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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.

Visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233 to find an Architectural Advisory Committee member near you or contact your local district vice president.

“By Grace . . . Access for All!”

 Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa conducted a successful capital campaign last year and is adding on to improve accessibility.

Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa conducted a successful capital campaign last year and is adding on to improve accessibility.

For more than 140 years, Zion Lutheran Church, Atlantic, Iowa, has been blessed to be God’s instrument. The congregation helped bring access to the Gospel for generations and was instrumental in several church plants. However, the ministry was not without its challenges over the years. Zion lacked accessibility; the church needed an elevator and an updated restroom on the sanctuary level.

Increasingly over the years, attendees found the multi-level (think ‘many steps’) facility was not easily accessible for many elderly and people with physical impairments. Pastor Ken Davidson and congregational leaders decided it was time to respond to the challenge.

Zion’s Journey

In 2012, Zion contacted the Lutheran Church Extension Fund Architectural Advisory Committee to explore options to enhance access. LCEF’s AAC consists of professional Lutheran architects and liturgical artists who advise on architectural design, planning, construction and preservation of facilities.

Architectural assistance provided a plan for an ADA compliant entry to the church and fellowship areas as well as a lift to enable all members and guests to enjoy all levels of the facility.  One of the challenges initially was finding out how to finance the improvements. It was projected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In order to learn more about the feasibility of a capital campaign, the congregation reached out to Carole White, LCEF District Vice President – Iowa East and West, and Rev. Bob Riggert, LCEF Immeasurably More Campaign Consultant.

By the fall of 2016, the congregation voted to enter a partnership with LCEF to develop a campaign based on Gospel-powered, Biblically-based stewardship principles. The capital campaign would also be reflective of Zion’s history and culture, unique to their needs and provide significant gifts toward the project.

Consultant Riggert and a team of dedicated Zion volunteers immediately went to work to plan a campaign for early 2017. The team chose the campaign theme— “By Grace . . . Access for All!” —with Romans 5:2 as the Biblical base.

A Generous Response

After a Lenten season of prayer and Bible study, including communicating the need and opportunity to fellow Zion members, the congregation gathered for a Commitment Celebration on April 2, 2017.  Congregation volunteers made a special effort to invite those who would be blessed by the improved accessibility to attend, thus, there were numerous wheel chairs and walkers in the sanctuary.

The response of Zion members was generous, over three years, more than $250,000 was committed toward the facility improvements. A celebration banquet at the local high school was a congregation highlight.

“Working with Bob was great,” said Pastor Davidson. “It helped as we continued to move forward and unify around the goal of providing Access for All in our church building so that the Gospel could be better shared.”

Digging Began!

Zion’s construction of the improvements began this summer. “God-willing there will be access for all—members and community—to the means of grace shared in and through Zion Lutheran Church,” said Riggert. 

Based on Ephesians 3:20-21, “Immeasurably More,” is a process for trained LCMS consultants to walk alongside congregations as they grow as stewards and respond to opportunities including updating facilities, helping to grow ministry, reducing debt and other endeavors requiring capital funding.

To learn more, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations in the Iowa East and West Districts should contact Carole White for more information at Carole.White@lcef.org or 515-240-2229.

Supporting the Mission at Iowa District West Convention

 Iowa District West staff at the 2018 Iowa District West Convention at Camp Okoboji in June, 2018.

Iowa District West staff at the 2018 Iowa District West Convention at Camp Okoboji in June, 2018.

LCEF is your Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod partner providing loans, investments and ministry support. "I consider it a joy to meet with committees and congregations interested in furthering the Lord’s work in their communities," said Carole White, Lutheran Church Extension Fund District Vice President - Iowa East and West. 

"In Iowa District West for the last triennium, LCEF has provided 17 new loans totaling over $5,088,000 thanks to faithful investors and borrowers partnering together to make a difference in things eternal. 

 LCEF District Vice President - Iowa East and West Carole White presented her report at convention.

LCEF District Vice President - Iowa East and West Carole White presented her report at convention.

Over the last 3 years, Iowa District West received $135,343 in operating results from Lutheran Church Extension Fund. 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 West with these extra funds for new mission starts, supporting congregations and church workers, missionaries in our district, and many other outreach initiatives."

How about those creative coloring cards?!

 The print file for these creative coloring cards featuring the convention theme are available. Contact  Carole.White@lcef.org .

The print file for these creative coloring cards featuring the convention theme are available. Contact Carole.White@lcef.org.

In support of the 2018 Iowa District West Convention theme—Bound Together in Christ’s Love—based upon Colossians 3:12-17, LCEF provided creative, coloring cards for attendees during the convention. 

The coloring card file is available for your continued use throughout the year; please contact Carole White if you would like to use it.

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.
 

Mullen 2018 LCEF Iowa District West Scholarship Recipient

 Abigail Mullen is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District West scholarship. A member of Faith Lutheran Church, Adel, Iowa, Mullen will graduate from Adel Desoto Minburn (ADM) High School this spring. She plans on attending Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, in the fall.

Abigail Mullen is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District West scholarship. A member of Faith Lutheran Church, Adel, Iowa, Mullen will graduate from Adel Desoto Minburn (ADM) High School this spring. She plans on attending Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, in the fall.

“While she is a multi-talented student, it is her humility and character that make Abby such a likeable person.” – ADM H.S. Language Arts Teacher Jacqueline Seidl

Abigail Mullen is the recipient of the 2018 $1,000 LCEF Iowa District West scholarship. A member of Faith Lutheran Church, Adel, Iowa, Mullen will graduate from Adel Desoto Minburn (ADM) High School this spring. The daughter of Gary and Laurie Mullen, Abigail plans to attend Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, this fall.

In his letter of recommendation, Rev. John Burger wrote, “…[Abigail] is a vital member of Faith Lutheran Church…. she is truly a leader among her peers.” Burger explained how Abigail was not only faithful in worship attendance but also displayed a servant’s heart by running the church audio/visual equipment, helping with their Wednesday evening family education programming for children and more. 

In her letter of recommendation, ADM High School Language Arts Teacher Jacqueline Seidl wrote, “Students like Abby have strong organizational and time management skills that allow them to not only be a part of lots of different organizations, but be successful at them as well.”

In her scholarship essay, Mullen wrote, “What I like about LCEF’s mission is that it is Christ centered.  We live in a very “me” centered world, so it is such a blessing to have an organization that provides funds and services with Jesus in mind.  The churches and schools that benefit financially from LCEF have the opportunity to further the Kingdom of God through the people they touch.  It is fulfilling the Great Commission as Jesus commanded.”

Carole White, LCEF District Vice President -  Iowa East and West, said, “I was impressed by Abby’s insight and ability to use the simplest conversations to open doors. For example, Abby understands that conversations about investing in LCEF—an organization that has helped her congregation and family in the past—can springboard into a witness to others about Jesus and what He has done in her life. What a great opportunity that many may overlook.”

Mullen’s scholarship is the second of a total of 19 LCEF district scholarships announced this spring. Follow the lcefcentral.org newsfeed for updated announcements.

Learn how you can become a partner in ministry via LCEF investments, loans and ministry support at lcef.org.

Treasurers Learn the Latest Updates at Workshop

 LCEF District Vice President - Iowa East and West Carole White presented at the Iowa District West Church and Clergy Finance/Treasurer Workshop at Zion Lutheran Church, Ogden, Iowa, on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

LCEF District Vice President - Iowa East and West Carole White presented at the Iowa District West Church and Clergy Finance/Treasurer Workshop at Zion Lutheran Church, Ogden, Iowa, on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

A 'walk through' the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Congregational Treasurer's Manual might sound, well, a bit 'less than exciting.' However, it can be invaluable for today's church treasurers and finance staff. 

"After last year's workshop and being newly elected, I wondered what I got myself into! However, with one year's experience and participating in the workshop again, I have a lot more confidence to fulfill my role for my congregation," said a recent workshop attendee.

 At the end of the Iowa District West treasurers workshop on January 20, 2018, LCEF Gift Card winners were announced. Pictured above, Howard Killion from Trinity Lutheran Church, Shenandoah, Iowa, and Alena Naberhaus from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, Iowa.

At the end of the Iowa District West treasurers workshop on January 20, 2018, LCEF Gift Card winners were announced. Pictured above, Howard Killion from Trinity Lutheran Church, Shenandoah, Iowa, and Alena Naberhaus from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, Iowa.

The Iowa District West Church and Clergy Finance/Treasurer Workshop was held at Zion Lutheran Church, Ogden, Iowa, on Saturday, January 20, 2018. This was the second of two workshops offered by the district each year and nearly 30 people attended representing 21 different congregations. 

"Bob Joy, CPA presented a variety of helpful and pertinent topics such as properly completing a pastor's W-2, rostered church worker housing allowance components, accountable plans for clergy expenses, and highlights of the new tax bill," said Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) District Vice President - Iowa East and West Carole White. "Concordia Plan Services Account Manager David Henrichs also presented an overview of each worker's benefit package in the afternoon. LCEF was blessed to sponsor the workshop lunch and also provide a fun, online LCEF gift card giveaway. Attendees appreciated our support of the workshop and its pertinent content."

To learn more about becoming an LCEF partner in ministry, visit lcef.org or call your district vice president.

Sievers Receives Scholarship in Iowa

 Recipient of the 2017 LCEF Iowa District West $1,000 Scholarship, Mallory Sievers (pictured right above) received the funds at her home congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, Storm Lake, Iowa. Presenting Mallory with her scholarship check on Nov. 26, 2107 was LCEF IDW VP Carole White.

Recipient of the 2017 LCEF Iowa District West $1,000 Scholarship, Mallory Sievers (pictured right above) received the funds at her home congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, Storm Lake, Iowa. Presenting Mallory with her scholarship check on Nov. 26, 2107 was LCEF IDW VP Carole White.

"Mallory has been an LCEF investor since birth and has a great understanding of the ministry of LCEF," said Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Iowa District West Vice President Carole White.

White presented Mallory Sievers' 2017 $1,000 LCEF Scholarship check on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at her home congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, Storm Lake, Iowa. 

Sievers is studying Elementary Education at the University of South Dakota (USD), Vermillion.

Read more about Mallory's story here

Applications for the 2018 scholarship is available here. Deadline to apply is January 31, 2018. 

Lutheran Church Extension Fund has served as the financial extension of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) since 1978, offering funding and resources in support of the Church. When you invest with LCEF, you’re providing for the creation and growth of congregations and ministries across the country.

Investing in a strong LCMS community

LCEF empowers LCMS ministries with every dollar invested. And with nearly 60,000 investors, we’ve been able to make a difference for thousands of ministries. We provide customized loans and support services to new and growing ministries as well as loans for Rostered Church Workers who dedicate their lives to sharing the Gospel.

Learn more 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.

Young Stamper Saves for Future

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Stamps, saving and supporting his school!

Pictured left, young Eli is working on filling up his Y.I. stamp sheet at Mount Olive Lutheran School, Des Moines, Iowa. Assisting Eli is Mount Olive parent volunteer and Y.I. Stamp Coordinator Jeff Rains on Friday morning, November 3, 2017.

As a member of the Young Investors (Y.I.) Club, Eli has an investment that earns great interest for his future needs. Not only is it his own personal investment, through the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), Eli is also supporting his school and other Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries across the nation. 

LCEF helped fund extensive renovations at the school in 2014; since then Mount Olive has been eligible for an annual Shared Blessings Loan Rebate. "Every LCEF investor, including young Eli as a Y.I. Club member, helps the school receive rebate dollars back for ministry each year. It's win-win." said LCEF Iowa Districts East & West Vice President Carole White. "The school just started offering stamps this fall and already has nearly 40 Y.I. Club members."

 

The Young Investors Club makes saving money fun while teaching children to give thanks for God’s blessings. Through Y.I. Club newsletters, activities and web pages including the online Y.I. Activity Center, children learn the value of saving, spending and sharing money—while empowering ministry through Lutheran Church Extension Fund.

Learn more at lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

 

 

Mallory Sievers Awarded 2017 IDW LCEF Scholarship!

The 2017 Iowa District West (IDW) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship is awarded to Mallory Sievers. A member of Zion Lutheran Church, Storm Lake, Iowa, Mallory is a freshman studying Elementary Education at the University of South Dakota (USD), Vermillion.

“I was very impressed with Mallory,” wrote USD Speech Instructor Nicole Ackman in her letter of recommendation for Mallory. “She is intelligent, a hard worker and willing to help others succeed.... Through thoughtful conversations in class, in addition to her public speaking examples, Mallory inspired her classmates to be better students and speakers. She was quick to offer encouragement to those who felt less confident in their abilities. Additionally, she was willing to listen to constructive criticism and apply it to her own performances.”

In a second letter of recommendation for Mallory, Karla Christensen wrote, “As a former Board of Education member and Council Secretary at Zion, I have been able to watch Mallory grow and mature into a young woman of high quality and conviction.... She was active in her youth group, helping out with fundraisers and service projects.... In the community, Mallory is respected by adults, younger children, and also her peers, having been an active member of her class (academically, organizationally and athletically,) in community clubs, and is of sound moral and ethical character.”

When asked to write about the ministry of LCEF, Sievers wrote, “I like the service that LCEF provides; it is a great place for members of the congregation to invest money with a meaningful purpose — [LCEF] helps spread the word of God around the world,” said Sievers. “Lutheran Church Extension Fund has changed many people’s lives. My church used LCEF in the past to build a Sunday School Fellowship Hall, and also funded other needs over time....”

The remaining upper Midwest districts’ LCEF scholarships from Iowa District East, 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 awards.

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