Ministry of Christian Giving Staff
WELS Ministry of Christian Giving works on behalf of the Conference of Presidents to remind every WELS member that Christ’s love is our calling to “excel in the grace of giving.” We carry out this mission through two broad but distinct efforts. First, we assist with the gathering of Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO).
We also work to encourage direct gifts to WELS, or individual mission offerings, above and beyond congregational offerings. We do this through mailed appeals, coordination of special offerings, and by assigning Christian giving counselors.
As I drove home from the 2005 synod convention, which discussed our church body’s financial challenges, I asked the Lord, “What can I do to inform your people about the exciting gospel ministry you carry out through WELS? How can I encourage your believers to support this ministry with their generous gifts?” Two months later, Jesus led me to accept his call into the Ministry of Christian Giving.
After 21 years of serving congregations in Memphis, Tenn., and Cannon Falls, Minn., I started serving as a current giving counselor in WELS’ Minnesota and Nebraska districts. In 2012 I accepted the call to be WELS’ director of Christian Giving and began serving in the position in 2013.
As a counselor, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet God’s gifted people, hear their faith stories, and nurture them in the gracious richness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a blessing to see the Spirit compel them to bring thank offerings to our Father who graciously gives all of us one blessing after another in Christ. Now as director I’m privileged to encourage Christian giving through our team of Christian giving counselors and support staff, and to assist our district presidents, circuit pastors, and Ministry of Christian Giving district chairmen as they help congregations grow their mission offerings. All to God’s glory and by his grace!
My wife, Susan Ann, and I live in Ixonia, Wis., and worship at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Watertown, Wis.
I attended one of our synod’s ministerial education high schools, Luther Preparatory School, and received my bachelor of arts in communicative arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College. I was blessed to do an internship with WELS that led to a part-time job at Northwestern Publishing House while in college, and then to my position as supervisor in the Ministry of Christian Giving office in 2004. In the Christian Giving office my primary role is producing communications aimed at encouraging Christian giving.
As we in WELS Christian Giving have worked to encourage others with Scripture, I’ve enjoyed my own spiritual growth—learning to trust in God for all things so that I can joyously use what he has given me to love others and share the good news of our Savior Jesus.
My wife, Stephanie, and I have four kids and live in Milwaukee, Wis. We attend St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa.
I graduated from Martin Luther Academy, Martin Luther College, and the University of Northern Iowa. For 11 years, I served as a WELS elementary teacher and principal in Iowa and Minnesota. For four years, I was a teacher and coach at Manitowoc Lutheran High School. In 1998 I became a WELS Christian giving counselor, first in the south Atlantic, then in southeastern Wisconsin.
In 2006, I became the WELS donor relations coordinator. As such, I manage a database that helps coordinate and support funding of WELS ministry. It is a pleasure to work with and a privilege to assist WELS Christian giving counselors, district leaders, ministerial education advancement staff, and others to promote informed, Spirit-led generosity among WELS congregations and members.
My wife, Jenny, and I have two children. We live in Germantown, Wis., and belong to Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls.
Karen Martinez is administrative assistant for WELS Ministry of Christian Giving. She processes donor acknowledgements, maintains synod databases, runs congregational reports, coordinates department meetings, manages the budget, and provides excellent customer service to WELS members and workers.