WELS Church Extension Fund, Inc.

WELS Church Extension Fund, Inc., (WELS CEF) provides financing through loans and grants to mission congregations so they can acquire land and ministry facilities to be used for gospel outreach in coordination with WELS Home Missions. WELS CEF also provides loans to self-supporting WELS congregations and schools for land and facility projects. The money to carry out CEF’s mission comes from investments and gifts from WELS members, congregations, and affiliated organizations.

In fiscal year 2018–19, $45.1 million of new loans and $2.3 million of new grants were approved to mission and mission-minded self-supporting congregations. In addition, WELS CEF provided a grant of $1.86 million to the Board for Home Missions from its annual endowment distribution and operating earnings. WELS CEF ended fiscal year 2019 with assets of $204.3 million and net assets of $104.9 million. More than 3,200 WELS members invested $94.1 million. The loan portfolio held $161.6 million in 217 loans to congregations and affiliates.

Pictured above is Rev. Stephen Apt, pastor at Divine Savior Church, Santa Rita Ranch, with his wife and daughter at the groundbreaking of their church supported by WELS CEF.

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WELS Foundation

WELS Foundation exists to help God’s people support gospel ministry through WELS. WELS Foundation currently administers more than 1,100 donor directed planned gifts including endowment funds, donor advised funds, and gifts that provide income payments to the donor and/or their family members and loved ones. These planned gifts, generally established with the assistance of a WELS Christian giving counselor or other WELS advancement representative, benefit WELS congregations, schools, missions, and other affiliated ministries.

In 2019, WELS Foundation was privileged to distribute $5.92 million in donor directed gifts to various WELS ministries. This included $2.17 million to WELS Missions and Ministry Support, $1.36 million to WELS Ministerial Education schools, $1.03 million to WELS Church Extension Fund, $840,000 to WELS congregations, and $520,000 to WELS-affiliated ministries and area Lutheran high schools.

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WELS Investment Funds, Inc.

WELS Investment Funds is a self-supporting subsidiary of WELS. Its mission is to provide cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios exclusively for WELS-affiliated ministries. By pooling investment resources through WELS Investment Funds, congregations can take advantage of lower cost, institutional priced investment alternatives that would not otherwise be available. As more congregations and WELS-affiliated ministries invest in WELS Investment Funds, the cost reduction benefits increase. It’s another way we can help support each other.

As of Nov. 30, 2019, WELS Investment Funds manages more than $230 million in assets, which includes $54 million for 188 congregations and 20 affiliated ministries.

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WELS Benefit Plans Office

The WELS Benefit Plans Office (BPO) serves WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) workers and organizations through administration of the WELS Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) Health Plan, the WELS Pension Plan, and the WELS Shepherd Plan.

The WELS VEBA Health Plan provides benefits for church and school workers in accordance with God’s Word while remaining compliant with the federal health care reform law. The plan provides comprehensive, nationwide coverage. More than 80 percent of WELS workers and calling bodies participate in WELS VEBA.

The WELS Pension Plan provides WELS called workers with a valuable source of guaranteed income during retirement.

The WELS Shepherd Plan provides workers the opportunity to save and invest a portion of their earnings to provide income during their retirement years.

One important advantage of participating in WELS Benefit Plans is that the coverage and benefits provided are uniform throughout all 50 states. This supports the WELS ministry and call process because worker call decisions are not influenced by health insurance and retirement benefit decisions.

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Northwestern Publishing House

Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) provides Christ-centered, biblically sound resources to the people of WELS and beyond. NPH publishes Forward in Christ and Meditations, elementary and Sunday school curricula, Bible studies, worship materials, music, and faith-strengthening books for WELS members. In 2019, NPH released more than 25 Christian resources in print and digital formats, including:

  • the Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), a fresh and complete translation of the Bible;
  • the EHV version of Luther’s Catechism;
  • Purposeful Grieving, a book with 56 devotions that recognize the challenges of grief but also point readers to the comforting cross of Christ;
  • Christmas and Lent service kits for churches;
  • a vacation Bible school program; and
  • 14 music offerings for organ, piano, and/or choir.

In addition, NPH published two Bible studies—Pray, Praise, and Give Thanks, a psalm-focused study to help students discover and apply to their own lives the meanings of nine psalms; and Politics Is Driving Me Crazy, a timely study that explains the separation of church and state and reminds us to listen to God, who rules over all things—as well as two professional books—A Christian Guide to Mental Illness, Volume 2, an informative and encouraging resource for church workers who want to help Christians obtain help for mental illness; and A Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, a comprehensive resource that looks closely at the Greek text of these two letters of Paul.

NPH also continued work on production of the new hymnal and its related suite of resources.

NPH serves our WELS church body through its website,, by phone at 1-800-662-6022, and through its displays at conferences and events.

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