Coming Pentecost 2010 – Specific Fundraiser for Corporate Synod, by Ginny Valleau

In case you missed it, the August 2009 minutes (p.161-162) of the LCMS Board of Directors (just published within the last couple of weeks) tell about a proposed new annual fundraising event that will be timed to coincide with Pentecost 2010.

Why a new fundraiser for corporate Synod?  Since “all gifts, unrestricted and restricted, already are gifts to the Synod as a whole.”  Why  at Pentecost? The BOD minutes tell us that Pentecost is “thought to be a fitting time since even as Pentecost marked the beginning of the church, an annual appeal would benefit the Synod as a whole…” Uh…I must be missing something because I don’t see the parallel between God pouring out His Holy Spirit on the Church and a new LCMS fundraiser.”

How will the people in the pews benefit from a new appeal to send $$$ to corporate Synod? We will get a mission statement, a vision statement, and a “promise statement.”

What is a “promise statement”? We are told that a “promise statement” is key to the proposal; it is the way in which the synod communicates its vision in such a way that compels  the pew sitter to contribute to synod and it is described as  “a compelling statement that engages, is absolutely true, and provides the relationship context that will invite support.” Hmm…the promise will be “absolutely true“?

There’s more…membership will also have the “opportunity…to experience the value of the Synod in their lives…” I am not sure how to gauge experiencing the “value of Synod” in my life—but somehow I don’t think I need any more of it!”

Another benefit for the pewsitters: the annual appeal will create a “new tradition” for LCMS members. And, the fund drive will “nurture ‘strong relational value’ among the members of the Synod.” I think this is slick business-speak for making us think we have a stake in this.”

Oops, almost forgot…we will also get more bureaucracy: a newly developed President’s Advisory Council to give all of this direction.

No need to write this on your calendar—you won’t miss it because they promise to come at us with all the forces of Synod’s periodicals and internet resources.

Ginny Valleau
Independence, MO

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Coming Pentecost 2010 – Specific Fundraiser for Corporate Synod, by Ginny Valleau — 23 Comments

  1. Great article Ginny. What this really admits is that synod has failed. We are supposed to be synod in our district, circuit and congregation and that structure is supposed to be sufficient to motivate us as pew sitters to give to the cause through our congregation “synod and missions” budget. But that has failed because synod has failed to be what it ought to be.

    It will be interesting to see what they state as their promise – what they see as the fundamental purpose of synod. For most of us reading this site, we have lost our desire to support synod because they have moved away from the original reason that congregations decided to walk in synod – to train pastors and to send out missionaries.

    The establisnment of this new annual fund drive for corporate synod (notice the minutes of the meeting do not mention missions or training pastors but assume that synod inc. is an entity worth supporting in and of itself) is a sad day for the LCMS. It shows that synod is not working as it should and worse yet, it is a pre-emptory strike of what the Blue Ribbon proposals are seeking to do – centralize authority in synod inc. This is a power grab which basically says you pew sitters are not doing what you are supposed to do via the traditional model (circuit, district, congregation) and so we are going to go right to you to get money. This is really a desperate effort.


  2. And this annual fundraiser will further hamper the fundraising of our seminaries.

    Individuals are where the money is – dominate the marketshare.

    There is a reason Synod, Inc. is in debt and a reason people aren’t more supportive – and the problem isn’t that Synod, Inc. hasn’t been communicating their vision.

  3. Did you notice that the person spearheading the next fundraiser is the head of the LCMS Foundation? The same LCMS Foundation that, according to the same BOD minutes, was responsible fot “fundraising efforts costing KFUO $402,000 over the past year [that] generated gifts of only $448,000.”

    That is, in that case, the LCMS Foundation spent 90 cents to raise a dollar.

    How much will the planned new fundraiser cost LCMS Inc.?


  4. Great article Ginny!!!
    I can just hear the BOD discussion now…”If listener-based fundraisers work for Joy FM…our members are listeners right? Hey, why don’t we try this fundraising business?” said the LCMS BOD to itself. “What’s a good time of the year?” ” Ideas anyone?” “Hey, Pentecost!” “Yeah…we can call it…Pentecost 2010.” “Pentecost is already Spirit based, so the more they give, the more spirit we’ll say they have.” “Great idea, let’s do it!” said the BOD to itself.”
    Oh, how far the mighty have fallen, for what? A new master: $$$$$.

  5. But you don’t have to hire a new firm of consultants to do your Advent planning, Pr. Sullivan.

    In the corporate world, these things need lead time to invent Power Point presentations, prepare slick brochures, select motivational speakers, write “winsome” articles for the Witless and the Reporter…. have I missed anything?

    I hope usFirst is going to dig deep (for a change) because I’m already as impressed as I was with Sunday’s CEF presentation, which wanted me to contribute so they could lend money to the likes of Wayne Graumann’s Salem, et al. Yeah, right!
    I was so impressed with the preliminary remarks before the Divine Service that when I was tipped off that CEF had the whole Adult Bible class hour, with PP and all, I reversed course and went home.

    Why spoil a good Divine Service?

    [P.S. Half of that 90 cents probably didn’t leave the Violet Vatican.]

  6. “opportunity…to experience the value of the Synod in their lives…”

    Sung to the tune of “Austria.”

    Synod, Synod, uber allis!
    To you we owe loyalty!
    You whose bylaws shan’t be broken,
    they’re hewn in stone by royalty.
    On the vision
    of your leaders
    Rests the future of the church.
    And the souls of
    Hundred millions
    will experience your value
    Or be left in the lurch.

  7. Rev. Hering,
    This was hysterical!!!!! I used to belong to a Bavarian dance group, (ya ich war ein schuplattler, schlecht bein & fuss) and we used to have to sing Austria, at certain events. This made me laugh, out loud!!!!! To true, to true, from their perspective anyway. Allis ist alles as in all. The last line doesn’t match the tempre, how about, or be left in da’ cold? Same difference though. Oi vey, how said is this, funny, but sad all the same. The next time I hear Austria, these are the lyrics I’ll think of!!!! Let’s hope that’s not what I end up singing!

  8. Hey Dutch,
    Could you entertain us with Bavarian dance at the next BJS conference??? 🙂
    It would go well with Lutheran beverages on Friday night….

  9. I don’t have a 2010 calendar and the annual is out of reach at this time. Just when is Pentecost? Some churches have confirmation that day, I said some. Now won’t this drive be fitting for that day.

    As someone stated above..they got too much time on their hands. Just sit around and think of another drive. Also the drive for the seminaries this year you had to see all the envelopes enclosed inthe bulletins get thrown in the trash cans, but they went into the recyco bin that we have. I am not making light of this,but the old saying you can,t get blood out of a turnip. There is just tooooo many drives. Aren’t they still working on Ablaze or collecting?

  10. I love this site, just the right amount of humor!!!! Pastor Hering, don’t change anything!!! And Heartbroken…there is no way I am doing a schuplattler at any church function let alone a BJS one! My part is boring anyway, just turning in place fast enough so your skirt looks like a bell…wow…yawn. Just go to a Germanfest or Oktoberfest here in the Midwest. You’ll get the idea, & yes, it does go well w/Bayrische oder Lutherische trinken! Gut…sehr gut. You guys are a right riot!

  11. Is LCMS, Inc. too big to fail? Will LCMS leadership be bailed out? We will find out in Pentecost 2010.

  12. Good article, Ginny,

    I am reminded that when LCMS Foundation does a fund raiser they do charge a high percentage of the total for their services. The KFUO deal was the highest I have seen in the public eye. But then again, why would “they” have wanted it to be a successful fundraiser? I have been informed of lower percentages for missions, etc., but it is still a high number for an “in-house” fund raiser, even by corporate standards.

    In the recesses of my cynical mind I would say this fund raiser is really needed to re-pay money borrowed to pay for the delegate conferences being held around the country to “sell” the restructuring proposals. One of my largest criticism of the restructing proposals is that the effort is focused on refining and “selling” them, rather than “justifying” them by pro and con analysis, including costing data.

    My prediction is the fund raiser is just another nail in the coffin of what once was a functioning and focused synod.

  13. Thanks, Ginny, for reading and digesting the minutes! Many of us would have missed this, or glazed over it. Your diligence is commendable.

  14. @Rev. Kurt Hering #14

    Re: “Uber alles”
    Those last two lines defeat me, Pr. Hering.

    “This is a power grab which basically says you pew sitters are not doing what you are supposed to do via the traditional model (circuit, district, congregation) and so we are going to go right to you to get money. This is really a desperate effort.” –TR

    The propaganda will come from the BOD, it says, but they are really going to take the fall for the Administration’s directives. You have to wonder whether they are naive or if the level of intelligence needed to get to the BOD has dropped. I wish them well. I wish them arms long enough to reach to their own back pockets.

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