Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) honored the late Bill Sharpe with the Arthur C. Haake Leadership Award on Nov. 16 during LCEF’s Fall Leadership Conference.
Bill Sharpe served as the LCEF vice president in the North Dakota District for over 25 years, from August 1991 up until his untimely death in April 2017. Bill not only served as the LCEF DVP, he also served as the district's business manager and its sole executive staff person outside of the district president.
Sharpe graduated from Concordia University, Neb., in 1978, and served in teaching and administrative positions in Iowa, Florida and Illinois before he was called to serve the Dakota Boy's Ranch in North Dakota in 1987. In 1991, he was called by the North Dakota District.
“Bill was the district,” said Rev. Bart Day, LCEF president and CEO, “and was a sought-after resource by congregations, ministries and church workers.”
One of his more recent mission successes was the purchase of a large piece of acreage in a growing part of Fargo, the largest city in North Dakota. Once purchased, Sharpe sold off individual lots for single family homes that fueled the construction costs of a new mission congregation and surrounded it with new houses that could be reached as new potential members. This was simply a brilliant win/win solution for both district mission work and LCEF.
“Bill exemplified our mission of reaching more people for Christ through our work in congregations,” Day said, “and assisted them for over 25 years with counsel and building needs.”
Sharpe was known for his dry wit, subtle humor, laid-back personality and humility, which worked wonderfully in relating to his upper-Midwest audience. Behind that was always a passion and practicality to do Christ's work serving in the North Dakota mission field.
Day concluded: “Bill may have served a smaller district, but he leaves a large legacy of service, commitment and mission work for both the North Dakota District and LCEF.”
The Arthur C. Haake Leadership Award honors a retired LCEF staff member for his or her service to the organization and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. It celebrates the life of the late Art Haake—LCEF’s second president, who helped guide the organization through its early years and saw its rapid expansion.
LCEF, a non-profit organization, has served as the financial extension of the LCMS since 1978, offering funding and resources to congregations, schools and Rostered Church Workers through investment support of LCMS members.
The mission of LCEF is to support the Church in fulfilling its mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being a Christ-centered servant partner of the LCMS, ensuring that funds and services are available now and in the future. Learn how you can be a partner in ministry at lcef.org.