If someone gifts you a gift certificate to go out to dinner, that’s wonderful you
get a free meal!  But, you know that in order to redeem that gift certificate you must also have the money to provide for a car to drive to the restaurant, clothes to wear, and enough funds to pay the bill that the certificate may not fully cover.
If someone gives a designated gift to your congregation for a new octave of hand bells that’s wonderful! But you know that the congregation must have undesignated income to provide for tables to put the bells on, music for the bell players, a director, heat for the church during rehearsal, and funds for bell maintenance.
If someone gives a designated gift to:
  • ELCA World Hunger
  • ELCA Disaster Relief
  • ELCA Seminaries & Colleges
  • ELCA Campus Ministry
  • ELCA Outdoor Ministries
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • Barnabas Uplift


 That’s wonderful for these ministries to develop new leaders, alleviate poverty, work for justice and peace, and proclaim the Gospel in word and deed around the world.
But you know that the Synod and ELCA must have the undesignated funds to provide the staff and resources to use the designated gifts.  These undesignated gifts are called “mission support.”

 A full 80% of the cost of staff and administering ELCA Ministries are paid for by”Mission Support.”

So, when you give a gift to ELCA World Hunger your gift is not being spent on mailings, accountants, or telephones. BUT all of these things are necessary.

So a combination of “mission support” and designated gifts is what makes the ministry of the church happen.

Now for a joke… Mary was surprised to receive $10 for her birthday from her
stingy uncle, who then asked how she was going to spend it.


“I’m taking it to Sunday school and giving it to God,” Mary said. “He’ll be just as surprised as I was at getting more than the usual one dollar.”
Pastor Mark Anderson
Assistant to the Bishop

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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