The Pay Off of Planning Ahead

Source: Living Lutheran

After witnessing fires burn down large portions of their neighborhood in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Pastor Ingrid Rasmussen of Holy Trinity Lutheran in Minneapolis, Minnesota knew it was time to critically reexamine the role the church was playing in the community.

During the Black Lives Matter protest of 2020, the congregation served as a medical site for wounded demonstrators and respite location for protestors to obtain food and water. However, the protest caused the congregation to realize that it still needed to do more.

For years, the congregation had invested monies through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Fund Ministry Growth Fund to help them prepare for the proverbial “rainy day.”

Reflecting the changes the COVID-19 pandemic and national reckoning on race in America was bringing about, the congregation decided now was the time to act.

“I am absolutely confident that the interest in earnings allows us to be bold partners in this neighborhood and in this city,” Rasmussen said. “We can do things with and for our neighbors that we would not be able to do if we did not have this additional source of income.”

The Ministry Growth Fund is a growth-oriented investment fund comprised of equities that provide a quarterly distribution to its participants. Initially created in 1999, the Fund joins 1,200 investors (congregations, synods and ELCA-related organizations) together to leverage assets strategically invested in the market.

“It’s a great example of being church together,” said John Eggen, director of gift planning for the Foundation.

Collectively the congregations pooled resources give individual investors access to institutionally managed funds that they could not on their own.

As the pandemic continued into 2022, many congregations like Holy Trinity were grappling with the effects of lost revenue at a time when the congregation was actively seeking to become more engaged in ministry.

Remembering the congregation was a member of the Ministry Growth Fund, Pastor Rasmussen began to wonder how their investment portfolio might be able to assist them as the congregation was becoming more involved in the work of social justice and rebuilding the community that had been burned down in rioting.

The answer, she discovered, was using the church’s quarterly dividend which they had been reinvesting back into the fund. “It was a godsend,” Rasmussen said.

Many times we fail to plan ahead, she noted, but when you need resources you want them to be there. This time it ‘paid off.’

Source: Living Lutheran