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


Joseph Bender Awarded 2017 SWD LCEF Scholarship

Joseph Bender is the final of three 2017 South Wisconsin District (SWD) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winners. Joseph is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, West Allis, Wisconsin and will graduate from Martin Luther High School (MLHS), Greendale, Wisconsin this spring. Joseph plans to attend Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon in the fall majoring in Pre-Seminary studies.

Joseph is a successful student both academically and socially at MLHS, plus, he has been active in his home congregation. Joseph is an encourager and servant of the Lord. He not only encouraged his peers to attend youth Bibles studies and worship over the years — if they needed a ride — he was there to pick them up. He shared his musical talents by playing drums during worship and this summer looks forward to participating in a servant event camp at “Mountain Builders Bethesda.”

In his letter of recommendation for Joseph, MLHS Theology Instructor Paul Doerr wrote the following:

“…I consider it a privilege to have taught someone of Joe's caliber for he is a very dedicate and conscientious student.

Joe has demonstrated leadership skills when he was captain of the cross-country team and co-captain of the swim team. Joe has a servant-leader approach and he leads by example. He take leadership seriously and is not afraid to delegate responsibility when needed.

I'm glad that Joe has decided to go into the pastoral ministry because of his love for the LORD is very evident in his life. Joe displays his relationship with the Lord on a daily basis, through his Christian character and the use of his God-given talents.”

In his scholarship essay, Joseph wrote the following:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,” Romans 1:16. These words penned by the apostle Paul show the importance of the gospel and how it can change lives…. This being said, it makes me very proud that the LCEF’s main mission is to support the LCMS Church in sharing the Gospel. Because the gospel has the power to change lives….”

Joseph described how LCEF’s Capital Funding Services helped The Lutheran Church of St. John, Quincy, Illinois with their capital campaign. “We raised over one million dollars and LCEF loaned us the other funds to finish the building process.” St. John’s new facilities included a food pantry.

“This small food pantry went from a small room in the basement of the church to the third largest food pantry in Adam’s county. Not only are the several hundred families nourished from the physical food but more importantly, nourished by the spiritual food that offers eternal life. Without the help of the LCEF many of the families would not have been affected in a physical and spiritual way.

At St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in West Allis,… we went through [LCEF’s] VisionPath which helped us refocus on both in reach and outreach ministry. By refocusing the in reach ministry the community at St. Paul’s has grown stronger. The outreach ministry has also had a clothing giveaway which helped over 100 needy people in the Milwaukee area….  All of these things have one thing in common; the ability to share the gospel through various ministries with the help of the LCEF. I, myself am a young investor in LCEF and plan on continuing to invest in LCEF. None of these amazing ministries could be done without the sacrifice that Christ gave to all when he defeated sin, death and the devil. That is the power of the gospel which LCEF supports through its funding and services.”

LCEF is blessed by generations of faithful investors just like Joseph and his family. For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit or call 800-843-5233.

The remaining upper Midwest districts’ LCEF scholarships from Minnesota South, North Wisconsin and North Dakota Districts will be announced yet this spring. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most recent award announcements.