The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Crisis or opportunity?

Since the 1960s, mission support has declined across denominations, including the ELCA

The current funding peril of denominations is well-documented:

• The United Methodist Church reduced 51 missionary assignments in 2003 as part of a $7.5 million cutback.
• The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cut its 2003 budget by $4 million, resulting in 66 layoffs. More budget cuts are expected in 2004.
• The Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod cut spending for July 2003 to June 2004 by $11 million. In 2002 and 2003 the church reduced staff by at least 20 national ministries personnel and 30 missionaries.
• The Southern Baptist Convention has seen a drop in member giving over the last 30 years, as well as shrinking support for its Cooperative Program from which it receives central denominational funding.
• Mission support for ELCA churchwide programs is down $1.8 million from last year.

The dual perils of decreasing members and money have hit church bodies and parachurch groups like Promise Keepers hard, and many face tough decisions about the future.

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February issue


Embracing diversity