E-lert - July 2012

Donor impact shapes formation of church leaders

Luther Seminary continues to respond to the church's call to prepare bold and faithful leaders for Christian communities. In support of this mission, more than 6,500 faithful donors supported Luther Seminary during the 2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Thanks to ongoing donor support, Luther is able to make a greater investment in the preparation of future church leaders. The number of annual donors is up over last year, showing strong support of Luther's mission. Donors' generous gifts make a large impact, covering approximately 55 percent of the annual budget when combining current gifts and endowment income.

Gifts help Luther prepare future church leaders who have missional hearts, are dedicated to ministering to today's youth and families and are equipped to share the gospel message through strong biblical preaching. Ongoing investments allow students to respond to their calls in innovative ways, carefully preparing for how congregations function in today's world.

"It's really clear in recent years that students are not content to do what's always been done," said David Lose, the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching. "They are taking seriously the culture we live in and are hungry to find ways to communicate the gospel message. They are willing to take risks and experiment in order to engage multiple generations, particularly the emerging generation that isn't coming to church."

Donors consistently give to support dynamic biblical preaching. Lose has seen students embrace this call to share the gospel through their sermons. "They are really passionate about connecting with today's hearers in new forms that connect with the current culture," Lose said.

During the last academic year, 806 students brought that passion to their studies at Luther Seminary. Among them were:

  • 196 ecumenical students from 14 denominations
  • 77 students enrolled in the Master of Divinity Distributed Learning program, which allows students to take the majority of classes online
  • 73 international students from 27 countries
  • 30 students in the Master of Arts in Children, Youth and Family Ministry Distributed Learning program

Gifts to Luther Seminary also supported:

  • God Pause: Luther Seminary's daily devotion reaches nearly 15,000 people via email and more than 5,000 people through its Facebook page every day. A highly valued resource, more than 50 percent of Luther Seminary donors are God Pause subscribers.
  • WorkingPreacher.org: Church leaders from more than 200 countries and territories around the world are inspired by this resource, which receives approximately 100,000 visits a month. Donor support allows Working Preacher to offer more than 1,000 commentaries, 500 articles, 200 podcasts and nearly 200 videos—all for free.
  • Student scholarships: Several generous donors came together to leverage their investments and motivate giving in support of students who are called to transform lives by sharing the gospel message. Thanks to generous donor support, $225,000 was matched for current scholarships in the 2012 fiscal year through the Seminarian Scholarship Challenge.

This year donors again showed strong support to the Sustaining Fund. These gifts allow the seminary to use the money where it is needed most. The seminary also received vital planned giving contributions, which will support our mission long into the future.

"This work of preparing leaders for tomorrow's church would not happen without the faithful partnership of the thousands of individuals who have joined together to help prepare strong, faithful leaders. We are so grateful for the donor support that made seminary possible for more than 800 students this past year," said President Richard Bliese. "To each of our donors, we say thank you."

Every gift to Luther Seminary supports our mission. Learn how you can give to this important work at www.luthersem.edu/gifts.