As a WELS Christian giving counselor, I have the enjoyable task of connecting with people like you who support various synod ministries including the valuable work of training pastors through Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS). These visits are filled with sacred, precious moments.
Seasoned pastors will tell you that in-home visits are extra special. The pastor comes to give comfort or encouragement from God’s Word to a soul that they care for deeply. But in the end, it is the pastor who is encouraged as he sees the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of God’s people—people who are carrying out his mission.
I find that true in my visits, too. After some small talk and some sips of coffee, the stories start. I share the wonderful news of what the Lord is doing in various corners of his kingdom. “Your prayers and your gifts are being used by Jesus to make a worldwide impact!” Then, I often receive more than I expected. Moved by hearing what the Lord is doing, God’s people share how he has been working in their lives, in the lives of their family members, and in their congregation. God is very busy right now, from what God’s people share with me!
Sometimes I hear God’s people say, “Pastor, I wish I could do more.” In these cases, I get to remind them that the one who made the world and owns all things moves our hearts to respond to his blessings simply by our being a blessing to him and his work. Sometimes talking through options helps. A particular arrangement of a gift made during life or after the donor is home in heaven does more than the donor ever expected!
What is the great Giver leading you to do right now? Is the Lord moving you to respond to his generosity in your life with regular, thank-filled offerings? If you’re 70 1/2 or older, you might think about making tax-free IRA distributions to support the Lord’s work. Or maybe it’s time to review your estate plan to see if it reflects your heart’s desire to care for your family, your church family, and other causes close to your heart like a WLS scholarship or contribution to WLS operating funds. Such special offerings and planned gifts are wonderful blessings from the Lord for the seminary’s present and future service.
The WELS Christian giving counselors that serve your area and the seminary’s mission advancement office are ready to have a no-obligation, confidential conversation with you. I’m sure they have some stories to share about what the Lord is doing, and they would love to hear your story—a story that has at its heart the question, “How is the Lord leading your heart to respond to his heart?”
Pastor Kevin Hundley served the Ministry of Christian Giving from 2016-2020. He accepted a call to serve as pastor at St. John’s, rural Lake Mills, Wisconsin. This article first appeared the 2020 issue of Preach the Gospel.