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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.

 

Loving Boldly: 2017 LCEF Fall Leadership Conference

LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

Well into its third decade, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) 2017 Fall Leadership Conference continued its tradition of presenting the Gospel-inspired results and benefits of church extension work. This year’s conference was held in New Orleans on Nov. 17-19.

Organized around their annual corporate meeting, the conference serves as an opportunity to acknowledge and applaud all that God has done through LCEF’s partnerships with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Every year the conference follows a theme. This year’s theme was “Love Boldly.”

In his opening remarks, LCEF Senior Vice President – Ministry Support and conference emcee Max Biesenthal noted the noble nature of “loving boldly.” In practice, he said, “we tend to love the things we like,” such as ice cream, naps, our children, sunsets and books. Instead, loving boldly challenges us to love the unlovable just as Christ has shown us.

One ministry loving boldly was Redeeming Life Maternity Home. This home for unwed mothers in Sanford, Fla., offers a safe haven for women who may not know a pro-life Christian option is available to them. Pastor Ed and Sheryl DeWitt started the ministry when their unmarried daughter learned she was pregnant and knew that abortion was not an option. Their daughter shared her situation with the congregation and asked for their support—and it was given in abundance. LCEF gave Redeeming Life the 2017 Fred E. Lietz Mission Project Award.

“I loved hearing the stories of the awardees,” Rev. Jeffery David Nickel of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Clarence, N.Y. said. “It’s encouraging to hear how God is working around us, often in small, nearly invisible ways,” through His people and investors. “It’s a testament that LCEF support makes a difference in the Church.”

For his tireless and charitable work at his congregation and in the community, Rev. Dennis Bartels received the Lietz Individual Ministry Award. Bartels is a 35-year veteran of Holy Cross in North Miami and LCEF advocate.

Florida-Georgia District President Greg Walton said the following about Bartels’ generosity: “Their school feeds 400 students both breakfast and lunch. And when Irma went through Miami and the school lost power, instead of losing all the food in their refrigerators they grilled it and gave it away.”

The awards are named in honor of Fred E. Lietz, an early church extension pioneer and LCEF’s first president.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. From left to right: Dave Dravecky; Herman Cain; Rev. Bart Day; Rev. Dr. John Nunes; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. From left to right: Dave Dravecky; Herman Cain; Rev. Bart Day; Rev. Dr. John Nunes; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

Joy and loving boldly
Noteworthy speakers like radio talk show host and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and former San Francisco Giants baseball player Dave Dravecky advanced the 2017 conference theme in their one-of-a-kind ways.

Dravecky shared the story of losing his pitching arm to cancer and how the bold love of friends helped him navigate that dark period of his life. Cain spoke about the idea that “you cannot love boldly unless you are happy.” He then explained how to achieve that happiness: have something to do; have someone to love (starting with Jesus); and have something to hope for.
Cain’s point about happiness wasn’t lost on LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison who spoke Saturday morning. Harrison said, “If we cease caring for the least, the lost, the last, the disaster victim, the divorced, the struggling, the broken, we lose the soul of the Church. Bold love requires us to be joyful—joyfully Lutheran.”

Other speakers included LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day; Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty Greg Seltz; and Concordia College New York President Rev. Dr. John Nunes.

“Dr. Nunes’ presentation had the biggest impact on me,” said Rev. Jason Shaw of Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Jackson, Mo. “I loved his personal testimony. He removed fears that I have about changing trends in our culture and gave me hope that the best of the LCMS will survive and prayerfully thrive.”

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. Fall Leadership Conference attendees fill care packages for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola during the Servant Event.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. Fall Leadership Conference attendees fill care packages for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola during the Servant Event.

The Servant Event, hosted just hours before the conference officially starts on Friday, is the highlight of the weekend for many attendees. This event invites people to participate in a benevolence project. This year, care packages were filled for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

LCMS Northern Illinois District President Dan Gilbert, who attended the Servant Event with his wife, said, “The very positive atmosphere and the encouragement to continue faithfully in the Lord’s mission makes this one of the best LCMS events I attend, year after year.”
Saturday afternoon was dedicated to LCEF’s annual meeting, which serves as an official review of the fund and current organization objectives. LCEF Board of Directors (BOD), officers, members-at-large, former staff, district vice presidents and district voting delegates attended this two-hour gathering.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. LCEF staff members pray after filling the truck with the care packages assembled during the Servant Event.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. LCEF staff members pray after filling the truck with the care packages assembled during the Servant Event.

George Cook, international consulting director with Graystone Consulting, shared an overview of the economy, as well as an investment market presentation. LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day reported on LCEF’s 2017 fiscal year performance metrics; announcement of earnings distribution to the Synod and partner districts; and core initiatives for 2018 fiscal year. 


To fill a vacant BOD seat in the West Region, members voted and elected Dale Wagner. Wagner is a retired  finance executive and sat on the LCEF Rocky Mountain District Loan Committee. To fill a vacancy in the East Central Region, members voted and elected Don Scifres. Scifres is President of SmartFile in Indianapolis and serves on the LCMS Indiana District Board of Directors. Incumbents Michael Kzirian and Mark Pieper, both up for re-election, kept their BOD seats. Additionally, a vacancy in an At-Large position was filled with the election of David Worthington by the LCMS Board of Directors at their November 2017 meeting.


Ending on a strong note
There was a general feeling that the love boldly theme energized the attendees and all the presenters connected back to it. This truth could be seen on display during Sunday’s Divine Service. 

Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall, first vice president of the Southern District, preached on 1 Corinthians 13:13, the conference verse. He said, “When we are dire and in despair we need to have hope, unconditional love. We need to keep reminding those who are hurting of this truth, through words and deeds, God is love.” 

He left the audience with this thought-provoking question: “Does the world know how much we love?” 

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.

Mount Hope Honored at Leadership Conference

Award winners at LCEF's Fall Leadership Conference on Nov. 21, 2015. Pictured left to right: LCEF President/CEO Rich Robertson, Mt. Hope, Bloomington, Minn. Rev. Daniel Ritter, his wife, Dianne, Carol Tolzin, and her husband, Bob Tolzin, congregation president, and LCEF Board Chair Randy Peterson. 

Award winners at LCEF's Fall Leadership Conference on Nov. 21, 2015. Pictured left to right: LCEF President/CEO Rich Robertson, Mt. Hope, Bloomington, Minn. Rev. Daniel Ritter, his wife, Dianne, Carol Tolzin, and her husband, Bob Tolzin, congregation president, and LCEF Board Chair Randy Peterson. 

Mt. Hope Lutheran Church and Child Development Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, was honored by Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) during LCEF’s 2015 Fall Leadership Conference, Nov. 20-22, in Atlanta, Georgia.

LCEF presented the congregation with its Partnership Award, acknowledging the ministry’s overall relationship with LCEF across each of the three primary areas of service: investments, loans and ministry support services. 

“We designed this award to spotlight the incredible outreach congregations accomplish with LCEF at their side, embracing their vision of serving His people,” said President/CEO Rich Robertson. “We are just a small part of the true work of ministry being accomplished.

Bloomington MNMtHope-2-15.10.07_img_3209.jpg

Members of Mount Hope view LCEF as a total partner, not just a source of funding. Our close relationship stems from our mutual goal: to have more people hear the Gospel and be saved.”

Rev. Daniel Ritter, his wife, Dianne, and Bob Tolzin, congregation president, and his wife, Carol, accepted the award on behalf of the congregation. 

“Mount Hope and its leaders have truly taken God’s mission to heart of making more disciples,” said Kurt Fuhr, Minnesota South District Vice President. “Members saw the opportunity to adapt how they deliver their ministry to the changing demographics of the community, and God has blessed those actions. Mount Hope is flourishing with ministry to families, to seniors and to the very young. They are a huge blessing to the community they serve!”

About the Fall Leadership Conference

LCEF’s conference brings together members and leaders of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) for a weekend of fellowship and networking, professional development and LCEF’s required annual meeting. Through God’s grace, the results of the conference are people equipped, renewed and refreshed in a commitment to serve, prepared to boldly reach out to the world with the Gospel.

Wiemann Named Lietz Award Recipient

Noting her boundless energy for serving the Lord through her church, community, district and Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Pauline Wiemann, of Arlington, Minn., was honored with the Fred E. Lietz Individual Ministry Award on Nov. 22 during LCEF’s 2013 Fall Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas. 

LCEF Volunteer Pauline Wiemann of Arlington, Minn. received the 2013 Fred E. Lietz Individual Ministry Award from LCEF President/CEO Rich Robertson at the annual Fall Leadership Conference on Nov. 22, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.

A member of Peace Lutheran Church, Wiemann serves as an LCEF Area Representative to the Minnesota South District. An LCEF volunteer for more than 20 years, she also serves a myriad of other community and church organizations.

Minnesota South District Pres. Rev. Dean Nadasdy said, “Over the years I have worked with Pauline on several committees and boards. Her humble, straightforward and encouraging ways have brought so many blessings to those who work with her. Besides her work with LCEF, she has been a leader in our district in human care ministries, senior ministries, and in our pre-seminary interviews for prospective pastors.  She has always had a special place in her heart for us pastors. She gets us. She knows what makes us tick. 

There is a constancy to Pauline. Through retirement and bouts with serious illness she has never lost a beat. She is the embodiment of Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 5:15 to 'make the best use of the time.' As one of the recipients over many years of her graceful service, I give thanks that the church recognizes the splendid gifts she brings to our life together!” 

LCEF President/CEO Rich Robertson said, “Our volunteers are great servants of God who seek to empower ministries by reaching out to individuals in their congregations and districts. Pauline is an incredible woman, generous with her time, networking and teaching talents. To have someone with Pauline’s devotion and love for the Lord working as an LCEF ambassador is a true blessing.” 

In her nomination letter for Wiemann, Maria Hendrickson, director of communications and marketing serving upper Midwest districts, said, “After teaching & coaching in southern Minnesota for 30 years, Pauline retired. It was then that she began her legacy as an LCEF volunteer. Pauline was the first female LCEF congregation representative in her circuit, then she served for years as an effective circuit representative teaching and training other volunteers. Most recently, she accepted her role as an LCEF Area Representative filling any and all promotion needs. Pauline has been a faithful LCEF investor for many years. With Pauline, it is all about relationships; she is a disciple and a servant. In the past five years in her role as a western county area representative, she has served nearly 30 congregations. As an educator, Pauline sees the incredible value of LCEF’s new Young Investors (Y.I.) Club and has been a strong advocate. She has personally delivered thousands of Y.I. bulletin inserts this fall to area congregations and schools.” Learn more about the Fred E. Leitz Award at lcef.org.

LCEF Volunteer Pauline Wiemann of Arlington, Minn., (center) was congratulated for receiving the 2013 Fred E. Lietz Individual Ministry Award by (left) Maria Hendrickson, director of communications and marketing for upper-Midwest LCMS districts; LCEF President/CEO Rich Robertson; Minnesota South District Vice President Kurt Fuhr; and LCEF Board Chair Randy Peterson. LCEF presented the award during its annual Fall Leadership Conference, held this year Nov. 22-24 in San Antonio, Texas.