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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.

Supporting the Mission in Iowa District East

 Carole White, LCEF District Vice President - Iowa Districts East and West, connected with convention attendees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 29, 2018.

Carole White, LCEF District Vice President - Iowa Districts East and West, connected with convention attendees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 29, 2018.

“I have been privileged to serve the congregations and families of Iowa through LCEF for over 19 years in various ways,” wrote Carole White, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) District Vice President – Iowa Districts East and West, in her report for the 40th District Convention of the Iowa District East – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. 

“As always, loans to finance church and school operations, expansion, improvements, new mission starts and many other ministry purposes are available through our church’s financial organization, LCEF, and I consider it a joy to meet with committees and congregations interested in furthering the Lord’s work in their communities. 

 Attendees at the convention in Cedar Rapids.

Attendees at the convention in Cedar Rapids.

In Iowa District East for the last triennium, LCEF has made 14 new loans totaling over $2,314,000 thanks to faithful investors and borrowers partnering together to make a difference in things eternal. Over the last three years, Iowa District East received $103,313 in operating results from LCEF.  This earnings distribution is made available to districts and the Synod each year that LCEF is profitable.  The amount given back to each district is based upon a 5-way average consisting of the following components: loans to congregations compared to total congregations, operating income, income producing assets, investors as a % of confirmed members and capital-to-asset ratio.  

LCEF was blessed to provide Iowa District East with these extra funds for new mission starts in Charles City and North Liberty, supporting congregations and our camp, as well as missionaries in our district and around the world.”

 LCEF sponsored a fun, putting green for convention attendees; pictured is LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day.

LCEF sponsored a fun, putting green for convention attendees; pictured is LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day.

LCEF is your Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod partner providing loans, investments and ministry support. Loan funds are available thanks to the faithful support of LCEF investors. To learn how you can become a partner in ministry with LCEF, email Carole White, call 515-240-2229 or visit lcef.org.

 Two of the seven LCEF gift card recipients were Rev. Reed Stockman (pictured left) and lay delegate Stan Burrichter (right,) both of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Monticello, Iowa.

Two of the seven LCEF gift card recipients were Rev. Reed Stockman (pictured left) and lay delegate Stan Burrichter (right,) both of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Monticello, Iowa.

LCEF Gift Card Giveaway Recipients

In appreciation of convention delegates, LCEF sponsored a gift card giveaway
Congratulations to the seven recipients of the 2018 LCEF Gift Card Giveaway at the convention. 
•    Stan Burrichter, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Monticello, Iowa
•    Verla Hinrichs, St. Paul's Lutheran Church-Artesian, Waverly, Iowa
•    Rev. Zachary Voss, St. John Lutheran Church, Homestead, Iowa
•    Tim Koch, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa
•    Jerome Dusek, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wapello, Iowa
•    Rev. Matthew Rueger, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Hubbard, Iowa
•    Rev. Reed Stockman, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Monticello, Iowa

 Convention coloring cards are still available for your use, contact  Carole White .

Convention coloring cards are still available for your use, contact Carole White.

How about those creative coloring cards?!

In support of the 2018 Iowa District East Convention theme—Life Together: Laity and Clergy—LCEF provided creative, coloring cards for attendees during the convention. The coloring card file is available for your continued use throughout the year; if you would like a copy, please contact Carole White.

LCEF is a nonprofit religious organization; therefore, LCEF investments are not FDIC-insured bank deposit accounts. This is not an offer to sell investments, nor a solicitation to buy. LCEF will offer and sell its securities only in states where authorized.  The offer is made solely by LCEF’s Offering Circular. Investors should carefully read the Offering Circular, which more fully describes associated risks. StewardAccount access features are offered through UMB Bank n.a. StewardAccount products are not available to investors in South Carolina. The Family Emergency StewardAccount is known as the Family StewardAccount in the state of Ohio.

Eckert 2018 LCEF Iowa District East Scholarship Recipient

 Rachel Eckert is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District East scholarship. Eckert plans to attend Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, in the fall and study materials engineering.

Rachel Eckert is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District East scholarship. Eckert plans to attend Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, in the fall and study materials engineering.

There will be a total of 19 Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) district scholarships announced this spring. The first is an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa, and an outstanding student at Cornerstone Academy. Rachel Eckert is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District East scholarship. Eckert plans to attend Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, in the fall and study materials engineering.

In his letter of recommendation for Eckert, Trinity Associate Pastor Michael Vokt wrote, “The reasons for this recommendation transcend [Rachel’s] excellence in academics, robotic competitions, and music. What sets Rachel apart from other students are the many ways she demonstrates her love for her neighbor, both those who are nearby and those who are far, far away.”

Vokt shared Eckert’s accomplishments and efforts to serve her neighbors. Eckert helped establish FIRST in Kenya which impacted almost 3,000 children; she founded and coached the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Team at East Side Mission (Urban Ministry Center of the LCMS in Davenport;) and has volunteered in countless ways both in her congregation and her community.

In her letter of recommendation, Eckert’s piano instructor Roberta Quist wrote,

“[Rachel] has taken the admonition of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself to heart. This is evidenced by her copious service to the church and community…. Rachel is an outstanding student and a joy to work with. She is one of the most disciplined and hard-working students I have ever had in my studio. She is able to meet obligations at school and in her community while maintaining excellent academic standards….

Rachel has competed in many piano competitions at the local, and state level and has won numerous honors. She is quick to encourage other students in my studio and willingly participates in studio activities. She is always looking to learn from others and to share her knowledge with her peers.”

“LCEF is blessed to recognize young Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members such as Rachel with this scholarship,” said Carole White, LCEF District Vice President – Iowa East and West. “It is inspiring to see our young people go above and beyond to serve others in our Lord’s name. As one in a long, family line of LCEF investors, Rachels also displayed a unique understanding of what Lutheran Church Extension Fund strives for as an organization in the church.”

In her scholarship application, Eckert wrote, “Through investments, loans, grants, and teaching materials (such as the Young Investors Club), LCEF provides opportunities for Christians to manage their money in a way that glorifies God. 1 Timothy 6:18 commands us to ‘Do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.’”

Learn more about investments, loans and ministry support at lcef.org and follow the regional newsfeed for the remaining 2018 scholarship awards.

Flanscha 2017 LCEF Iowa District East Scholarship Recipient

 Michael Flanscha received his $1,000 LCEF scholarship award in December 2017 during presentations at both Memorial Lutheran Church, Ames, Iowa, and College Hill Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Flanscha is studying accounting at Iowa State University.

Michael Flanscha received his $1,000 LCEF scholarship award in December 2017 during presentations at both Memorial Lutheran Church, Ames, Iowa, and College Hill Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Flanscha is studying accounting at Iowa State University.

It was fitting that Michael Flanscha’s Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) scholarship presentations occurred at not only his home congregation, College Hill Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa, but also at the congregation he attends while at school, Memorial Lutheran Church, Ames, Iowa.

“Both of these mission congregations have received LCEF loan funds over the years for major additions and minor repairs,” said Carole White, LCEF District Vice President – Iowa Districts East and West. “Michael was able to celebrate his award with his parents and the congregation members he grew up with, as well as his college peers.”

Flanscha is studying accounting at Iowa State University (ISU). “When I asked Michael why he chose ISU, he replied that he was impressed by the positive atmosphere of the Lutheran fraternity on the Iowa State campus. Beta Sigma Psi was founded in 1925; its purpose is to provide an environment for Lutheran college men to grow spiritually, scholastically and socially,” said White.

LCEF is blessed to provide annual scholarships for active, faith-filled Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod students just like Michael. The 2018 LCEF district scholarships will be announced this spring. Follow our newsfeed at lcefcentral.org for announcements.

For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

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.

Michael Flanscha Awarded 2017 IDE LCEF Scholarship

Congratulations to Michael Flanscha! Michael is the 2017 Iowa District East (IDE) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winner. He is a member of College Hill Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa and is a freshman at Iowa State University (ISU), Ames, Iowa.

In his scholarship essay, Michael described how LCEF loans can help improve a church’s ability to reach people for Christ. “For example, children, families, and congregations benefit through the construction and expansion of Lutheran churches and schools. In these places, God’s people are joined together in fellowship and immersed in Holy Scripture. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word in these churches and schools ignite the souls of Lutherans around the country to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others in their daily lives.

This is why Lutheran Church Extension Fund is so important.” wrote Michael. “I experience first-hand the results of these loan services at my campus church at Iowa State University. Several building expansions and renovations would simply not have been possible without the support of Lutheran Church Extension Fund.”

While at college, Michael has been active in the student ministries at Memorial Lutheran Church in Ames. “He encourages his fraternity brothers to grow in their faith and get involved at church,” wrote David Beagley, Associate Pastor, Memorial Lutheran Church and Student Center, Ames, IA and Pastoral Advisor, Epsilon Chapter, Beta Sigma Psi. Michael also serves as the chair of the national Lutheran fraternity, is an English conversation partner through the International Student Ministry program and plays in the bell choir.

“He is a tremendously skillful writer. His essays are intelligent, engaging, clear, and well organized. Additionally, his research is impeccable,” wrote ISU Assistant Professor Justin Remes in his letter of recommendation. “Michael also has a first-class temperament. He is polite, tactful, thoughtful, and industrious. These qualities are especially salient during peer evaluation sessions, when Michael gives his classmates feedback on their essays. While he is honest about the flaws and oversights that he sees, he also expresses these concerns in a courteous and constructive manner.”

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

LCEF is truly blessed by generations of investors and loan partners. For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.