“Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday, Pentecost, May 20, 2018

From:    Pastor Kurt Nordby, Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship and Development

Over the rich history of the Northern Illinois Synod, starting new missions has been a focal point of synod wide ministry.  Our Northern Illinois Synod is known in the church as a missional synod and one that is continually reaching out with the gospel through new ministries.  This priority in ministry remains as we seek to be about God’s mission and the proclamation of the gospel.

Over the past number of years, synods have taken on a much larger role in funding new starts.  What was once, a churchwide role in staffing and funding, has now become a partnership with churchwide, synods, and mission partners in providing funding support for new mission starts.

Our Northern Illinois Synod has been blessed with our Synod Mission Fund which is totally separate from our ongoing synod program budget funded by Mission Support gifts.  The Northern Illinois Synod Mission Fund has been an essential ministry tool for starting and supporting new missions, redeveloping congregations in our synod, and funding outreach projects.  Iglesia San Jose Obrero in Moline, Freedom Lutheran in Oregon, Dwell in Yorkville, and a brand new ministry called Intersections in Genoa are examples of ministries that have received and will receive funding support from our Synod Mission Fund.  Resources have been used to provide partnership grants in support of these new ministries that they might thrive and grow in their proclamation of the gospel.  This fund also partners with the ELCA in grants to congregations under redevelopment or renewal.  Our Synod Mission Fund has also on occasion, provided a grant for specific outreach efforts in our congregations.

Today, our Synod Mission Fund is in need of replenishment if we are to continue being a bold witness of Christ’s love through the new ministries in our synod.  We have about a year and a half of life remaining in the fund with commitments to new ministries of 3 years and beyond.   Consequently, our Northern Illinois Synod is embarking on a ministry initiative that will culminate with a synod wide Generosity Sunday on Pentecost, May 20, 2018.

Northern Illinois Synod “Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday, Pentecost, May 20, 2018

We are asking that each congregation of our Northern Illinois Synod prayerfully consider participation in our “Gifts for Mission”Generosity Sunday on May 20, 2018.  Our Generosity Sunday will be a one-time ingathering of gifts for our Synod Mission Fund.  The undesignated gifts received for our “Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday will also be tithed for the Northern Illinois Synod Nursing School project in Tanzania.

In a few short weeks, “Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday materials will be made available to your congregation by mail and via the Northern Illinois Synod website.  This packet of materials will provide a guide and resources for getting the story of “Gifts for Mission” out to your congregation that they may prayerfully consider a gift to this important ministry of our synod.  The “Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday packet will include a planning guide along with letters, newsletter articles, bulletin inserts, temple talk, and an order form for “Gifts for Mission” offering envelopes.  You will also be able to access the materials on our synod website at nisynod.org/gifts-for-mission. Please be watching for these materials and know that you can contact me with any questions.

Please know that on “Gifts for Mission” Generosity Sunday, we are receiving one-time gifts from those who wish to share a gift.  Our Generosity Sunday is simply an invitation to members of your congregation to prayerfully consider sharing a gift for this important ministry of proclaiming the gospel.  All gifts, both large and small will be needed and celebrated as we give thanks for the generosity of congregations and members of our Northern Illinois Synod.