A Message from the President – April 2016
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
As I provide this monthly update on the progress of the Here We Stand (HWS) campaign, I would like to give a broad overview of the campaign since its kickoff last fall. As you read the remainder of my letter, you will come to understand several of the many blessings and highlights that God has allowed to take place.
However, I would like to begin with a brief recounting of how HWS evolved in the Michigan District over the past three years. HWS began with the formation of a 15-person Blue Print Committee, comprised of pastors and lay leaders from across the state, who gathered to discuss whether a campaign commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation was something we should pursue in the District. After determining this was indeed a direction we should pursue, the committee then went about the business of considering what the campaign outcomes and initiatives should be. From those prayerful deliberations, over a period of several months, the campaign design that exists today was finalized. We are grateful to Rev. John Bush, from Concordia University Ann Arbor, for chairing this Blue Print Committee.
Also, early in the campaign planning process, the Church Extension Fund of the Michigan District, LCMS, stepped forward to encourage the campaign and pledge their support. CEF President, Dr. Ron Steinke, and the CEF Board of Directors did this in numerous and generous ways, such as committing $350,000 to pay for all campaign expenses—thus allowing every dollar of every gift to be used for its intended purpose. They also committed a 10% match for every dollar donated, resulting in the Michigan District receiving an additional $100,000 for every $1 million received up to a total match of $1 million. Finally, they willingly and excitedly promised their financial support of $40,000 to pay for a District-wide 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Worship Service at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI. We are deeply grateful to CEF for their multiple encouragements, acts of generosity and support, but especially for their partnership.
After months of preparation, the next major step was to receive approval from the delegates at the June, 2015 Michigan District Convention. During the Convention, Ray Zavada, our Michigan District Vice President of Development and Campaign Director, provided the Convention delegates with an overview of the campaign which was followed by a resolution recommending adoption. The delegates overwhelmingly voted—by almost 95%—to support the Michigan District in its efforts to have a 500th Anniversary of the Reformation celebratory campaign.
Following this approval, the HWS Campaign Steering Committee was formed and went to work providing leadership and guidance to Ray Zavada and myself as we worked to implement the campaign in the District. We are blessed to have a 25-member committee, comprised of a cross-section of pastoral and lay leaders from throughout the District and chaired by Rev. Robert Appold, pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Ada, Mich. The committee meets on a regular basis to monitor campaign progress, give insight into future campaign direction, and be a voice for the campaign in their congregations and communities.
Having briefly brought you up to date on the process, which we went through to design and eventually implement the HWS campaign, I now would like to provide an update on campaign activity and progress since its kickoff.
- 45 Pastors accepted our invitation to serve as Campaign Circuit Coordinators. Each of our 42 circuits has at least one coordinator; three circuits have two. Each of these campaign circuit leaders attended one of the five educational workshops in January of this year to help prepare and equip them to serve in this very important role. I am deeply grateful to each one of these pastors serving in this capacity.
- Congregational Educational Workshops have been taking place throughout the District since the beginning of February. Eighteen of these workshops are scheduled, and through March, twelve workshops have been completed. Six additional workshops will be held in April, plus any additional ones we may schedule to fill a regional or congregational need. The workshops have three distinct purposes:
- to provide an overview and understanding of the four campaign initiatives;
- to explain the congregational participation process; and
- to provide introductory information about: the District-wide Reformation Worship Service on October 15, 2017 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing; Summer 2017 special events and activities; and the Students Read the Bible program beginning in the fall of 2016 and extending through the fall of 2017.
Ray Zavada and I are leading each of these workshops. The workshops have been well attended and we have received excellent feedback from those who participated.
- This website is filled with numerous pieces of information about the campaign, including a downloadable version of the campaign video, the campaign booklet, Commitment Forms for congregations and individuals, answers to FAQ’s, bulletin inserts, archived copies of every campaign monthly newsletter and President’s letter, and much more.
- Even though the campaign is in its initial and silent phase, significant progress has been made since last fall. To date, over 200 gifts and pledges have been made, totaling over $1.55 million. For these generous donations from hearts that love the Lord and the mission of His Church, I am both grateful and humbled. Of the $1.55 million gifted, approximately $530,000 has been received in cash, which is very helpful in supporting the campaign’s four major initiatives in its earliest stages.
- Of the early responders to the campaign, five are congregations. Although the Congregational Educational workshops have not yet been completed, these five congregations determined they wanted to participate. A special thank you to each of these five congregations for your willingness to take this step of faith with us.
As we go forward in the HWS campaign, please continue to pray for its success and for how you personally, or your congregation, will participate. Please do not hesitate to contact Ray Zavada at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be glad to assist you with your campaign questions and participation process.
May God continue to bless you, the Michigan District, and HWS as we go forward collectively in service to Christ and His Kingdom.
Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS