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Campaign Goal: Leadership


The cities and communities of Southeast Wisconsin are among the most racially segregated in the nation, with significant disparities that have long been present in our systems and institutions related to health care, the environment, the economy, education, and the church. In order for us to grow in our commitment to becoming an anti-racist church, the Equipping the Saints appeal will invest in a new synod position, an Organizer for Racial Equity. This will initially be a half-time, three-year position that will work alongside synod and OFH staff to build relationships and provide support and training for rostered and lay congregational leaders to grow in their ability to be anti-racist leaders in anti-racist organizations.

As a result of this initiative, at least 50 GMS congregations will develop strategies to deepen their understanding of systemic racism and expand their work for racial equity.


Rev. Kara Baylor, Campus Pastor at Carthage College, speaks at a September 2020 prayer vigil in Kenosha in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.


The support of Campus Ministries, who raise up the next generation of leaders for the church, is a critical activity of the Greater Milwaukee Synod. The Synod seeks to assure that campus ministry is always cared for, while also empowering those who are most impacted by the ministry to take the lead in making this ministry stronger. Therefore, the Equipping the Saints appeal will invest in campus ministry to develop an endowment that will ultimately fully fund this life-changing ministry.

Funded through planned gifts from those who have a passion for this ministry, our goal is for Campus Ministry to have a $1.5 million endowment 10 years from now. Support directed to Campus Ministry through the Equipping the Saints appeal will provide:

  • Training for campus ministers to discover and encourage planned gifts;
  • Training for the boards of campus ministry to be leaders in campus ministry;
  • Engagement with alumni of campus ministry to provide a planned gift to campus ministry;
  • Engagement with those with a passion for campus ministry to fund an endowment through current and planned gifts to strengthen campus ministry for the future.

$150,000 for staff time per ministry (2) for 5 years at $15,000 per year to lead the development function

$25,000 for events, materials, identification of gift prospects

$25,000 for training for staff and board on gift procurement


Lutheran Campus Ministry students gather at the 2020 LCM Chili Cook-Off.


In a recent survey conducted by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, 25% of all pastors responding shared that they had actively considered resigning or retiring due to the increased stress of serving in a pandemic. One of the factors that can impact the longevity and effectiveness of pastors and deacons serving in ministry is the challenge of financial stress. Paying off student debt, planning for retirement, and managing the day-to-day financial challenges are all factors that impact ministerial effectiveness. A recent survey in our synod revealed that 45% of rostered ministers have education debt averaging $43,000, and that the reported amount of debt affects the kind of call rostered ministers can accept. In addition, many ministers serve in situations without sufficient support to pursue continuing education and leadership training, or to prepare for retirement, in these changing and challenging times. In order to support our congregations with rostered ministers who are able to serve effectively, where God needs them and for as long as God needs them, we seek to raise funds for debt relief, continuing education and sabbaticals, and retirement planning.

Leadership investment will include special attention to rostered ministers who are persons of color and/or LGBTQIA+, who may need help with costs of candidacy and tuition, and who face additional financial challenges in too often waiting longer for calls and/or serving in ministries with greater financial needs.

As a result of this campaign, the Greater Milwaukee Synod will provide:

  • Financial support for candidates and rostered ministers who are persons of color and/or LGBTQIA+ through candidacy, seminary, and first call.
  • Grants to rostered ministers to support professional development or financial wellness. Grants will be disbursed over a three-year period to recipients to pay down debt, pursue continuing education or sabbatical study, or prepare for retirement. Some grants may be offered as matching opportunities to what the rostered minister or their ministry provides.

$200,000 for financial support for candidates and rostered ministers who are persons of color and/ or LGBTQIA+

$300,000 for grants to rostered ministers


Bishop Medardo Gómez of the Lutheran Synod of El Salvador receives a blessing during a service at Lake Park Lutheran Church.


Because we are in partnership with our global companions, we will provide a gift of 10% of our leadership campaign funds ($90,000) to raise up leaders within our companion synods. We will support leadership development programs in the Diocese of Meru, Tanzania, and the Lutheran Synod of El Salvador to strengthen the vital work of their leaders across the church.