Story Magazine

Second Quarter, 2004

Inspire Giving in Others

by Shelley Cunningham, '98

"God loves a cheerful giver," writes Paul in 2 Corinthians. A new challenge gift will help Luther Seminary educate and inspire its graduates to be cheerful givers themselves, so they can, in turn, lead their congregations to lives of abundance in Christ. The gift, which was introduced with the launch of the Called and Sent Campaign in May, will support the seminary's efforts to emphasize generosity and practical financial intelligence. Called "The Fund for Financial Leadership in Christian Communities," the gift will be a part of the seminary's initiative for congregational mission and leadership.

The goal is to raise $1.25 million dollars, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor with a deep passion for stewardship and who recognizes that the church needs to be more intentional about training leaders who share that passion.

The match ends Dec. 31, 2007. "Generosity is something you learn. Most people instinctively hold on to their money," said Glenn Taibl, major gifts consultant in the office of seminary relations. "But God's vision for us is that we would live lives of generosity that flow from the abundance of God's gifts to us. If our students haven't learned generosity from someone, they need to, so they can live out of their abundance.

Mentoring Students to Become Fiscal Leaders

"We've discovered that students need better financial management skills, both for themselves personally, and then as leaders of the church," Taibl said. One way to do that is to pair students with mentors who can talk about how their lives have been enriched through giving. Providing free access to a professional money manager can give students --- many of whom graduate with significant debt --- a clearer understanding of how fiscal success and generosity can be achieved.

New projects funded through the match will add to the work that Luther Seminary's Stewardship Council has undertaken for the past 10 years. They have worked to strengthen stewardship attitudes, knowledge and skills for the future pastors of our church. The Stewardship in the 21st Century Web site offers ideas, stories, quotes and resource materials for congregations looking to engage and motivate their church's members. And two recent events for seminary graduates --- Stewardship 2000 and Stewardship 2003 --- got attendees excited about the ways they could share their stories. These efforts, combined with faculty involvement and assistance from outside resources, can make a difference both in the lives of the seminary's students and in its reputation as a place that trains pastors who provide exceptional stewardship leadership.

You are invited to accept the challenge! Help train seminarians for financial leadership by giving to "The Fund for Financial Leadership in Christian Communities." Contact the Office of Seminary Relations, 651-641-3448, or toll-free at 1-888-358-8437.