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September 2012

The ripple of giving

Bob and Lila Olson have been supporting Luther Seminary for more than 23 years, and enjoy a unique blessing: They see the ripple effect their giving has on the church.

Not only do the Olsons fund a scholarship for an M.Div. student each year, but they also give to the Sustaining Fund, to more broadly support the work of Luther Seminary. "It is a very important thing to do for the future of the church, and to make sure there are enough qualified people to lead," Bob says. For the Olsons, Luther's reputation for turning out excellent leaders is at the heart of why they give.

"The students have their calling and it's our responsibility to help them out," Lila says. She recalls a young pastor who came some years ago to lead their home congregation, Tanum Forest Lutheran Church in Forestville, Wisc. The previous pastor had served nearly three decades, making it a tough act to follow. This young pastor brought new energy to the congregation. "He was with us for four years before understanding his call to return to academia." The young pastor returned to Luther Seminary to pursue a Ph.D. and is now teaching a new generation of future leaders in a Lutheran college in the Midwest. The Olsons can see their support reaching the whole church.

"This past August we got to hear one of Luther Seminary's interns preach at our congregation. She delivered the sermon for us on Saturday night and Sunday morning," Bob says. The intern's visit and sermons were greatly appreciated at Tanum Forest Lutheran. "We can see right before us how our support of Luther Seminary is important for the whole church. That's why we give."

Gifts to the Sustaining Fund send ripples of support throughout the whole mission of Luther Seminary. When you give to the Sustaining Fund, you support:

  • Coursework and fellowship designed to prepare biblically grounded, Christ-centered leaders
  • Free online resources such as and
  • Distributed learning programs that allow people across the country the opportunity to say "Yes" to God's call to ministry
  • Opportunities for students to immerse themselves in cross-cultural ministry, interfaith dialog and global mission work
  • Scholarships that work to reduce student debt and allow graduates to serve where they are most needed

To make your gift to support future leaders of the church, visit our secure giving page at Now during the Promise Challenge your gift to the Sustaining Fund will be matched 1:1, doubling the impact of your gift. Learn more about the Promise Challenge at

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