The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Board of Directors serves the church as the legal representative of the Synod and the custodian of all of the property of the Synod.

Board of Directors

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Board of Directors (BOD) is the legal representative of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. It is the custodian of all the property of the Synod — directly or by its delegation of such authority to an agency of the Synod.

The BOD exercises supervision over all the property and business affairs of the Synod, except in those areas where it has delegated such authority to an agency of the Synod or where the voting members of the Synod, through the adoption of bylaws or by other convention action, have assigned specific areas of responsibility to separate corporate or trust entities.

In such circumstances, the BOD retains general oversight responsibility as defined in Synod Bylaws.


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May 2018 Board of Directors Meeting (In Brief)

The Board of Directors met May 18–19, 2018, in St. Louis. Highlights of the meeting included reports from LCMS Mission Advancement, the LCMS Foundation, and Concordia Plan Services. The board appointed at-large members to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund and trustees/directors for Concordia Plans / Plan Services and filled two vacant seats on the Board for International Mission. The board also approved formation of new corporate entities for Concordia International School—Shanghai and for LCMS International Mission in Papua New Guinea, as well as property transactions by Concordia Universities of Chicago and Nebraska.

The board’s chief work was the review of Synod’s financials and the consideration and adoption of corporate Synod’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget (for the year July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019). Chief Financial Officer Jerry Wulf presented April 30 financials indicating significant improvements in corporate Synod’s liquidity relative to the start of the fiscal year, as well as a decrease in Synod’s “unrestricted, undesignated net asset deficit” from $13.6 million(M), on June 30, 2017, to $11.4M on April 30, 2018. Collectively, all units are underspending the FY18 budget by $11.1M, with revenue running $10.6M behind projections.

Wulf noted that the FY18 budget (and prior budgets, even more so) included many projects which would be commenced only if designated funds arrived to cover costs. These (generally international) projects constitute the bulk (but not all) of the typically reported annual “underspending” and “revenue shortfall.” Efforts have been taken, and continue, to remove these items from the expense budget to allow for more realistic planning — with the understanding that the budget can be amended later, should funds for these special projects materialize.

Wulf noted the $69M FY2019 budget reduces expenditure relative to FY18 by approximately $8M, while aligning programs with Synod’s triennial mission goals and emphases and maintaining the core work for which congregations have formed the Synod. Corporate Synod’s domestic workforce is reduced by 14 positions, for an FY19 savings of $1.4M. More undesignated funds are allotted for administrative support of International Mission — an area that has typically fallen short of designated donations in previous budgets. This reflects in the FY2019 budget the fact that corporate Synod does typically spend significant undesignated funds supporting international mission and will make the budget target easier to hit. Overall, the budget is designed to contribute to a sustainable reduction in corporate Synod’s undesignated, unrestricted net asset deficit, increasing Synod’s financial flexibility and ability to respond to needs as they emerge.

On the support side, it was noted that unrestricted, undesignated receipts from the congregations of the Synod, through the districts, continue a slow but steady decline. What once provided the bulk of Synod’s operating budget now accounts for only $13.8M of a $69.9M expected support budget, $48.0M of which is restricted by donors for specific purposes. Of the total $21.9M in unrestricted revenue (including the $13.8M from districts), 15% immediately goes to unavoidable expenditures like servicing Concordia University System debt.

The board adopted the presented expense and capital budgets for FY2019, as well as the budget for the July 2019 national convention of the Synod in Tampa, Florida, presented by Chief Administrative Officer and Convention Manager Frank Simek. Noted with great interest were significant projects already underway to take stock of Synod’s accounting and financial reporting procedures, both in light of changing non-profit accounting standards and to provide clearer and more useful insight into Synod’s financials, both for corporate Synod and the board, and for Synod at large.

The board next meets August 24–25, in St. Louis.

—John W. Sias, Secretary

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Meeting Minutes

Minutes of previous meetings are available upon request by contacting the LCMS Chief Administrative Office.

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News & Updates

LCMS Board of Directors – Reporter
BOD adopts conservative budget for fiscal year 2019
Friday, June 08, 2018 9:47:38 AM

Board of Directors examines financial uptrends, opportunities, more
Monday, March 12, 2018 11:52:21 AM

BOD weighs monetary, membership challenges
Tuesday, December 19, 2017 9:28:00 AM

BOD votes to increase disaster-fund impact
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:12:43 AM

This feed has 4 articles on 1 page

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The Handbook of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod includes the Constitution, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation of the organization.

2016 Handbook

The 2016 Handbook of the Synod has been published electronically as of Feb. 1, 2017, as the “February 2017” edition. It includes a completely redesigned index, is available in Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word versions, and is accompanied by a “red-lined” edition, indicating the changes made since the 2013 Handbook.

The print edition of the 2016 Handbook has been delayed so that it can accommodate certain changes required to be made by the convention in a process that is yet ongoing (see the Preface). In addition, the Commission on Handbook periodically incorporates minor corrections and other non-substantive changes as part of its responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and management of the Handbook.

Please report suggestions for correction or improvement, particularly regarding the new index, to the Office of the Secretary.

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Policy Manual

Desired Outcome Policy of the Board of Directors

The Board serves to provide leadership in achieving the objectives of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as stated in Article III of its Constitution and Bylaws so that Christ’s name may be glorified among all people throughout the world by serving each other in Christ’s name, reaching our communities with Christ’s love and claiming the world for Christ’s kingdom.

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Budgets & Audits

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Board Members

The criteria for membership on the Board of Directors is outlined in the LCMS Handbook (Bylaw

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Legal Resources

As our churches and schools come under increased scrutiny, the LCMS is dedicated to helping pastors, church workers, church administrators, lay leaders and others learn how to better protect their church or school from potential legal challenges.

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Amicus Briefs

From time to time The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod joins amicus briefs for Supreme Court cases in which the outcome is likely to affect the church. Browse a listing of briefs to which the LCMS has joined. In most cases, the text of the entire brief is available.

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Lutherans Engage the World

Lutheran Engage the WorldEngaging the Church in the work of witness and mercy across the globe in our life together.

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The Lutheran Witness

The Lutheran WitnessInterpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective

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Concordia Publishing House

Concordia Publishing House

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution differently. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.  Consistent with Synod Board policy, no more than 12 percent of a charitable contribution may be applied to administering gifts and communicating with contributors.  Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

Our Tax Identification Number is: 43-0658188

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