Fan into Flame, the capital campaign to raise $100 million for new Ablaze!-related ministries, has raised a total of $55,974,047 — representing some 21,500 gifts and pledges — as of March 26.
Of that total:
- $27,844,719 was received in cash donations.
- $2,524,655 has been raised so far this year.
The six-year campaign was endorsed by the 2004 LCMS convention to run through the Synod’s 2010 convention, July 10-17 in Houston.
So far, 32 of the Synod’s 35 districts have taken part in Fan into Flame. Seven of them still have ongoing campaigns, including the Michigan District, which has set a goal of $3 million.
The district incorporated Fan into Flame into its own districtwide campaign that was launched to raise funds for “intentional mission development” and providing scholarships for professional church-work students. Its Fan into Flame funds are earmarked for international ministries, and so far, more than $143,000 has been used to support missionaries and other projects.
In spite of statewide economic struggles, “district congregations have significantly impacted all three campaign initiatives through their faithful gifts and pledges [of $5.2 million], even as they are being challenged,” said Ray Zavada, the district’s vice president of development. “New gifts and pledges continue to arrive each week as congregations of the Michigan District make their participation decisions after months of prayer and discussion.”
The district’s congregations, Zavada added, “have a long history of being faithful and committed to our Great Commission responsibility, and our partnership campaign is another illustration of what God can accomplish through His people working together for the sake of the kingdom.”
Each LCMS congregation and district that contributes to Fan into Flame receives back a net 15 percent portion of the funds they collect to start new outreach ministries.
Campaign gifts are distributed quarterly to fund new outreach ministries:
- in local communities, by participating congregations.
- in U.S. regions, by participating districts.
- nationally, including church planting and “revitalization” of existing congregations.
- worldwide, through missionaries and partner churches.
The campaign, in fact, already has made it possible for LCMS World Mission to place 29 missionaries in seven U.S. cities and 15 countries, including Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Panama, and Uganda.
A Fan into Flame distribution of $500,000 is being used to complete construction of a Lutheran seminary in Accra, Ghana, West Africa, and another $900,000 from the campaign will help start an international Lutheran school in Southeast Asia.
Since its start, Fan into Flame has provided $7.3 million to participating districts and congregations for new and expanded Ablaze!-related ministries that include:
- starting new congregations.
- strengthening existing congregations.
- supporting ethnic ministries.
- beginning “mother’s day out” programs.
- expanding and starting child care programs.
- canvassing neighborhoods with church information.
- sending Lutherans to foreign mission fields.
Regardless of whether or not Fan into Flame meets its $100 million goal, these new outreach ministries would not have been possible without the campaign, notes Jeffrey A. Craig-Meyer, who oversees the fundraising as associate executive director of Development Services with LCMS World Mission.
“I just continue to be extremely excited about the work that has happened and will continue to happen because of this campaign,” Craig-Meyer told Reporter.
“It’s not only about raising money — it’s about preaching the Gospel,” and that’s something more than 1,100 LCMS congregations have done with their Fan into Flame disbursements, he said.
Quoting mission board Chairman Butch Almstedt, Craig-Meyer said the campaign is about “getting people out of the pew and onto the pavement, proclaiming Christ with a passion.”
Two Fan into Flame annual reports — for 2008 and 2009 — are available online at www.fanintoflamelcms.org (click on “Reports”). The 2010 report is expected to be available this fall.
Posted April 1, 2010