A $500,000 gift from an anonymous couple may allow the Lutheran Men in Missions (LMM) ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to become self sufficient, an Oct. 6 release announced.
"An anonymous couple has stepped forward with a $500,000 challenge grant,” said Doug Haugen, LMM director.
According to Haugen, the LMM will match the gift by a ration of 2 to 1, allowing the gift to triple to the sum of $1.5 million.
"We intend to match that grant with planned gifts and cash by a 2 to 1 ratio," said Haugen.
Since its inception in 1988, the LMM relied on money from the ELCA’s chuchwide budget for its staffing, ministries and events. Most of the LMM funds come from individual contributions and from men’s ministries from local churches.
"Your consistent support of our current fund, along with the support of many others, has enabled our ministry to expand greatly over the years," Haugen wrote. "Much bolder steps are required to build the Lutheran Men in Mission Endowment Fund, which currently stands at $115,000."
The new half-million gift will remarkably “strengthen LMM resources so that the organization might be financially self-sufficient by the end of 2005,” he added.
"This new opportunity will greatly impact our ministry with young men, our Bible ministry and the success of the Lutheran Men's Gathering next year. And it will have a dramatic impact on our ability to engage every man in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ," Haugen wrote.
Meanwhile the LMM president Heber Rast said the new gift will make a “tremendous impact” on the work of the ministry.
"We are more excited than ever about Lutheran Men in Mission and the opportunities before us," said Rast. "This sends the message that we are a major ingredient in the overall ministry of the ELCA and that men's ministry is important," he said.
"This challenge gift will have a tremendous impact on our programs, in that it will give us more stability in our funding and allow better planning," said Rast. "In the past we have designed programs and had to put them off or modify them depending on available funds," he said.
"With this increase in the endowment, we will have a much better idea of our income and can better plan for the growth of our ministry. While we will only utilize a portion of the income from the endowment, we will at least have that as a steady source of funds and can concentrate more on expanding our programs," Rast said.
Said Rast: "People give to programs and ministries that show results. With the success of our Bible program and the young men's ministry, this gift will help position ourselves for additional growth in these areas as well as developing new programs and ministries.”