The five state area is a real mecca for Lutheran outdoor and camping ministries
Lutherans in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have a tremendous choice of outdoor ministries, camps, and resorts to choose from, with more than 50 in the surrounding area. They range from Bible, language, mission, recreational, resort, and conference centers. Each provides the opportunity to experience God’s earthly creation and grow in one’s personal faith in Christ.
Most outdoor and camping ministries experience the need for financial support in addition to camper fees, association supporters, and annual fund contributors in order to continue and expand their ministry. Increasingly, these organizations are depending on a third source of support through planned gifts from individuals and families who have a desire to make a major gift during their lives or through their estate plan.
One local Bible camp director recently shared “that most people [would] remember their local church, Christian educational institutions, or mission organizations [more quickly] than they would remember a camp or outdoor ministry.” Most of the former ministries have either endowment funds or separately incorporated foundations to receive will bequests; beneficiary or TOD designations of life insurance, IRAs, securities; direct gifts of real estate or securities; assigned ownership of life insurance policies; and remainder distributions from gift annuities or charitable trusts.
Local denominational camping ministries would also benefit from that type of planning. Too often, however, these organizations do not have the staff capacity to systematically solicit such gifts.
For more information about how to support the outdoor or camping ministry of your choice with a planned gift, contact the director of that organization. To make a planned deferred gift through a gift annuity or charitable remainder trust, contact a planned giving or gift planning counselor from your church body foundation or the Lutheran Community Foundation. The LCMS Foundation can be contacted at 1-800-325-7912; the ELCA Foundation at 1-800-638-3522, ext. 2970; the WELS Foundation at 414/256-3206; and The Lutheran Community Foundation at 1-800-365-4172.
Glenn Thiel is an independent fund-raising consultant and gift planning counselor who has served many Lutheran churches, ministries, and individuals for more than 30 years.