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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Thrivent opens door to Christians, not just Lutherans

One year after 72 percent of members who voted approved letting Thrivent Financial for Lutherans open its membership to other Christians, the fraternal benefit organization has redesigned its logo and changed its marketing materials to reflect the broader appeal.

The vote — the result of 425,000 of its 2 million members casting ballots over a 60-day period in early 2013 — opened the way for Thrivent to sell its products to all Christians for the first time in its 112-year history.

Previously, Thrivent’s 2,300 financial representatives could only sell insurance products — such as life, disability, long-term care and annuities — to members of the ELCA,Lutheran Church–Missouri SynodWisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and other Lutheran denominational branches.

Eligible members may direct where Thrivent gives a portion of its charitable funding to other nonprofits, mostly schools and congregations. 

In 2013, Thrivent and its members contributed $182.7 million in direct support to charitable organizations, schools, congregations and communities nationwide. This was an increase of 10.5 percent from 2012.

Thrivent had $90.4 billion in assets under management in 2013, up 9.9 percent from 2012, and $8.5 billion in total revenue, a 2.4 percent increase in the same time period.

Thrivent is hiring more financial representatives to handle a greater workload, but it’s too soon to say how many may be needed, said Teresa Rasmussen, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for the Minneapolis-based organization.

Indeed, Thrivent Financial’s leader, president and CEO Brad Hewitt, has said in published interviews that the process will go slowly and won’t be widely advertised. 

Rasmussen said no goal has been set for reaching a certain level of growth within a particular time frame.

Though Thrivent has shortened its name in marketing materials to “Thrivent Financial” and introduced a new logo and tagline (see back cover), it’s too soon to know how many new applications for membership are showing up, Rasmussen said.

The organization will maintain “Thrivent Financial for Lutherans” as its official, legal name.

The new membership application offers one of three boxes for people to check: “I am Christian”; “I am the spouse of a Christian”; or “I am a child under the age of 16 being raised Christian.”

Thrivent has no plans to actively check an application’s veracity. “We don’t think people are going to lie about that,” Rasmussen said.

“Our mission is to help our members be wise with money and, therefore, to strengthen our Christian communities, so our new tagline, ‘Connecting faith & finances for good,’ reflects that,” she added.

The organization’s old tagline was “Let’s Thrive.”


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