Every other month we get an update on what’s been happening recently at our
Immanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The growing number of pastor and teacher calls and vacancies currently in our churches and schools attests that the need for young people to prepare themselves for the public ministry has never been greater. Recent articles in the Lutheran Spokesman and church bulletins have encouraged our youth to consider preparing for the public ministry through our pastor and teacher training programs at Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary. The aim of this article also is to encourage our youth to prepare by showing the financial support our church body is investing and providing to young people enrolled in ILC’s pre-theological and education courses.
Public Ministry Preparation (PMP) Program
In addition to the Student Aid Fund (SAF) available to all students in the ILC high school, college, and seminary departments through SAF student loans, family multi-student grants, and campus student employment (work-study), there is special financial aid available for students preparing for the public ministry. That program is aptly named “Public Ministry Preparation” (PMP).
The General Business Office (GBO) of the CLC and of ILC distinguishes two parts to this program, the PMPE and the PMPG. The PMPE represents the endowment-invested portfolio part of the PMP fund. The PMPG represents the grant part of this fund, namely, the annual earnings of interest and dividends only (not capital appreciation), available from the endowment portfolio. These earnings are granted routinely each year to all full-time ILC public ministry student accounts.
Since its inception in 2000, the PMP endowment portfolio has grown to $1.6 million, largely from bequests, but also from memorials and offerings. Earnings vary each year, of course, and the amount of grants awarded each student depends on the number of public ministry students enrolled full-time each year. Some years have provided as much as half of a student’s tuition. This year’s earnings are providing about 35% of the tuition for fifteen full-time education and pre-theological students in college and four in the seminary. Tuition has remained constant at $3,500/year for an unprecedented five years in a row, which is also an incentive for our youth to enroll! A goal of the PMP could be to pay 100% of tuition for those preparing for the preaching and teaching ministries.
Partners in Ministry (PiM) Program
Another encouragement for students preparing for the public ministry is to be aware that our church body has also established a financial program to help students after they accept a call and become CLC pastors or teachers in our congregations. This program is called “Partners in Ministry” (PiM), which helps CLC called servants pay back ILC student loans which they may have received at ILC. This is a matching-funds program in which the called servant applies for this benefit and is matched anonymously with a donor partner who has applied to match each loan payment, up to a limit the donor predetermines. The beneficiary is also anonymous to the matching donor, so that besides the satisfaction of this public ministry support, the donor can also take a tax deduction.
Since inception of the program in 2016, there are six donors who have been matching funds for the six out of seven beneficiaries who have applied for the program. To date the donors have provided $18,312 in matching loan payments that have helped called workers repay in full three of their student loans. All these loan payments go right back into the SAF to provide loans for current ILC students.
Beneficiaries of both these programs have expressed their appreciation that the CLC has established these programs, and their gratitude to the Lord and to the donors for providing the funding. Offerings for these programs may be designated and sent c/o the ILC Business Manager, 501 Grover Road, Eau Claire WI 54701.
James Sandeen is a retired pastor. He is Business Manager for Immanuel Lutheran College and the Church of the Lutheran Confession.