Mission Support
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Page Contents
Mission Support Request Letter for 2024
(download available in pdf)

Mission Support Commitment Form for 2024
(download available in pdf and MS-Word)

Mission Support Request for 2024

Synod Council, at its 19 August meeting, after debate and a failed amendment, adopted the following,

That the congregations not yet remitting as mission support 10.75% of their total unrestricted congregational giving (offering) be asked to increase their mission support 10.75%, while asking congregations that are at or exceeding this level to not decrease the greater of their proportional share or nominal contribution.

"Unrestricted congregational giving (offering)" is giving by congregants and other attendees that is not otherwise restricted by the donor. It does not include special offerings and gifts, bequests, designated giving, etc. The 10.75% rate for 2024 is an increase from the 10% rate for 2023. It is, however, well below the 13% rate for both 2016 and 2017 and the 15% rate of the 2000s.

The Mission Support Request Letter for 2024 is downloadable in pdf. It includes the pledge form.

For a discussion of the recent mission support rate history, scroll down.

Making your Remittance

The mission support remittance/contribution form has been updated. When remitting mission support, please include a completed copy of this updated and downloadable Mission Support Contribution Form for Calendar Year 2023 (PDF | MS-Word) with each remittance.

Making Your Commitment

The mission support commitment (pledge) form for 2024 (pdf | MS-Word) and the formal mission support request letter (pdf) are available for download. Please also download the mission support request letter as it contains important information on the proportional share figure.

History of Mission Support in WV-WMD

For 2023

Synod Council, at its 6 August 2022 meeting, adopted the mission support request for 2023 as follows:

Council approved the amended motion that the Synod Council ask congregations that are not yet giving 10% of their total unrestricted congregational giving to the Synod to increase their giving to this level, while asking congregations that are at or exceeding this level to not decrease the greater of their proportional share or nominal contribution.

For 2022

For 2022, mission support was set at 9.39%, the same level as was set for 2021.

For 2021

When mission support was set at 9.39% for 2021, it represented a decrease from 10.83% level set for 2020. The Synod Finance Committee, in its report to Synod Council at that time, explained its rationale for the decrease:
This is the number, and the wording, the Finance Committee agreed to after reviewing different methods of projecting future total congregational giving. This is a decrease from our request last year, but not because total congregational giving is going up, but because our spending is projected to go down.

For 2020

Mission support was set at 10.83%.

For 2019

Mission support was set at 11.5%.

For 2018

Mission support was set at 11.05%.

For 2017

Mission support was set at 13%.

For 2016

For 2016, the following was asked in mission support:

If congregational mission support is currently at 13% of unrestricted giving line 20.a of your parochial report, please increase your mission support by 2.5% of your projected total mission support for calendar year 2016.

If your mission support is currently less than 13% of unrestricted giving, please increase your mission support by .5% of total projected unrestricted giving for 2016. Furthermore, congregations remitting at less than 13% of total unrestricted giving are asked, if at all possible, to work toward the 13% target.

Going back a long way

When the synod first formed (1987/8), Bishop Black was asked by congregations what they should remit in mission support. At the time, he said that congregations should remit what they had remitted to their LCA synod or ALC district before the merger. For more than the first decade of the synod's life, each year congregations were asked to increase what they had given in nominal dollars by 1% with a challenge of 2%. Basing mission support on nominal dollars with increases as instructed did not keep pace with inflation. Furthermore, the ALC and the LCA had very different ways of doing mission support. In the LCA, a unified model similar to the ELCA was used. To explain, giving was remitted by the congregation to the synod; from those receipts, funds were remitted to the national church. In the ALC separate checks were cut by the congregation, one to the district, another to the national church. Beyond this, the ALC tended to fund its institutional ministries (seminaries, colleges, campus ministries, etc.) through appeals and special collections. The LCA largely funded these ministries from mission support receipts. By not taking into account the differences between the two predecessor bodies, a significant difference in remittances emerged immediately. By the late '90s, the mean giving was around 8% of unrestricted giving to congregations, but there were two very clear clusters and a significant standard deviation.

At the end of the '90s, the synod transitioned to a proportional share basis, the basis upon which ELCA mission support is supposed to function by design. Instead of a nominal dollar value being remitted, congregations were asked to remit a percentage of revenue from unrestricted regular giving. The percentage was set at 15% advancing on 25%, the same precentages required by ELCA policy at the time for mission congregations to come off of mission support and be recognized as standard congregations. As expected, very few were at 15%, some few were above, but many were within striking distance. A significant number were well below, having mission support levels well below the synod mean. Those that felt they could not increase to 15% immediately were asked to incrementally work toward that number over the years.

By the time of the Great Recession, mean mission support had exceeded 13%. In response to the Great Recession, the synod abandoned the 15% target and the encouraged advancement to 25%. Mission support levels were reduced and fluctuated in the years following the Great Recession.

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West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, â„… St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Stee, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +  Porter@WV-WMD.org