LCEF is pleased to offer home purchase and refinance loans to ordained and commissioned LCMS Rostered Church Workers (RCWs) on active or emeritus status.
We are excited to share that Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has a Mobile App which includes a remote deposit feature.
As an LCEF investor, you must have MyAccount in order to download and use the app now!
The LCEF Mobile App:
We are excited to offer our customers this technology that enhances their experience with LCEF as we continue to serve Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ministries.
LCEF term notes are all about your choices. For an account that works for you, start by choosing the duration of your investment. Next, choose from several fixed- or floating-interest rate options.
At the end of the term, the funds remain yours to re-invest or redeem. Interest is compounded and paid quarterly (March, June, September and December).
LCEF offers educational resources including webinars and other materials such as Six Financial Moves to Make in Your 30s.
“I have a heart for Lutheran education and financial planning. With those two gifts God has given me, I’m able to educate and share financial information with our teachers and staff like the wonderful Church Worker StewardAccount. The interest rate is one of the best in the market and by investing with LCEF, we are able to support Lutheran churches and schools! Both of which have been a part of my life for 40 plus years. And now my daughter is receiving the blessing of Lutheran education too!”
Click here to download the application
Click here to download the application
Click here to download the application
Click here to download application
Greg joined LCEF’s Grace Place Wellness in Fall of 2022. He now oversees all aspects of Grace Place Wellness, which is a part of Ministry Solutions in LCEF. Having served for 13 years as the District President of the Florida-Georgia District, he has a commitment to assisting church workers in the LCMS excel in their callings for their whole careers. In his role, he works to integrate wellness into other areas of LCEF to identify, coordinate and share resources that positively impact the lives of LCMS professional church workers and ministries in the LCMS.
Walton spent most of his life on the East Coast, having grown up in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. He attended Concordia College, which was in Bronxville, N.Y., where he met his wife, Edith. He graduated with his Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1987 and served 22 years as a parish pastor in Toccoa, Ga., and Marietta, Ga., before being elected to the office of District President for the Florida-Georgia District. In his parish years, Greg was deeply involved in community ventures, served as a Circuit Visitor, and then a District Vice President.
An ardent supporter of church worker wellness and Grace Place Wellness, he sponsored a number of
retreats as District President in the Florida-Georgia District, assisting and encouraging workers in their personal wellbeing. Supporting and advocating for church workers and their families has been a longtime passion for Greg.
As his term-limited time as District President came to an end in August 2022, Walton joined LCEF and Grace Place Wellness to replace retiring director, Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman, who was instrumental in developing Wellness Retreats for couples, ministry staff and congregations. Greg has picked up the mantle, trying to fit into the large shoes vacated by Darrell and is exploring new areas of ministry for Grace Place Wellness as we look to the future.
Greg and Edith live in Woodstock, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, and are in close proximity to their two children and six grandchildren. He is excited to continue to serve the church in this role.
Dr. Eckrich founded Grace Place Wellness Ministries in 1999. He’s also the author of several books on wellness, ministry and Christian living.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, John attended Lutheran schools as a child, graduating from Lutheran High School South. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, Missouri. He finished his medical training at the University of Chicago as a fellow in gastroenterology and hepatology.
Dr. John served the St. Louis community for over 40 years as a practicing internist and gastroenterologist. He had the unique opportunity to care for hundreds of Lutheran church workers and their families, including seminary professors, students and many leaders at the LCMS International Center.
During his early career, John observed the effects of stress and challenges of ministry on personal and family life. He gathered other professionals to examine and develop health skills and strategies to proactively address the rising tide of church worker burnout and ill-health.
Their findings led John to found Grace Place Wellness Ministries, now having served over 10,000 church workers and families through Grace Place Wellness retreats.
His books include:
John lives in the St. Louis area with his wife, Kathy. They have three grown children and two grandchildren. Dr. John spends as much time with his grandkids as possible.
Darrell oversaw all aspects of Grace Place Wellness Ministries from the fall of 2012 until June 2023. His passion remains helping ministry workers across the entire spectrum of Christianity excel in their callings for their whole careers.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Darrell graduated with his Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1982. He served 30 years as a parish pastor in St. Louis, Missouri, and Saginaw, Michigan. He is a trained intentional interim minister in the LCMS.
He and his wife, Carol, attended the first Grace Place Wellness retreat in the fall of 2000, then began leading retreats in Grace Place Wellness’ earlier years. He also earned his Doctor of Ministry in 2006. He was instrumental in developing the Ministry Team Wellness Retreat. In December 2019, he became interim president and CEO and served until the acquisition by LCEF, when he took on the role of vice president of Ministry Solutions, director of Grace Place Wellness. After almost 11 wonderful years leading Grace Place Wellness, Darrell retired in June 2023.
Darrell and Carol live just a few short miles from their three children and four grandchildren in the St. Louis area. In retirement, he looks forward to spending time with them, woodworking and playing lots of golf. We are grateful for his contribution to Grace Place Wellness.
Coaching professional church workers in creating their sabbatical experience is one of the most rewarding things for Rev. Fangmeier. His coaching training was through Valwood Certified Coaches (2002-2008). George Bullard, Jane Creswell and Linda Miller, along with other coaches, conducted this training. In addition to coaching pastors in planning sabbaticals, Fangmeier also coaches church workers who are in transition or conflict situations.
Rev. Fangmeier’s journey in ministry is an interesting one. In college, he studied Advertising and Sales Management at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. During summers in college, Rev. Fangmeier sold Electrolux vacuum cleaners door to door, which was also an educational experience.
The influence of his campus pastor led him to consider seminary training, and he graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Ill., in 1971. Rev. Fangmeier’s first call was to begin a mission congregation in Fort Myers, Fla. He pastored there until 1979 and assisted in two building campaigns and self-support status for the congregation.
From 1979 to 1985, Fangmeier served as senior pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Delray Beach, Fla., and from 1986 to 1993, he was the senior pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church and School in Charlotte, N.C.
In 1993, Rev. Fangmeier joined the staff of the Southeastern District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as a Mission and Ministry Facilitator to work with congregations in North and South Carolina. He helped direct mission partnerships and served as a conflict consultant to the District President.
Since 2002, Fangmeier has continued ministry as a consultant to congregations and pastors. He participates in conflict intervention, peacemaking and coaching professional church workers in times of change and conflict. As a staff associate for Wheat Ridge Ministries (now We Raise Foundation), he manages its Sabbatical Resource Center.
Click here to email Rev. Tim Fangmeier
It is recommended that congregations consider the sabbatical time for their ministry leader as a time of health and hope for the congregation and its lay leaders. Thoughtful planning is important for achieving a positive experience for the ministry leader and the congregation.
WELLNESS EXPERTS AGREE THAT A MINISTRY SABBATICAL SHOULD INCLUDE AT LEAST THESE THREE ELEMENTS:
Congregation planning should be done by the same team that is assisting in the sabbatical planning for the church worker. Budgeting for increased expenses will be necessary. Setting aside a small portion over several years can reduce the financial impact during the sabbatical year. The congregation sabbatical focus could be connected to the focus of the pastor’s sabbatical, but it also could focus on special congregational needs or interests.
Ministry leaders and congregations can have significant fears related to the concept of a ministry sabbatical. Discussing and addressing these fears is critical to sabbatical success. Members may fear “What will become of us if our pastor is gone for three months?” Professional workers may fear another person filling their leadership role. The congregation sabbatical planning should address these fears.
These questions will help the ministry leader/church worker form a ministry sabbatical plan:
The following questions may be a helpful guide in developing a sabbatical plan and then communicating it to the congregation.
The issues below should be addressed and included in the preparation of a ministry sabbatical policy for your church:
Length: Typically, a three-month sabbatical every four to seven years is recommended.
Funding Options and Plan:
Ministry sabbaticals can bless both the church worker and congregation. They are designed to be a shared experience, and the membership expects that they, both as a congregation and as individual members, will receive specific, tangible benefits from the sabbatical.
START PLANNING EARLY
DOCUMENT THE MINISTRY SABBATICAL
HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THE MINISTRY SABBATICAL TIME
COMMUNICATE WITH THE CONGREGATION
Communicate in general terms why the sabbatical is necessary to build a consensus, then fill in the details about activities. Details may include:
We are learning that in some cases there can be tax implications connected to the money received to enable a ministry sabbatical. Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) does not give tax advice and finds that implications can vary by situation and even location. We advise that in the planning process for a sabbatical, the pastor and congregation consult with a trusted tax expert or CPA.
Neither LCEF nor its representatives give legal, accounting or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor as to the applicability of this information to your own situation.
It is best to consult a tax professional in the early stages of sabbatical planning and will be helpful if that expert helps prepare your taxes. It is also possible to have money set aside by the congregation to help cover any tax implications. Expert advice will help both pastor and congregation navigate tax questions.
If a large grant is received for the sabbatical, it is important to consider any tax implications.
Make sure the expectations for the ministry leader’s absence are made clear from the pulpit as well as in written correspondence.