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faith + finances + freedom

The Lifeline Fund

Education Debt Relief

Stewardship Grants

Resourceful Servants

The Lifeline Fund

You know that sinking feeling you get when you open a bill that you cannot possibly pay on time? Or the stress of a financial burden that becomes so great you cannot imagine a way through it? Sometimes when we find ourselves stuck or worried about money, we need help. The Lifeline Fund of the South Carolina Synod is that life changing help for rostered ministers.

In the last two years, the South Carolina Synod has paid off $117,406 worth of rostered minister education debt. Seven rostered ministers serving in the Synod have received this tremendous blessing, eliminating nearly 75 years of debt payments among them.

One rostered minister who received a debt reduction grant from the Lifeline Fund shares, “Because of your [Lifeline Distribution] team’s ministry, I can begin to breathe! I can see a light! It is an elimination of seminary debt that was paralyzing me. Without you, I would not be seeing this light!”

Another rostered minister who received funds says, “I have experienced the grace and love of God in a transformational way through the ministry of the Lifeline Fund. The gifts you have given us are hope and a relief.”

Take a moment to think how the freedom that this education debt repayment program has already offered others could be a relief for the pastors and deacons in your faith family. The Lifeline Fund benefits whole communities of faith because the gifts that come from it are not only financial. As one rostered minister says, “[The Lifeline Fund] helped to relieve a huge burden for us, allowing us to better care for our family, be a healthier leader in the church, and share the fruit of these gifts with the world.”

If you are a rostered minister, consider if the Lifeline Fund might be a needed blessing for you. If you know a rostered minister, tell them about the Lifeline Fund and how it might provide life changing help for their education debt.

The Lifeline Fund is made possible…

Through a “scaling grant” from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. awarded to the North Carolina Synod, synods in Region Nine are invited to participate in the “Faith + Finances + Freedom” initiative. This is part of the “National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.”

The North Carolina Synod, Virginia Synod, Southeastern Synod, South Carolina Synod, and Caribbean Synod agreed to collaborate by raising matching funds as they work to address the economic challenges facing rostered leaders.

We are excited about this opportunity to be Church Together, awarding grants to Rostered Leaders for Education Debt Relief, and grants to Congregations for Stewardship Education!

Education Debt Relief

Three Major Components

  1. Financial Literacy
    1. Financial Peace University
    2. Financial counseling with LSS Minnesota or Portico
  2. Education Debt Grants
    1. Grant levels will vary depending upon the level of debt and ability to repay
  3. Coaching
    1. helps leaders reach financial goals (optional)

New applicant’s requirements:

  1. Complete the Financial Peace University course
  2. Receive 3 free financial counseling sessions from a Portico or LSS Minnesota representative
  3. Submit proof of education loan payments for the previous 12 months
  4. Submit your Report to your Bishop for the current year

To apply you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the application
  2. Submit proof of debt payments for the previous 12 months
  3. Submit your Report to the Bishop for the current year

A Video Explanation from the North Carolina Synod

Are you a rostered minister who would like to reduce your family education dept”? If so, view the video titled, Save Yourself. While this video was produced by the North Carolina Synod, it also addresses what a difference it can make for all rostered ministers who receive debt education re-payments to relieve the stress of financial dept and to sustain healthy ministers in this church. In the video you will hear from pastors and deacons who have received education debt re-payments. The Rev. John Mocko, is Program Coordinator, Lifeline Fund, North Carolina Synod. South Carolina Synod also participates in the Lifeline Fund by providing education debt re-payments for rostered ministers along with Virginia Synod, Caribbean Synod, and Southeastern Synod. Contact Rev. Ozzie Herlong ( or go to (link) for more information.

Stewardship Grants

South Carolina congregations will work with their Directors for Stewardship (The Rev. Ozzie Herlong) to receive monetary support for participating in one of three stewardship efforts:

  1. “Stewardship for All Seasons” (SAS)
  2. “Cultivating Generous Congregations” (CGC)
  3. “Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising”

Resourceful Servants

Is Your Congregation Struggling with Church Finances?

Although there is strong desire among many ELCA congregations to be financially healthy, it is common for congregations to wrestle with financial problems.

  1. Shrinking attendance in worship
  2. Decreased giving
  3. Short tenure of congregational treasurers
  4. A reluctance to apply business practices to the finances of a church
  5. Lack of financial knowledge among pastors and many in the congregation resulting in struggles with budgets, resource allocation and sustained growth

Through the ELCA’s Resourceful Servants the “Congregational Certificate Program”, offers your congregation the opportunity to follow a road map to greater financial stability, using healthy behaviors which focus on five key areas: Accounting, Finance, Human Resources, Risk Management and Stewardship.

Each module contains resources related to healthy financial behaviors. Ultimately, by implementing and maintaining a set of financially healthy behaviors, and tracking them through this website, your congregations will receive a certificate, indicating your focus on financial health.

The goal of the program is for your congregation to deepen its financial knowledge and improve its financial behaviors, enabling you to best use the funding available to you.

Click here for more information:


Contact Faith+Finances+Freedom

Program Director, John Mocko, at 336-596-4517.

Mission Partners

Get In Touch

This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here.

We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person–questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world.

Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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