Great Stuff Found on the Web — Blessings, Gifts, Challenges — May 2011 Lutheran Witness

Found this information on the latest Lutheran Witness posted on Witness, Mercy, Life Together Blog:


The May 2011 Lutheran Witness is hot off the press. You can get it from the Lutheran Witness site. (Download here). President Harrison begins the issue:

“At my request, The Lutheran Witness staff has put together this issue to inform the good folks of Synod about the financial realities that we face. The funding of this multi-billion-dollar institution called The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is complex, to say the least. It took me a good five to six years working at the International Center before I actually began to understand it. The first step in addressing a challenge is honesty about its existence and its probable causes. But this must be done with an eye on our blessings, which are truly extraordinary. We are in a definite predicament, but it’s hardly all doom and gloom.”

Articles Include:

  • From the President — Matthew C. Harrison
  • The Constancy of Change — Larry Rast
  • Body and Soul Work — Albert B Collver / Kim Krull
  • Mission Heritage — Kim Krull
  • Fan Into Flame — Kim Krull
  • Righting the Financial Ship — Kim Krull
  • The Lord Gives Christians Manage — Jerald Wulf
  • LCMS Agencies
  • LCMS Seminaries — Roland Lovestad
  • LCMS Schools — William Cochran
  • The Concordia University System — Adriane Dorr
  • Witness, Mercy, Life Together, and Restructuring — Albert Collver
  • The Future Is Here — Barbara Below


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


Great Stuff Found on the Web — Blessings, Gifts, Challenges — May 2011 Lutheran Witness — 4 Comments

  1. I have not read the next Witness yet.

    Have we declared an end to the financing of non-Lutheran and un-Lutheran “consultants”; of “robbing Peter to pay all”; of expenditures for frivolous law suits; and to the destruction of a growing confessional Lutheran church which happens to be an embarrassment to its liberal DP?

    Let’s not let our eyeballs pop out at our “multi billion dollar institution” to the point that we think a million here or there is of no consequence. [That’s for secular politicians!]

    I heard our SP comment the other day (recorded on Issues Etc.) about the large sums of money that were in the CEF “and only 4% of synod members invested in it.” Perhaps, like the USA, only 4% of synod members have 90% of the money. OR perhaps some of the other 96% spend theirs on the needs of synod and its RSO’s, instead of “laying up treasure on earth”?

    All sorts of possibilities!
    [E.g., I took my few shekels out of TXCEF for two reasons: they finance “entertainment churches” and are not keen about confessional plants. They financed a unionist meeting (primarily elca) and after denying [three times] what was plainly to be read on the web site, they told me “That’s where the market is”. Fine. They didn’t need me then.]

    I doubt I am the only one who is reluctant to pay for the rope that will hang him.

  2. In her article, “Fan the Flames Update,” Kim Krull states that originally the operational cost for the $100 million Fan into Flames fundraising campaign was to be no more than 10 percent. To date, the campaign has collected $44.8M with an operational cost of 41 percent. Detailed reasons for this >400% of the original planned percentage for operational expense are not provided.

    It also is not clear from the article whether the $18.9M of existing pledges will incur a similar operational percent cost, or whether there will be even more operation costs in trying to raise an addition $36.2M over the next few months in order to reach the $100M goal by the October 31, the ending date.

  3. I find it refreshing that Synodical HQ is ‘coming clean’, particularly in regards to the situation with LCMS World Mission. The numbers speak for themselves – 59 career missionary families in the field today, with 33 clergy. Down from 350 families during our “heyday”! We can do mission work better, and cheaper! Global Lutheran Outreach is one small attempt to get more missionaries on the field.

  4. A new blog site, OnWord, has started with the stated goal, “OnWord is committed to engage people about key missional issues in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as it participates in the Mission of God.”

    The name of Norb Oesch on the front page should set off some alarms. 😮

    Another item included on the home page is a link to the article, “LCMS World Mission – An Historical Look at Its Funding and Spending (A Reply to the May, 2011 Lutheran Witness Article),” written by Kermit W. (Butch) Almstedt, who served as a member of the Board for Mission Services for some 14 years, during the early and latter part of the 1990s, and then as its chairperson from 2001 to 2010. He now is a member of the Board for International Mission of the LCMS. There are a lot of numbers presented in the article, which deals with the claims made in the May 2011 Lutheran Witness (on the link given at the beginning of this thread). The author makes two major conclusion:

    This author would argue that the facts do not support the assertion that LCMS World Mission “overspent its revenues, year by year . . . so that millions of unrestricted dollars had to be pulled away from other areas of need;” or, that LCMS World Mission operated out of a “black hole” of excessive spending. [p. 7, emphasis by author]

    Was it the “new LCMS” Leadership after the 2010 Convention who undertook the necessary corrective and proactive steps around LCMS World Mission to “cease overspending” (as contended in the May Lutheran Witness article)? Or, was it LCMS World Mission, itself, through its dedicated staff who addressed the problems associated with both the revenue and spending sides of its ledger? I believe, based on the facts, it was LCMS World Mission, through its dedicated staff. As the facts show, LCMS World Mission, prior to the 2010 Convention, operated in the black, not a “black hole.” [p. 10]

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