By Megan Mertz
ST. LOUIS (July 21, 2013) — In a message to those gathered for the 65th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, brought greetings, thanksgiving and encouragement to delegates and convention guests.
“Through our members, we actually provided $50 million dollars in the last two years to churches and schools in the LCMS,” Hewitt said, as he thanked the delegates for their stewardship.
Hewitt shared that Thrivent is the largest not-for-profit parachurch organization in the world today. He spoke about the organization’s history, describing how Martin Luther laid the foundations for today’s fraternal benefit societies by discouraging usury, encouraging good planning and endorsing helping others in need. He also discussed how organizations like Thrivent and Lutheran Church Extension Fund arose more than 100 years ago as immigrants struggled to start businesses and farms.
“Now the loansharks are called payday lenders, we have a lottery system run by the government, and we have a lot of common people struggling with money and how money and faith go together. And it’s in that environment that Thrivent is actually working. We believe our mission is to strengthen Christian communities with these biblical principles about how faith and finances go together,” Hewitt said.
“And we want to grow. In Luther’s words, we believe strongly that this is done to the honor of God, for the love of our fellow Christians and hence for the common good,” he continued. “As we look forward to serving Lutherans and … other Christians … we look forward to taking that encouragement that Luther started so long ago and bringing it to America.”
Following the presentation, the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the LCMS, thanked Hewitt for Thrivent’s support of LCMS congregations, institutions and schools and for continuing to teach stewardship.
The LCMS convention is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are 1,191 clergy and lay voting delegates.