We are excited to officially announce the recipients of the 2022 Take Heart Scholarships!
This year, high school seniors were invited to apply for one of three scholarships. They were asked to submit an essay based on the following: Think of the relationships that will be created as you enter this new chapter. How do you plan to show your love for your neighbor through each of these specifically? Think about the following: professors, classmates, roommate, etc.
Meet our three winners!
Nora graduated from Tuckahoe High School in Tuckahoe, N.Y. She plans to study product design at Drexel University. Read Nora’s essay.
Ella graduated from Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. She plans to study food science at Purdue University. Read Ella’s essay.
Laura was homeschooled in Claremore, Okla. She intends to study chemistry/nutrition at Rogers State University. Read Laura’s essay.
LCEF would like to thank this year’s applicants for taking the time to apply for the Take Heart Scholarships. We wish all of the applicants success in their future endeavors.
Click here to download the application
Savings that grow with your child, while remaining accessible. Minimum $25 to open. Optional checks and debit cards available. Includes Y.I. Club membership. Limit one account per minor. Not available in South Carolina. Additional information available here.
Floating Rate Term Notes
This note’s rate may be adjusted monthly and investments of $25 or more are accepted throughout the term. Available as a 30-month or 60-month term. Minimum $100 to open. Additional information available here.
Fixed Rate Term Notes
This note maintains a consistent interest rate throughout the term. Terms range from one to five years. Minimum $500 to open. Additional information available here.
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Investors with new funds to deposit with LCEF can earn a premium rate on balances up to $25,000 during the initial term (two or four years). Investments of $25 or more are accepted throughout the term. Minimum $500 to open (transfers from an LCEF account are not permitted). Limit one PartnerPLUS per investor. Additional information available here.
This investment has no maturity date and allows you to add funds at any time. Redemptions will not incur a penalty and can be made by contacting LCEF. Minimum $25 to open. Not available in South Carolina. Additional information available here.
This investment has no maturity date and allows you to add funds at any time. Redemptions will not incur a penalty and can be made by contacting LCEF. Minimum $100 to open. Not available in South Carolina. Additional information available here.
This note maintains a consistent interest rate throughout the term. Terms range from six months to five years. Minimum $500 to open. Additional information available here.
Prepare for those unexpected expenses that can occur in life. Build your balance over time and access the funds when needed by check ($250 minimum). Monthly electronic investment of $25 or more required until account reaches and maintains balance of $10,000 or more. Minimum $25 to open. Not available in South Carolina. In Ohio, investment is known as Family StewardAccount. Additional information available here.
New investors to LCEF can earn a premium rate on the first $5,000 during the two-year term. Investments of $25 or more are accepted throughout the term. Minimum $500 to open. Limit one ConnectPLUS per new investor. Not available in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Additional information available here.
Your StewardAccount goes where you go. You can write checks ($250 minimum), use a debit card (optional) and conduct online transactions through MyAccount. Minimum $100 to open. Not available in South Carolina. Additional information available here.
Mark serves as Vice President, Ministry Support, of Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). Helping Christians discover their passion and purpose is a great joy for Mark.
Mark’s experience in ministry includes being on staff with Lutheran Hour Ministries; serving as Mission and Stewardship Executive for the Kansas District; and Senior Pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Olathe, Kansas and Christ the King Lutheran Church, Largo, Florida. Mark has served on the Board of Directors for Storying Discipleship Ministries and Transforming Campus Ministries, a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). One of Mark’s great joys has been to coach pastors in their ministries, especially with Transforming Churches Network, another RSO of the LCMS. He holds degrees from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.
Mark and his wife, Leigh, reside in High Ridge, Missouri. They are blessed to be the parents of their adult children, Aaron and Hannah. With a heart for those who don’t yet know Jesus, Mark and Leigh serve their neighbors through missional community activity and Bible Storying.
In 2014, Phill began serving as a consultant for Capital Funding Services (CFS), a ministry of Lutheran Church Extension Fund. In this capacity he assists congregations in seeking to achieve the vision God has for them.
Phill’s professional work in the Church has led him to serve four congregations of the LCMS over a period of 40 years. He is currently retired from serving a parish and recently retired from his position as Executive Assistant of Stewardship and as Chaplain for professional workers of the Iowa District West. For a period of time he worked in conjunction with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya in funding the construction of the largest theological library in the continent of Africa. During his time in the ministry, he assisted numerous congregations in working through capital campaigns. Since joining CFS he has had the privilege of helping several others.
He currently resides in New Ulm, Minnesota, where he and his wife, Monica, have located near one of their seven married children. They are blessed with numerous grandchildren whom they enjoy seeing as often as possible.
Keith serves as Vice President, Ministry Support, of Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF).
Keith’s foundation was formed by a credo of “faith, family, and farm (vocation)” that serves as the catalyst for his desire to come alongside ministries in order to encourage, enable, and challenge the people of God to experience the “immeasurably more” that God would work through them and in their own spiritual journey under the cross.
His experience with LCEF has been connected to planting a daughter congregation, establishing Open Arms Daycare, expanding campuses, and beginning a multiple-site ministry.
Keith’s ministry experience covers 38 years, including parishes in Iowa and Kansas, ranging from a rural parish to large church with multiple campuses. Keith served as the Kansas District President for 12 years, with service on numerous local, district, synod boards as well as on the Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He currently serves as a board member of the Center for Unites States Missions in Irvine, California. He holds degrees from St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas; Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He resides in Topeka, Kansas, with Marlene, his wife of 43 years. They celebrate a family of three married
children and six grandchildren.
John serves as Vice President, Ministry Support. In this role, he guides congregations seeking to achieve the vision God has for them.
John’s heritage was shaped by generations of family who served as Lutheran pastors, educators and musicians. In each of his calls to four congregations—ranging from a new, contemporary mission congregation to a mid-sized traditional church to two mega-churches—his passion for stewardship has been formed and expressed by our precious Lutheran emphasis on grace, and that our generosity is to be empowered and inspired by the Gospel of our Savior.
His creativity is expressed in his love for writing, designing and implementing worship and special events, during which people are inspired to respond generously to the future God has for a congregation or institution. During his 25 years in the ministry, he has worked with over three dozen congregations around the country, causing heritage to converge with creativity in their capital campaigns, vision seminars and worship workshops.
John is a graduate of Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario, and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard, Illinois, having studied Christian worship under the late Dr. Robert Webber.
John resides in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Linda.
As a Vice President, Ministry Support, Karl provides exceptional leadership and spiritual consultations to pastors, staff, and leadership in their stewardship and strategic journey. Karl particularly celebrates the spiritual growth and spirit of unity that occurs through passionate stewardship designed to lean into the Lord’s promises of “immeasurably more” through the grace of God!
Additionally, in 2010, Karl began serving the Lord through Pastor Coaching Ministry. In this role, he comes alongside pastors and leaders with spiritual, stewardship or leadership growth mentoring. He also coaches strategic planning by helping pastors and key leaders develop a process to reveal God’s future plans.
Karl’s ministry experience spans over 34 years, from the smallest of dual parishes to one of the largest in the LCMS. He has served on Ministerial Health Commissions in Texas and Minnesota and is author of the book “The Love Paradox,” illustrating the impact personal and spiritual health and wellbeing has on those we’re called to serve. He holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Florida, Gainesville; a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Texas A&M, Commerce; and a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership from Luther Seminary, St. Paul.
He currently resides in Naples, Florida, with Marilouise, with whom he has been married since 1976. Together they have three married children and ten grandchildren.
Tom Ahlersmeyer’s passion is helping LCMS congregations and educational agencies realize and reach their God-given potential. Tom feels Capital Funding Services (CFS) offers support and planning that connects ministries with the necessary resources to change people’s lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tom’s congregational ministry has been on both coasts and in middle America. He has served as executive director of the Cleveland Lutheran High School Association and president of Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan. These experiences, both involving fund raising, position him to understand cultural and fund development opportunities and the challenges facing various ministries.
Tom presently serves as senior pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon his arrival in 2010, he successfully led a $2 million debt reduction and capital improvement campaign. This effort launched a growth in financial stewardship resulting in five successive years of finishing “in the black.”
Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in interpersonal and public communication from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
Tom and his wife, Janet, are blessed with six children and four grandchildren.
Preston is energized and excited about partnering with congregations through Capital Funding Services (CFS). His broad experience as a pastor, district executive, mission developer and senior pastor provide a unique perspective for congregations and schools.
Preston’s ministry experience includes merging congregations, serving as a worker-priest, leading church and school staff in team ministry, consulting with congregations and schools in all areas of congregational life, conducting stewardship and mission and ministry planning workshops, establishing new congregations and school ministries. In his most recent ministry—a mission congregation established in 1996 that had grown to more than 1,800 baptized members—Preston was involved in three capital campaigns that raised more than $3 million. The congregation received the LCEF Antioch Reflection Award for the “Forward in Faith” campaign, led by a CFS consultant.
Preston looks forward to sharing the blessings of Immeasurably More as congregations look to LCEF and CFS for ministry support. Preston’s stewardship focus was influenced in early ministry by the Synod’s “His love…Our response” theme, with its emphasis on the grace of God as the encouragement and motivation for giving.
Preston earned a bachelor’s in education from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. He has served parishes in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, and on the staff of the LCMS Southeastern District as Congregational Services Executive, Mission and Ministry Executive and as a Mission Developer.
Preston and his wife Lana have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Wake Forest, N.C., and are blessed to participate in the life and ministry of Hope Lutheran Church, where as pastor emeritus, Preston assists with occasional preaching, teaching and pastoral care.
As a consultant with Capital Funding Services (CFS), Phil offers a congregation and its leaders Christ-centered direction and encouragement, walking with them through the challenges of vision development, generosity and spiritual growth. He has always believed the Biblical truth that as God’s people encounter Jesus Christ and grow in faith, their management of God’s blessings will not only benefit the spiritual and financial growth of their congregation, but also be accompanied by increases in love, grace and joy. God literally transforms us to live generous, abundant lives of blessing together.
Phil’s ministry journey includes a variety of experiences which help him to be insightful and supportive. His vicarage and first congregation were opportunities to be a part of large churches with schools. At Golden Valley Lutheran Church in Minnesota, he served 20 years, first as the only full-time staff and then, as the church grew, as senior pastor of a large multi-staffed ministry. He now serves at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waconia, Minnesota, as senior pastor. The church includes a large school, multiple ministries and many staff members. Along the way, Phil’s congregations were blessed to start preschools and child-care centers. There were also several capital campaigns and multiple annual appeals.
Phil graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s in physical science and from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis with a master of theology. He has received extensive training in the Beeson Church Leadership program and has trained with Pete Steinke in a Systems Approach for Healthy Congregations. Through conferences and personal study, he continues to sharpen his skills in leadership, visioning and conflict resolution. He has written several devotional books for congregations. During the last few years, after receiving training through the Minnesota South District, Phil has been a coach for LCMS pastors.
Phil enjoys golf, travel and following his hometown Detroit sports teams. He and his wife have three grown daughters.
David serves as a Capital Funding Services (CFS) consultant as well as LCEF English District Vice President. David has a contagious passion for helping people and congregations achieve the vision God has given them within their local context and culture.
Through CFS, David shares the joy of giving he has grown up with and cultivated throughout his life. As a district vice president, he connects congregations with needed resources to expand their ministry.
David brings a grace-filled focus to each congregation he serves, including the inner-city congregation for which he was the pastor for nearly 20 years. At this congregation, each new vision was achieved by God’s grace and the response of God’s people. During David’s tenure, membership included refugees from 10 different nations as well as lifelong U.S. citizens, all united around the Gospel. The congregation became a church of significance within the community.
David earned a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and has served on a variety of district and LCMS boards and committees. He has served as a mission executive and consulted with many congregations. With his extensive background in missions, he has created workshops intent on moving congregations to a community focus, based on our Lutheran identity.
As a Capital Funding Services (CFS) consultant, Mark provides professional and spiritual support for congregations in their stewardship and strategic journey. He has experienced how individual and congregational growth in financial generosity has been accompanied by the development of a deeper trust in God and a stronger commitment to His mission. Or as Jesus put it, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21, ESV)
Mark’s ministry experience within the LCMS spans nearly 32 years with all but three serving Peace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He was part of Peace’s growth from a medium-sized church, in which he was the only full-time staff person, to a large, multistaff church. Along the way, Mark initiated three capital building campaigns at Peace (working with three different firms) as well as many regular giving programs. His special ministry interests include leadership coaching, spiritual formation and the study of the Apostle Paul’s theology.
Mark has served in a variety of roles in the North Wisconsin District, most recently in congregational consulting. He earned a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and a doctor in ministry from Fuller Seminary-Pasadena (with an emphasis in theology and culture). He is also a trained and certified Leadership and Strengths Coach.
He currently resides in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with his wife. They have four adult children.
Dominic Rivkin is excited to work with congregations seeking to meet their visionary goals with strong, stable and sustainable methods of stewardship and advancement. Dominic feels that Capital Funding Services (CFS) offers support and planning that both honors our Lord and meets the needs of congregations that seek to connect with their communities.
Dominic is a second-career pastor who spent several years developing new product markets and business segments for a large, multinational electrical engineering firm. This experience and his seminary training as a domestic missionary, translated into a church-planting ministry. This in turn resulted in a strong, Christ-centered and community-focused congregation in Southern California. Dominic also continued to work consulting and coaching both congregations and leaders on creating a vision for today’s missional church.
Dominic currently serves as the Mission Developer overseeing Lutheran Inter-City Network Coalition (LINC) Los Angeles, a new non-profit urban mission network that encourages, equips and empowers individuals to effectively start new ministries that connect communities with Christ. He hopes to continue to bless both this network and CFS with 20-plus years of experience in strategic development and implementation of organizational vision, mission and partnership. Dominic holds a bachelor’s in communications from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Illinois, and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Dominic enjoys life in the beautiful city of Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.
Bob is excited about Capital Funding Services’ Immeasurably More campaigns and partnering with the Rev. Dr. John Sproul in celebrating God’s plan for congregations. He experienced the blessings of a capital campaign while serving as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Manning, Iowa.
Bob brings a broad parish perspective, having served as a Lutheran school teacher and principal and as a pastor of rural congregations and in a multistaff setting. Bob served as an Iowa District West executive assistant for more than 15 years, providing resources for congregations in the areas of education, stewardship and youth ministries. As a district staff member, he also assisted congregations in values clarification and visioning processes. He has assisted with LCMS national children’s ministry initiatives and is the author of children’s ministry and stewardship Bible studies.
He holds a bachelor’s degree and Lutheran Teacher Diploma from Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska; a master’s in education administration from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; and a master’s in religious education from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
Bob resides in Manning, Iowa, with his wife. They are blessed with four married children and 11 grandchildren.
As a stewardship consultant and pastor coach for Capital Funding Services (CFS), Vic provides professional, spiritual guidance to pastors and congregations in their stewardship journey.
In 2010, Vic was named to the CFS Pastor Coaching Ministry team. He delivers coaching services to LCMS pastors, helping open doors to spiritual and leadership growth.
Vic served as senior pastor of the large congregation at Community of Christ at St. Luke, in Federal Way, Washington. He has been a student of leadership and demonstrated it effectively throughout his ministry. Vic also developed the Parent School, an innovative approach to building bridges with the unchurched community in Seattle. He has served as a mentor in Pastoral Leadership Institute (PLI), which provides advanced leadership training for pastors within the LCMS.
Before joining St. Luke’s in 1979, Vic served as pastor of First Trinity Lutheran Church, an inner-city congregation in Oakland, California. He and his wife reside in Washington state.
Bruce was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, into a strong Lutheran family. That background helped influence him to begin his service to the Lord from Walther League as a youth, to the seminary and now his current position as in Intentional Interim Pastor of the Pacific Southwest District.
After completing seminary, Bruce served in parishes in Akron, Colorado; Provo, Utah; Costa Mesa, California; and Imperial Beach, California. After retiring from full-time ministry, he trained for the Intentional Interim program and has since served four parishes in California. It was in his third interim that he was involved in a campaign led by Capital Funding Services (CFS), where he experienced the “immeasurably more” God intends for His people. Bruce continues to serve his fourth interim congregation in Long Beach, California.
Through all of these parishes and experiences, Bruce has shown leadership as well as a concern for the people of God that gather in every congregation. Especially in interim congregation situations, he has found the need to help congregations find the strength and resources to continue on in ministry. He sees generous, cheerful giving as a vital aspect of our total response to God for all that He constantly gives us day by day.
“[The steps of Christian discipline] aren’t steps that guarantee spiritual growth. Instead, they are doors of growth which lead us into the presence of the Lord.”—John Kieschnick, “The Best is Yet To Come: 7 Doors of Spiritual Growth” (Baxter Press).
Congregations have frequently sought the Rev. John Kieschnick’s consult regarding planning, management, leadership and stewardship. Now, as stewardship consultant and pastor coach, Rev. Kieschnick delivers on-site consulting and mentoring services to LCMS congregations and their pastors, helping them open doors to spiritual, stewardship and leadership growth.
Prior to joining Capital Funding Services, the Rev. Kieschnick served as senior pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Houston Texas, from 1974 to 2007. During that time, he shepherded the church from 400 to more than 3,300 baptized members, ranking it the fifth-largest LCMS congregation in the country. Under his pastorate, Gloria Dei conducted seven building and capital stewardship campaigns.
Born in Walburg, Texas, the second youngest of nine children, John received a bachelor’s in education from Concordia Teachers’ College (now Concordia University Chicago), River Forest, Illinois. After serving two years as teacher/principal/youth director at Calvary Lutheran Church and Day School in Havertown, Pennsylvania, John entered Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. (now Fort Wayne). He received his bachelor’s from the seminary in May 1970, and his Master of Divinity in May 1985.
Throughout his ministry, John has served on a variety of synodical boards and committees, both national and district (Texas). He has authored numerous stewardship Bible studies and programs, many of which became models for national efforts. He authored a “Christian Money Management Program” as well as the book quoted above. John also helped found the Samaritan Counseling Center in Houston and served as a founding member of the Pastoral Leadership Institute Board of Directors. He served on the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, his alma mater, from 2004-2010.
John married Elaine Trimble on July 4, 1970. Their marriage has been blessed with three children. In his free time, John enjoys “dreaming dreams” and “seeing visions” and “plays at” golf.