“WELS is financially sound and the budget is balanced,” noted Mr. Todd Poppe, chief financial officer of WELS, after synod convention delegates passed the Synodical Council’s proposed ministry financial plan and unfunded priority list on July 31, 2019.
Rev. Jonathan Schroeder, chairman of the Synodical Council’s Ministry Committee, explains that the development of the ministry financial plan—or budget—is a collaborative process between the areas of ministry, synod leadership, and the Synodical Council.
“It’s that collaboration that has impressed me most during my 10 years serving on the Synodical Council,” says Schroeder. “These groups work together to develop a plan that balances resources with priorities and emerging opportunities. President Schroeder and his advisory committee bring a kingdom-wide perspective to the task.”
The Synodical Council divides the responsibility for the ministry financial plan between the Finance Committee and the Ministry Committee. The Finance Committee determines the financial support levels and the total size of the budget. The Ministry Committee then allocates the resources to the various areas of ministry.
“The hardest part comes when we have to determine which initiatives or projects won’t be included in the ministry financial plan,” says Schroeder. “For each synod convention we prepare a list of unfunded priorities to show the delegates the ministry programs we could accomplish if God blesses us with more resources.”
At its fall 2019 meeting, the Synodical Council voted to fund one of those items, a congregational counselor to serve on the Congregational Services team. The Commission on Congregational Counseling offers one-on-one counseling to WELS congregations. A lack of manpower meant that many congregations’ requests for assistance could not be fulfilled in a timely manner. The approval of a full-time congregational counselor will allow the Commission on Congregational Counseling to be more responsive to congregations’ requests and allow for more follow up if needed.
“Every year God’s people provide these amazing gifts through Congregation Mission Offerings and individual offerings,” notes Schroeder. “It is a high privilege to be involved in organizing how they are implemented to fulfill Christ’s mission to call the elect to faith through the gospel.”