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“Live, Love, Lead, Generously”


  • “How do we become people whose security base is God, and God alone?

  • How can we stand confidently with rich and poor alike on the common ground of God’s love?

  • How can we ask for money without pleading, and call people to a new communion without coercing?

  • How can we express not only in our way of speaking but also in our way of being with others the joy, vitality, and promise of our mission and vision?”  (Henri Nouwen, A Spirituality of Fundraising p. 55)


How do we move from perceiving stewardship as an unpleasant and unavoidable activity to recognizing stewardship as a life-giving, hope-filled foundation for generous ministry?


The New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has received a grant of $500,000 as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.  The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as we address the financial and economic struggles that can impair the ability of pastors to give thorough and effective leadership to congregations.


We assert that pastoral leadership is a fulcrum to leverage excellence in ministry.  This partnership with the Lilly Endowment Inc., the New Jersey Synod, the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recognizes primary financial challenges for pastors in the areas of educational debt, retirement preparation, family medical burdens, and housing.  Congregations struggling with declining membership and increasing costs, precipitate vulnerability in pastoral tenure.  

This venture of financial literacy will increase a pastor’s stewardship capacity and assist to overcome financial challenges, manage personal finances, and lead congregations in stewardship endeavors.  A Ministerial Excellence Fund will be developed to provide direct financial intervention to address educational debt and retirement planning.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Portico Benefit Services, and the Southwestern Minnesota Synod are allies and partners in the integration and implementation of these programs.   Participants in this bold ministerial venture will develop capacity and freedom to provide stewardship leadership and to witness to God’s generosity in their private and public behaviors in faith and money issues.

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