Seminary Announces Successful “Make Known His Deeds!” Campaign Raising $82 Million 

FORT WAYNE, IN, April 24, 2022—Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW) is blessed, grateful, and excited to announce the completion of a beyond successful comprehensive campaign, thanks to the faithful generosity of beloved supporters. 

Chief Operating Officer Lance Hoffman has been involved with the campaign in an advancement capacity from the beginning. “The origins of the campaign started back in 2014 and 2015 with the planning—what we were going to do and how we were going to do it—and it really kicked off in 2016 with the silent phase when we received a couple of large gifts.” God truly blessed the Seminary in this, its first comprehensive campaign. “We realized we were going to go over our goal of $75 million and so decided to end it on the last day of the calendar year of 2021, and we ended up at $82 million. So we went about $7 million over and finished six months early.” This was only made possible by the people of God showing up in a big way to support the future of our church.

The Seminary’s president, Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., expressed that the need has always been great. “Several years ago we did an in-depth study of student indebtedness and were surprised by what we found, just how much debt students were carrying. Because of the support of our donors, we’ve been able to support our students in turn, so that now, as they go into ministry, their families don’t have the same burden that those who went before had—and it’s completely due to the generosity of the wonderful supporters of Concordia Theological Seminary.” As Advancement Officer and Director of Alumni and Church Relations Rev. Dr. Tim Puls further explained, “A number of our students, especially younger ones, coming directly from college, have absorbed $15-$30,000 in student loans. In order for them to leave Seminary, we want to minimize the amount of debt that they are going to carry into the ministry. So it’s incumbent upon us to help support all of our students, so that we can minimize their tuition and minimize other costs, so that they can focus on their studies and prepare to be the best pastors and deaconesses that they can be.” Advancement Database Manager Gary Nahrwold also noted, “The issues that we face today and the model for funding the Seminary have changed in the last 175 years, but what hasn’t changed is the importance of God’s people providing financial support for students.”

The Seminary students agree, are grateful, and wish to convey that gratitude to our donors. As Second-year Seminarian James Martin said, “When I was first considering the Seminary, that was before the hundred percent tuition coverage was in place. Not only was I personally not ready to come, but the factor of paying for everything while we were here was a great concern that we had.” Second-year Seminarian Jesse Greenhagen echoed that point. “I’ve been able to encounter many students that, without the gifts that they’re receiving through the donors, they wouldn’t be here. They simply wouldn’t be here.”

Director of the Food & Clothing Co-ops Deaconess Katherine Rittner was keen to express her gratitude and note how donor generosity has impacted not only the lives of individual students during their time at the Seminary but also the future of the church around the world. “The students benefit from the donor support simply by being able to focus on their studies. Because of the donors, our shelves are filled, and that makes it so much easier for the students to care for their families and to take the time to spend time with their families.” The ripple effect around the world and throughout time truly has eternal significance. “The ongoing partnership with donors is super important because without them we cannot survive. And I don’t want our donors to think about they’re just giving to some school or some group of people that is going to pass through here in four years. That’s not it. You’re supporting your future pastors, your pastors’ families, your deaconesses, even missionaries at large as they go out. So you’re taking care of not just people here in Fort Wayne. It actually ends up being a global support and a global effort.” 

Dr. Rast too emphasized the global impact of this kind of faithful support. “One of the really great things about being associated with the Seminary and having the privilege to serve as president has been to invite people to support this ministry. To see the way that people respond is simply a joy, because it shows us the impact, the real difference people are making by supporting not just an institution but, more importantly, the people of the institution—our faculty, our staff, and especially our students, who are preparing to serve as pastors, deaconesses, lay leaders, missionaries in our own Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and in our partner churches and missions throughout the world. This is a place that has impact here in time and through eternity.”

We praise the Lord and thank Him for how He loving provides for us through the generosity of our faithful donors. To everyone who has given and supported our mission to teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all: thank you.

Soli Deo Gloria