Mission Support Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Mission Support? I’ve heard this term used, but I’m not sure what it means.
Mission Support is the portion of your weekly financial offering that your congregation shares with your synod and the churchwide organization, the other two expressions of this church.
As members of the ELCA, we do mission together through our financial giving. We do God’s work in ways that no individual, congregation or synod can do alone.
Q. Is Mission Support different from my weekly offering?
Mission Support is a small percentage of your weekly offering. It's best described as that part of your gift that is shared with the other two expressions of this church—your synod and the churchwide organization—to fund the work of the broader church. Many synods set a goal of 10 percent or greater from each of their congregations.
The rest of your offering (about 90 percent) remains within your congregation. You help pay for local ministries, outreach, salaries, utilities and the building, ensuring your congregation’s vital presence in your community.
Q. Does Mission Support do more than fund the work of ELCA missionaries in other countries?
A. Yes. Mission Support is the lifeblood of the work that God does through the ELCA, providing almost 80 percent of budgeted support for our ministries.
"Mission" is a broad term used to describe all the ministries of this church, not just those involving ELCA missionaries who work with our Lutheran partners around the world.
"Support" is the portion of members' offerings that makes all ELCA ministries possible, here at home and abroad.
Planting 60 new congregations in 2011 is just one example of the many ways Mission Support enables us to do God’s work with our hands.
Q. How does my congregation benefit from Mission Support?
A. Every congregation benefits as an active partner in the ELCA’s mission to share God’s boundless love with the world. Stories of Faith in Action is filled with powerful examples of how lives have been changed because of the generosity of members like you.
More than half of Mission Support funds the work of synods. Some of the portion of Mission Support shared with churchwide ministries may return to your congregation and synod in the form of services, programs, resources or grants.
Q. Sometimes I write a check to ELCA World Hunger or to Disaster Response. Is that the same as Mission Support?
A. Mission Support is, by its very nature, an undesignated gift to ELCA ministries beyond your congregation. These gifts are used where the need is greatest; they also make it possible for ELCA synods and churchwide ministries to keep ongoing commitments to our ministry partners.
Your designated support of ministries such as ELCA Missionary Sponsorship, ELCA World Hunger and the ELCA Malaria Campaign is essential, because these ministries are critical priorities of this church. Such gifts complement your commitment to a regular offering in your congregation.
Q. What guides the churchwide organization in its decisions regarding mission support?
A. The churchwide organization looks to the Churchwide Assembly, its highest legislative authority, for direction and guidance. The ELCA Church Council functions as the interim legislative authority between biennial meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.
The ELCA churchwide organization also has two strategic priorities, which help shape its decisions and activities, especially budget planning:
- Accompany congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission; and
- Build the capacity of this church for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace.