Planned giving program bears fruit

Pictured above: Members of St. Peter participate in an Everyone Outreach evangelism workshop

More than 20 years ago, the members of St. Peter, Schofield, Wis., realized their congrega­tion would benefit from forming a planned giving committee. One of the goals of the com­mittee was to actively promote to members what a blessing planned giving could be in supporting the gospel work of the congregation.

Member Bob Stasney has been part of the con­gregation’s planned giving committee since its inception. He recalls that the new committee ben­efited from the support of a WELS Christian giving counselor, who supplied startup resources and advice. “[The resources] were key in guiding us to establish policies that are very important to refer to over the years,” remembers Stasney.

Since that time, St. Peter’s planned giving commit­tee has been encouraging members in their giving by providing regular communication in the bulletin or newsletter about gifting tools. The committee also assists members who have questions about making planned gifts, directing them to their local WELS Christian giving counselor as needed.

Through God’s blessing, this targeted, support­ive approach has resulted in members setting up gifts to benefit the church through a variety of methods, like gifts of appreciated stock or gifts through a will or estate plan. Last year the con­gregation received several large gifts, including $220,000 to create an endowment and another $400,000 to further God’s ministry in multiple areas. Another $20,000 gift went to tuition assistance (the church’s scholarship program has distributed over $130,000 to families since its inception). St. Peter’s planned giving committee also oversees the congregation’s endowment funds and invests with WELS Investment Funds.

Stasney encourages other congregations to consider setting up a planned giving commit­tee, utilizing the resources and planned giving program manual available through WELS: “The current manual seems quite comprehensive and is a must-go-to for anyone starting from scratch.”

Stasney gives all credit to God for his blessings on St. Peter. “The Holy Spirit has worked miracles at St. Peter over and over again, and our members have historically been cheerful givers,” he says. “To God be all the glory.”

Learn more about starting a congregational planned giving program at or contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor at 800-827-5482 or [email protected] for assistance.