.”

“We are grateful to be able to share the thoughts and faith of our young people today,” said Minnesota South District LCEF Vice President Kurt Fuhr. “LCMS members like Carlson give us hope for a bright future in the Church. A future with our members utilizing their God-given time and talents to focus on sharing Christ with others.” 

Carlson is a senior at Austin High School and has been an active member of St. John’s and her community. Carlson shares her talent on the violin and piano during worship, she has participated in two mission trips, two National Youth Gatherings, is a current member of St. John’s small group youth ministry and has volunteered the last two summers as a Young Adult Volunteer at Camp Omega in Waterville, Minn. Carlson was instrumental in starting a quartet group in Austin. She was co-founder of the group and created the group’s website. She has been recognized for her musical talents and has also participated at the state level. Carlson is a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society and the girls’ soccer team. She took a leadership role in the council in the revision of the student council constitution which redesigned the roles of the officers and wrote rules that allows for a more productive council. Carlson was also selected to be one of the representatives from Austin High School to attend Girl’s State. 

LCEF is blessed to provide annual scholarships to our outstanding LCMS students throughout the upper Midwest districts of Iowa East, Iowa West, Minnesota North, Minnesota South, North Dakota, North Wisconsin and South Wisconsin. The online scholarship application is posted online in September. Watch our local newsfeed and Facebook page for six more 2014 scholarship winners to be announced this spring.