What is Mission Support? Mission Support is the portion of a congregation’s regular financial offering that is shared with their synod and with the churchwide organization. These gifts are used where the need is greatest, and also make it possible for the ELCA’s 65 synods and the churchwide organization to maintain ongoing commitments to ministry partners. Mission is carried out in our neighborhoods, across communities, and across the globe. Support is the portion of members’ offerings that makes all synodical and churchwide ministries possible, here at home and abroad.
The undesignated Mission Support of congregations is part of a commitment to share God’s love and generosity by blessing others, extending the impact of each congregation around the country and the world.
Thank you to our congregations and their members for giving back to God, and to congregational church leadership for participating in God’s work both in their communities and around the world by their financial support of the synod. The Southwest California Synod sends half of the mission support it receives to ELCA Churchwide, and distributes a significant percentage of the remainder back to congregations in the form of grants, as well as educational and administrative support. Mission Support dollars are very real, present, and working on every level of church structure: congregations, synodical, and churchwide.
What does it mean, to change lives through unrestricted offering on “every level of church structure?”
On a congregational level, it means that New City Parish of Los Angeles, Inglewood and Compton could fund a free Summer Day Camp for over 60 neighborhood kids, connecting new families with the congregation year-round. It means that Glory Lutheran, a Mandarin-language faith organization lead by Pastor Newman Qiu and hosted by First, Torrance can serve Chinese students in the community. It means support for Iglesia Luterana Santa Cruz, a tri-lingual community in Santa Maria.
On a synodical level, it means the existence of staff and infrastructure that support congregations in carrying out God’s Work. It means workshops about church constitutions, administration, finances, and human resources. It means gathering together at the synod assembly, and educational opportunities such as the 2016 – 2017 Reformation Roadtrip.
On a churchwide level, it means support for congregations, missionaries, seminaries, colleges and universities, campus ministries, early childhood centers, elementary schools, outdoor ministries, and world hunger projects. It means supporting an outdoor worshiping community in Texas, sharing breakfast and the Word with day laborers in a Home Depot parking lot, and helping Missionary-Communicators in Jerusalem.
As members of the ELCA, our faith in a loving God frees us to be generous and to participate boldly in God’s work in the world. Stewardship not only about paying the church’s bills, but about how congregations can “be the church together” – what Bishop Eaton calls a “manifestation of the unity we have through baptism into the body of Christ.” To be generous in response to God’s generosity towards us is one way we live out God’s call to love our neighbor, in ways that no individual, congregation or synod can do alone.
Mission Support Congregational Resources
“Where does my offering go?” (downloadable flyer)