A Message from the President – January 2018

Dear Brothers in Christ,

A happy and blessed New Year to each of you. Because of God’s grace, I know your journeys through the Advent and Christmas seasons were a blessing to you, your families, and your congregations. As we enter a new year of ministry, I pray that your eyes will be open to the many opportunities for sharing the love of Christ with all you come in contact with, indeed may He give you the necessary strength, wisdom, and desire to make an impact on your congregations and communities for the sake of the Kingdom.

Recently, I learned of a congregation in our District that decided they were not going to participate in the Here We Stand (HWS) campaign, even though they wanted to, because they thought they could not make it work within their operating budget during the New Year.

Having become aware of this, I not only would like to remind you, but also gently reinforce, what Ray Zavada and I discussed during the 26 Informational Meetings we conducted in February, March, and April of 2016 as we traveled throughout the District helping congregations prepare to participate in HWS.

At these informational meetings we stressed there were numerous ways a congregation could approach participation in the campaign, one of which was including HWS in the annual operating budget. We know that in some instances this is the best approach for a congregation to participate, but we also know that in many instances, this is not an ideal or even practical, way. In fact, many of the 107 congregations that are currently participating have chosen a way to participate that does NOT involve placing HWS in an annual operating budget.

Much of the remainder of this update letter identifies many alternate ways that congregations have chosen to become a participating congregation. So, as we go into a brief review of campaign participation methods, please allow me to ask the following question: How is your HWS campaign participation planning going?

Participation by a congregation is defined as making a multi-year pledge, setting a congregational multi-year goal, or making cash contributions. Each of these ways is an excellent approach to participating, depending upon the method, personality, and interest level of a congregation. We encourage congregations to choose a method of participation that is right for them and creates interest and excitement for all.

Congregational participation in HWS has been done in many ways; some are very traditional approaches and several are quite new and innovative.

If a traditional method is what you are seeking, you may like to try one or more of the following:

  • Pledge a designated percentage of your annual budget over a 3-5 year period;
  • Designate a percentage of a capital campaign you are conducting for your congregation to HWS;
  • Set a Commitment Sunday date and, after several informational meetings about HWS, ask members of your congregation to make personal gifts and pledges;
  • Have regular “in-pew” appeals in envelopes designated to HWS;
  • Designate Lenten and/or Advent offerings;
  • Collect 5th Sunday or monthly loose change offerings;
  • Gift Vacation Bible School or Sunday School offerings;
  • Donate chapel offerings for a month or quarter if you have a school;
  • Encourage the donation of Thrivent Choice™ dollars from members.

If you are interested in being involved in more creative or innovative ways, you may wish to do one, or more, of the following:

  • Ask each member family to donate $1 for the cumulative age of their family, i.e. a 40-year old father, a 38-year old mother, and two children ages 10 and 8 would gift a total of $97 for that year. This could be done multiple years;
  • Participate in the 2018 Reformation 500 Walk, Bike, Run Challenge as a congregation or as individuals within your congregation;
  • Participate in the 2018 HWS Here We Ride bike event this summer;
  • Design and distribute banks to collect donations for HWS, and collect quarterly;
  • Have a congregational rummage sale, and split the proceeds with HWS;
  • Host a congregational/community dinner, or maybe a talent show;
  • Have a bike, walk, run, or bowl-a-thon;
  • Hold a congregational auction.

Each of the ideas mentioned above have been done by the congregations of the Michigan District as a means to participate in HWS. Please be creative, as there are certainly many more ways to participate, and have fun while helping to advance the goals of HWS and the ministries of your congregations.

Let us know how we can help you plan, or come up with participation ideas. We will be glad to help by providing ideas, materials, video, and with a congregational communications plan. We look forward to see how you will approach HWS campaign participation, all for the purpose of growing Christ’s Kingdom.

Please make 2018 the year that your congregation “creates” its participation plan and becomes a HWS participating congregation, if you have not already done so. Thank you for your current and future involvement.

Your Brother in Christ,


Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS

Support Here We Stand

By The Numbers through January 22, 2018

$5,093,469.35 – Total campaign gifts, pledges, and goals
$3,335,842.95 – Cash received
$300,000.00 – Additional received CEF Matching Funds
$1,098,417.65 – Outstanding commitments (pledges)

1,193 Total Contributors
1,083 Individual Contributors
110 Congregations Contributing
29.6% of Michigan District Congregations currently participating
7,012 Participants in the “Crafted By Truth” Bible Reading Program

$1,048,826.23 – Total given/pledged for Professional Church Worker Scholarships
$1,767,791.15 – Total given/pledged for Innovative Missional Ministry
$776,331.67 – Total given/pledged for Michigan District Endowment
$1,141,311.55 – Total given/pledged for International Ministries