What would your congregation do if you unexpectedly received a large bequest?  While your first thought might be that this would the best thing that could happen to a congregation, experience has shown that without a plan, gifts like this can derail a congregation’s mission faster than the problem of lack of funds can.

Or what if you or a member of your congregation just realized that if both you and your spouse died suddenly tomorrow, the total of all your assets (like your house, your car, retirement funds, insurance) is more money than you feel comfortable leaving your young adult children to handle all at once?

What if you want to help people think about their stewardship in a holistic way and plan to carry out their generosity in the future?

We often fantasize about winning the lottery and how much better that would make our lives.  But there are too many stories of how people who lived that fantasy and suddenly came into large sums of money discovered how quickly that turned into a nightmare.

Money can be a blessing, but it can also become a source for conflict and confusion.  The difference is in the planning.

The ELCA Foundation is an excellent resource that can help you with the kind of planning that ensures your financial resources will be a blessing.

Do you know that you can set up an endowment fund even if you don’t have the money for it now?  The best time to set one up is before you have any money.  Now is the time to think about your mission and what you could do if you had an endowment.  Plan for it, talk about it, decide on it now.  Then when and if you receive an unexpected gift, the decisions and policies have already been made and set, and you can fulfill that mission you’ve been dreaming about.

The ELCA Foundation can also help individuals arrange their wills and estates in ways that will ensure their generous visions for mission are carried out.

You can check out all the resources the Foundation has on the ELCA website ELCA Foundation. Even better, Michael Klinefelter is the Regional Gift Planner for Iowa and is more than happy to come to your congregation and work with individuals and/or congregations to help with financial planning.

When you’re ready to make transformational gifts — those that exemplify your lifelong commitment to ministry and mission — the ELCA Foundation is your partner. Working together, Mike can help you and your members answer the call to live as a faithful and generous steward, while supporting and strengthening the financial capacities of ELCA churchwide ministries, congregations, synods, agencies and institutions. We do this through gifts, financial education, resources, and investment and endowment management services.

All of this information is a simple phone call or email away.  You have a question?  Call Mike!

Mike Klinefelter – mike.klinefelter@elca.org


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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.