MinistryFOCUS, a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) that provides student loan relief to LCMS workers, is accepting applications for 2024 grants. Since 2015, MinistryFOCUS has awarded grants to LCMS pastors, missionaries, schoolteachers and other rostered LCMS workers to help relieve the burden of educational debt and empower workers to focus on their ministry.
Applications for 2024 grants are now open and will be accepted until the end of the year. Rostered LCMS church workers with $20,000 or more in student loan debt are invited to apply online at ministryfocus.org/apply.
“MinistryFOCUS recognizes that individuals often assume educational loans in order to serve the Lord and that, for some, such loans often distract from or even undermine their very purpose,” states the organization’s website. “As such, MinistryFOCUS has established a loan repayment assistance program so that these servants of the Lord can focus more on ministry, and less on money.”
This year, MinistryFOCUS has awarded $131,000 in 52 grants across 23 states. Since its first year of operation in 2015, the organization has distributed 258 grants totaling $645,000. Increased support over the years has allowed for increasing aid.
“Thank you for your incredible generosity, devotion and support of the clergy of our beloved Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,” writes an anonymous grant recipient on the website. “It is a special thing to see and experience the hand of the Lord coming down and providing exactly what we need. … Thank you, God bless you, and may our Lord continue to work through your kind and generous organization to care for our church’s clergy and their families.”
Earlier this year, the Synod in convention adopted Resolution 12-03a, “To Address Commissioned Minister—Teacher Student Debt.” Included in the resolution is encouragement for LCMS “congregations and schools … to promote the various resources already available such as MinistryFOCUS and other debt retirement options to assist with student indebtedness.”
The resolution also includes a provision for an annual offering to be taken in support of commissioned minister—teacher debt reduction during National Lutheran Schools Week, with the offering being administered by MinistryFOCUS in consultation with LCMS Mission Advancement and LCMS Communications. A plan for carrying out that work is underway, and more information will be shared when it is available.
Learn more at ministryfocus.org.
Posted Dec. 11, 2023