Charity Review

Issued: January 2018 Expires: January 2019

Charity Seal Holder

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Meets Standards
 
(314) 965-9000 1333 South Kirkwood Road, Saint Louis MO 63122 www.lcms.org
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Tax Status
  7. Financial
Conclusions

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Purpose

"In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world."    

Incorporated: 1847 in MO

Also Known As: The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, Inc.

Programs

The work of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and its headquarters operation functions around the words Witness, Mercy and Life Together, which in turn are centered on the Holy Scriptures and the doctrines they teach as articulated in the Lutheran Confessions (Book of Concord).  Together, the work of the LCMS at all times and in all places is to make known the love of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son who came to die for the sins of all mankind and who rose again on the Third Day to show his power over sin, death and Satan. 

The program areas (ministries) of corporate Synod (Synod, Inc.) are grouped under International Mission, National Mission, Pastoral Education, Communications and Mission Advancement.

International Mission encompasses four regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. Within those regions, 136 LCMS missionaries carry out witness, mercy and life together efforts in concert with the 35 Lutheran partner churches of the world in ways that lead to the planting of orthodox Lutheran congregations and their progression into self-sustaining Lutheran partner church bodies. International Mission also overseas international LCMS disaster relief and response work, and LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces (certified military chaplains/chaplain certification, and veterans services and support).

National Mission encompasses 17 specific program areas designed to serve and support the efforts of 6,100 LCMS congregations, schools, organizations and the Synod's 35 districts. Program areas include black ministry, hispanic ministry, urban and inner city mission, rural and small town mission, witness and community outreach ministry, stewardship, worship, youth ministry, campus ministry, schools ministry, deaconess ministry, RSO (recognized service organizations) certification, disaster response (national), health ministry, life ministry, congregation revitalization, and specialized pastoral ministry (full-time institution and hospital chaplaincy).  National Mission also coordinates crisis support for LCMS clergy, both active and retired, and coordinates humanitarian work with a select group of partner organizations.

Pastoral Education synchronizes work to identify, recruit, educate, send and support the Synod's ordained clergy, and coordinates/synchronizes theological education programs and resources offered by two world-class LCMS seminaries. 

Communications serves the news and information needs of LCMS members, and produces specialized print, electronic and media resources for use at the local, regional and international levels. Mission Advancement serves and relates to the community of contributors who partner with the LCMS to share the Gospel through personal charitable donations, family or corporate foundation grants and volunteerism. 

The priorities for corporate Synod program work are determined, under its Constitution and Bylaws, every three years through a national convention. Delegates act on recommendations for ministry through formal resolutions, adopting priorities in a democratic process of voting by locally selected delegates. Thus the voice of the LCMS and its members in terms of priorities is made clear through Convention action rather than executive decision.  A Convention-elected Board of Directors oversees the officers, commissions, budgeting and ministry work, and sets policies for the conduct and management of the organization.

Governance & Staff

Board Chair: Reverend Michael L Kumm PhD, Pastor (Sole) Business Affiliation: Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Dakota Dunes, SD)

Board Size: 15

Staff: 370

As a religious nonprofit, The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, Inc. is exempt under IRS regulations from filing the IRS Form 990. Budget and audited financial statements are made publicly available on the LCMS website at www.lcms.org/bod

Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Telephone Appeals Print Advertisements (Newspapers, Magazines, etc.) Radio Appeals Grant Proposals Internet Appeals Planned Giving Arrangements Membership Appeals Appeals via Social Media (Facebook, etc.) Other

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 11.15%

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's Consolidated Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Friday, June 30, 2017.

Source of Funds
District Pledge $14,367,000
Gifts and Grants $29,745,000
Bequests $6,393,000
Contributed Services $1,200,000
Investment and Trust Income $1,933,000
Sales and Services $3,575,000
Convention and Youth Gathering $9,718,000
Concordia Plan Services $24,790,000
LCMS Holdings Limited $49,176,000
Net Realized and Unrealized Gain on Investments $966,000
Change in Value of Split Interest Agreements $1,377,000
Gain on Sale of Assets $1,988,000
Total Income: $145,228,000
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $126,631,000
Fundraising Expenses: $5,763,000
Administrative Expenses: $11,754,000
Total Expenses: $144,148,000
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $1,080,000
 
Beginning Net Assets: $153,023,000
Ending Net Assets: $152,230,000
Total Liabilities: $87,600,000
Total Assets: $239,830,000


An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Standards Legend

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  • Standards Not Met IconStandards Not Met
  • Did Not Disclose IconDid Not Disclose
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Standard 1: Board Oversight


Description:

Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

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Standard 2: Board Size


Description:

Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

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Standard 3: Board Meetings


Description:

An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

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Standard 4: Board Compensation


Description:

Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

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Standard 5: Conflict of Interest


Description:

No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

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Standard 6: Effectiveness Policy


Description:

Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

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Standard 7: Effectiveness Report


Description:

Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

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Standard 8: Program Expenses


Description:

Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

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Standard 9: Fund Raising Expenses


Description:

Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

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Standard 10: Accumulating Funds


Description:

Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

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Standard 11: Audit Report


Description:

Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

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Standard 12: Detailed Expense Breakdown


Description:

Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

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Standard 13: Accurate Expense Reporting


Description:

Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

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Standard 14: Budget Plan


Description:

Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

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Standard 15: Truthful Materials


Description:

Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

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Standard 16: Annual Report


Description:

Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

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Standard 17: Website Disclosures


Description:

Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

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Standard 18: Donor Privacy


Description:

Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

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Standard 19: Cause Marketing Disclosures


Description:

Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

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Standard 20: Complaints


Description:

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.