LCMS World Relief and Human Care to receive the most funding from Thrivent Choice

A New Release just came out from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans announcing the results of their voting for their Thrivent Choice funding — A million dollars split between 10 organizations according to member voting. This is a new program that is one replacement for their Care Abounds in Congregations program, the other part of it, “Choice Dollars”, to come out later this summer that will help the local congregation or organizations. For the Thrivent Choice program, 150,000 of Thrivent’s 2.6 million members voted for how to distribute these funds, and LCMS World Relief and Human Care came out with the highest number of votes, and therefore are going to receive almost $200,000 of this funding — or 1/5th of the total amount.

Quoting from Pr Matt Harrison:

This is humbling and marvelous news. We are thankful for all the dollars provided, $113 million in 2009 to help congregations and communities.

LCMS WRHC Donors are Fantastic and Loyal and appreciate the work we do here. We are honored to have your trust.

Below is Pr Harrison’s Thank You to the generosity of those members. If for some reason this video doesn’t play correctly (it doesn’t automatically start, click on play below), you can view it here.

So what happens to WRHC and the excellent work that they do if Prop 18 passes?


It’s been asked on another email list about the votes; I decided to do up a quick spreadsheet to find out the number of votes each organization received. Based on the funding for each, I generated a column saying the percentage of votes each received. Based on that percentage, I then generated a column that says how many votes each received. Here are the results:

Thrivent Choice Votes

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


LCMS World Relief and Human Care to receive the most funding from Thrivent Choice — 11 Comments

  1. Glad to know my vote was heard! Any ideas on how to get the purple ink off my finger?

  2. Why are Habitat for Humanity and the American Heart Association even on the list of selections? Those two organizations have many other sources of revenue/donation. Who will fund Lutheran organization? I doubt any of these Lutheran organizations will get many if any donations from secular or other religious organizations. If Lutherans and so called Lutheran organizations as Thrivent don’t support Lutheran organization then who will? It is not going to be the Methodists or Baptists or Roman Catholic or the non-churched. This is just one more good reason to divest from Thrivent. I did it years ago and was one of the best decisions I have made. I get much better products, term life, mutual funds, etc from other companies and for lower costs and in the case of mutual funds much higher returns. I can direct my donations to the Lutheran organization I desire and not be told where my dollars will be given by the ilk of the Thrivent board.

  3. GaiusKurius,
    I so much agree with you. Thrivent is the tail that wags the dog of the LCMS. In my book they’re “LINO=Lutheran In Name Only”.

  4. “Why are Habitat for Humanity and the American Heart Association even on the list of selections?”

    A former top official of AAL recently told me with lament that the IRS has reinterpreted the rules and is pressuring Thrivent to disburse more to causes that do not directly benefit their members, i.e. they’re supposedly directing too much toward specifically Lutheran causes, which threatens their special tax status.

    The IRS reasoning is this: Thrivent can offer lower rates to their members because of special tax breaks they receive for “charitable” contributions, but then the “charity” is directed mostly toward their customers, so it is really a tax evasion scheme. Thrivent’s new procedures are an attempt to comply with the new rules and mollify the IRS.

    Another person told me that due to these changes Thrivent as a “fraternal” insurance organization would not exist in five years.

  5. Bob E
    I agree that Thrivent is the tail that wags the dog and that they are LINO’s. To me whenever I hear the pericope of Jesus driving out the money changers from the temple, Thrivent comes to mind as a modern incarnation of the money changers.

  6. I’ll sing the Doxology for LWR-HC’s reception of the greatest number of Thrivent Choice votes. But I wonder why it is that our beloved synod’s BOD took the below mentioned action this past February regarding LMI. Maybe if they would listen to the people they would recieve their desired offerings.

    Excerpts from the Reporter-online

    Board adopts $87.6 million Synod operating budget

    In February, the Board approved an overture for the convention that calls for the Synod to join the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI).

    Also at its May meeting, the Board endorsed a joint proposal of the Synod and Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Baltimore, to the United Nations Foundation that includes a grant of $4 million for joint work related to the LMI. The action also calls on the LCMS and LWR to develop “a collaborative and coordinative memorandum of understanding” for policies of working together to raise $45 million to combat malaria (especially in Sub-Saharan Africa) and to build support for the initiative among their constituencies.

    LMI is a movement including the Synod, LWR, the UN Foundation, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

  7. So, LWR-HC gets the most votes to receive Thrivent funds right before the LCMS decides at convention whether or not to shut it down. Tell me we didn’t spend a whole lot of cash on consultants to come up with this hair brained idea.

  8. @Henry Bimpage #7
    You will be happy to know that Thrivent apparently paid the consultants’ bill. What’s more, the consultants didn’t tell LCMS Corp what it wanted to hear. Anyone cynical?

  9. @boogie #8

    This isn’t quite true. Thrivent provided a block grant to the LCMS (as they do each year). The LCMS could decide to do anything they want with this funding. They chose to pay this consultant fee instead of use it to train the next generation of ministers or something more useful.

    I love Pr. Harrison’s quote talking about the lack of income to LCMS, Inc. related to this:

    The major cause, I believe, is that we have virtually ceased funding what congregations care most about.

    Using a block grant to pay consultants rather than the work of the church certainly leads me to question if monies are being put to good use.

  10. The funding identified here is a very small portion of what Thrivent has given to Habitat. Approximatley $130M over the past 10 years. There is a simple reason why they do it – their members want them to. Lutherans are the single most active denomination in the work of Habitat. Thrivent wanted to support what their members were interested in. They have reduced giving to church bodies because they are tired of the bureaucracy and internal fighting over their grants. Sounds reasonable.

    As far as LMI, people should be clear that LCMS is not working with the ELCA on this. This is no joint program, no joint funding, no influence from the ELCA on the LMCS. They are each engaged in their own individual program for malaria. Its an entirely worthy endeavor and I hope people will support it.

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