The Moravian Ministries Foundation is a unique interprovincial ministry of the Church. We do not train or educate pastors. We do not serve the poor or the elderly. We do not write, compose or perform music. We do not minister to people in far away lands. We do not lead worship. We do not evangelize or do outreach in the community. Instead, our primary “job” is to connect money with Moravian ministry, so our churches and agencies can do these essential works and more.
James tells us “…faith without good works is dead…” And at the Moravian Ministries Foundation, while it might be grammatically incorrect, faith is an action word. It is a verb. And, this charge is taken very seriously.
In our view, to do ministry and to turn faith into an action word requires four elements:
1. Inspiration and leadership by Christ, as he expresses in the Gospels,
2. People on the ground to do the work,
3. Time to do it and do it well, and
Fortunately, Moravians have a long history of connecting money with ministry. In fact, the early Moravian communities were economically organized to generate profits from the goods and services they produced and sold to Moravians and non-Moravians to support the ministries of the Church. This faith-based entrepreneurship provided the money to send the first Protestant missionaries to the Caribbean. It helped support those who migrated south to Salem and west to Ohio and beyond. It aided in the establishment of Moravian College and Salem College, the oldest women’s college in America.
Building on this rich history, the Moravian Ministries Foundation began 17 years ago with one purpose: to bring about more money for ministry. We accomplish this in four ways:
• Working with individuals who feel inspired and called to make planned gifts. In most cases, these gifts are made through wills, trusts, gift annuities and the like. This service is called GiftLegacy.
• Helping Moravian congregations and agencies raise funds for needed capital projects like renovations, new buildings, etc. This also includes working with the congregations to inspire greater financial support through the Sunday offering. This service is called Morning Star.
• Assisting people with gifts of stocks, bonds and mutual funds to their church or favorite Moravian ministry.
• Managing a low-cost investment program for churches and agencies to invest funds and gifts they have been left to support their ministry. The program is also designed to produce superior investment returns; in fact, it is ranked number one among its peers. This service is called the Moravian Common Fund.
Since inception, the Moravian Ministries Foundation is responsible for $100 million in both planned and outright gifts and distributions from invested funds to churches and agencies, all of which is directed towards supporting more ministry.
Looking at the numbers in more detail, over $58,000,000 is in the form of planned and outright gifts from individuals, and just over $42,000,000 was distributions to churches and agencies from their invested funds.
And what did it cost the Foundation to accomplish this? In simplest terms: for every dollar generated by our work, it cost the Foundation 6.5 cents to carry out these services.
Two final points: First, every single penny of the $100 million will or has gone for ministry; not a cent supports the work of the Foundation. In other words, there were more funds for summer camping for children and youth, more funds to train and educate future and current pastors, more funds for outreach and evangelism in our communities, more funds for international and domestic mission work, more funds to care for the elderly in our retirement communities, more money to preserve our rich history and records, more money for music… more money for more ministry throughout both Provinces of the Moravian Church.
And secondly, in 2012 the Foundation adopted a new tagline that speaks more eloquently to our mission: Invest Where You Believe. In this regard, we want to express our sincere gratitude to the many individuals and nearly 100 churches and agencies that Invest Where They Believe.
Will you join them and help the Foundation reach the $200 million mark? Remember: faith is an action word!
Paul McLaughlin is president of the Moravian Ministries Foundation.
Photos courtesy of MMFA.
From the October 2014 Moravian Magazine