Joint Seminary Fund

LCMS Joint Seminary Fund

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Excellent seminaries are important to everyone who needs the Gospel. Well-formed pastors, deaconesses, ordained missionaries and theological leaders are vital to our life together as they faithfully and accurately teach the Gospel.

For our entire history as The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, well-formed and compassionate pastors have been important because the Gospel, faithfully delivered in Word and sacraments, is essential to each of us.

The LCMS supports two seminaries — Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis — with Sunday-morning worship offerings set aside by congregations for district and national/international work.

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  • The LCMS national office acknowledges the level of financial subsidy it provides is woefully insufficient to fully operate either seminary, let alone both.

    The LCMS Joint Seminary Fund was established to supplement the Synod subsidy by directly soliciting the church for charitable donations. Gifts to the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund are restricted exclusively to supporting both of our world-class seminaries.

    Our LCMS seminaries have only three sources of operating revenue:

    • Investment income from endowment
    • Tuition paid by students after financial aid is awarded (often in the form of student loans)
    • Financial gifts graciously supplied by God’s people

    The LCMS Joint Seminary Fund helps raise the last type, functioning as a line of defense against passing rising educational costs on to seminary students via higher tuition.

    Those who designate gifts and bequests for LCMS Joint Seminary Fund combine vital financial resources, walking together in a way that supplies between $2 million and $3 million each year in supplemental unrestricted funding to help educate our future pastors and other theologically-trained leaders.

    Those gifts cover expenses directly in a way that keeps them off each seminarian’s tuition bill.

    Unless otherwise specified by the donor, a gift to The LCMS Joint Seminary Fund is disbursed to both seminaries as unrestricted support. At the discretion of their boards of Regents, these vital funds can be used to cover necessary seminary expenditures, such as:

    • Teaching and research (faculty)
    • Curriculum and program development
    • Facilities maintenance, upgrades and construction
    • Student financial aid
    • Recruitment of students, faculty and support staff
    • Continuing education for our current pastors
    • Distance education programs
    • Wherever the need is greatest as determined by the seminaries

Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2022

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For more information, please contact:

Mark Hofman
Interim Director, LCMS Joint Seminary Fund
Executive Director, LCMS Mission Advancement

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122
888-930-4438 ext. 1315

* LCMS Joint Seminary Fund staff are members of the Mission Advancement unit of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The Fund itself is managed under the auspices of Pastoral Education, under the oversight of Synod’s Chief Mission Officer.

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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 toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. 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 and in recognition of a more challenging economic and philanthropic/fundraising environment due to inflationary pressure, not more than 13.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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