Complete Story


Thrive! Synod Assembly Update 6.11.19


An Assembly Gone Wild!

If you missed the Synod Assembly, then you really missed a remarkable event: Bishop Dillahunt was reelected on the first ballot. Congratulations, Bishop!

If you left early, then you missed another remarkable event: Lutherans had a joyful, spirit-filled, truly wild time at the Assembly closing!

Just before the Assembly was to end, Pastor Gil Santiago – a co-chair of PAC – asked if he could make a suggestion. At the microphone, he said the Spirit had moved him to suggest an extra Thrive campaign T-shirt, like those being worn by PAC and staff members, be auctioned off to raise some money for Thrive. With that, he commandeered the microphone and began auctioning off the shirt! Before you know it, he got a surprised Bishop Dillahunt, and equally surprised ELCA Bishop Eaton, to autograph the shirt so that the winning bidder could get “immediate gratification” by obtaining such prized signatures.

2019 06 08 22.06.50  

A bidder asked about the shirts being worn by PAC members. Could they, too, not be signed and made available for auction? And the next thing you know, PAC members were bringing their T-shirts to the stage.

Suddenly, another bidder shouted that he would bid an extra $25 if a bishop would wear a shirt. With that, both bishops were pulling T-shirts on and off over their clerical shirts, autographing them, and giving each other high-fives! It was bedlam! Bishops dancing around the stage! People laughing and slapping winning bidders on the back for paying $200 for a T-shirt!

When the shirts ran out, Pastor Santiago suggested that for $50, people could order a shirt, we’d get both bishops sign it, and then ship it to the purchaser, the place went wild again. Folks lined up at the Thrive table to place their orders!

The whole affair went on for about 30 minutes, yet it seemed no one wanted it to end (even though it was time for lunch and departure) because the Spirit was so present … so palpable. And how exhilarating it was to see the look on the faces of Lutherans … Lutherans! … as they envisioned a future as yet unborn … and got excited about it. How wonderful to feel the Spirit’s energy swirling among us and be surprised by this witness to the love of Christ! It was a Pentecost moment … and $1380 was raised for the Thrive campaign!

Many thanks to Pastor Santiago, Bishop Dillahunt and Bishop Eaton for their enthusiastic, spirit-filled participation, and to all who purchased shirts in support of Thrive!


What’s the Difference between Regular Mission Support and Thrive?

A question was raised at the Assembly about the difference between Regular Mission Support and Thrive. Good question! Here is some clarification we hope will be helpful to you in understanding the distinctions.

Regular Mission Support (RMS) is money sent to the Southern Ohio Synod from individual congregations to support the Mission and Ministry Plan of the Synod and, by extension, the ELCA, which receives 40% of any unrestricted RMS the Synod receives. Synod budgets are based on anticipated Regular Mission Support income during any one fiscal year. For example, the 2020-21 Mission and Ministry Plan budget, approved at the recent 2019 Assembly, is $1,850,000 and is based on anticipated receipts during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Regular Mission Support provides funding for:

  • Compensation of Synod Staff
  • Synod Office Operating Expenses
  • Candidacy
  • Current Missions and Redevelopments, and
  • Support to Campus Ministries, Trinity Seminary, Capital University and Wittenberg


Additionally, Regular Mission Support funds budgeted ministry programs of the Synod, such as:

  • Youth & Family Ministries
  • Congregational Development
  • Lay Leadership Training, and
  • Ministries to Rostered Leaders.


Thrive! Equipping a Vibrant Church Together is a 3-year capital campaign running from January 2020 through December 2022. Income to Thrive will come through pledges made to the campaign by individuals, congregations and/or other organizations. Donations to Thrive are to be over and above Regular Mission Support.

All donations to Thrive will be collected, maintained and accounted for separately from Regular Mission Support. Consequently, Thrive income will not be part of any year’s synod budget. Rather, it will be put toward the five goals of the Thrive campaign:

  • Equipping Lay Leaders through new initiatives
  • Raising Up Leaders for Smaller Congregations via TEEM & SAM programs
  • Strengthening Rostered Ministers by way of mentoring and seminary debt reduction
  • Launching New Congregations and Reaching New People by launching two new satellite congregations, and
  • Enhancing Worship Practice by providing resource musicians, training and mentoring networks

Thrive, therefore, helps fulfill the Synod’s vision by covering initiatives not funded through Regular Mission Support. Additionally, since participating in the Thrive campaign will both teach effective stewardship practices to congregations and develop planned giving programs, it is expected that offerings given to congregations will increase, which will in turn enable congregations to increase their Regular Mission Support to the Synod. Thus, Thrive provides a sustainable model for the mission of the Synod in years to come, so that we will be Stronger and Better Together: Joining Jesus in the Restoration of the World.


For more information about Thrive please click the Thrive Quicklink on the Synod’s website or contact Thrive Campaign Manager, Pastor Larry Donner, at

Printer-Friendly Version