Grants and ScholarshipsFor Church Workers and Students Pursuing Church Work
Education Loan Repayment Grants
The Education Loan Repayment Committee awards education loan repayment grants to rostered synodical graduates (and those who have completed the colloquy program) working in a Kansas District congregation or school who have graduated within the last ten years.
With the rising costs of education, many Kansas professional church workers can be saddled with large debts from student days. In 2018, 30 applicants received grants totaling $26,605 to assist in repaying their education loans. The combined total of their education debt was nearly $1.4 million.
It is the policy of the LCMS Kansas District that grants be applied to any (educational) debt that rostered workers have incurred, whether in the form of federally subsidized loans, commercial loans or even credit card debt for books needed to enter ministry. The grant is sent directly to the lender to be applied to the principal to help reduce total indebtedness, not to make payments in advance or to reduce the amount of currently scheduled payments.
The Committee reserves the right to determine what indebtedness is appropriate and what grants will be given, but seeks to keep its definition of indebtedness as wide as possible. Not adhering to this policy may jeopardize the worker’s opportunity to receive a grant.
Grant applications are available in July each year. The Education Loan Repayment Committee meets in September to determine grant awards. For questions about Education Loan Repayment Grants, contact Shannon Oldham at email@example.com.
Students pursuing a degree at one of our LCMS colleges or seminaries in professional church work and current workers pursuing colloquy may apply for a scholarship grant from the LCMS Kansas District. The deadline for applications is June 1 of each year. The Scholarship Committee meets in July to review applications and determine grant awards. The amount of the grant is based on available funds and the number of applications that we receive. Grants are sent directly to the university/seminary.
Funding for District scholarship grants comes from interest from scholarship endowments, designated gifts and bequests from congregations and individuals, and a portion of Ash Wednesday and workers installation offerings received from congregations.
Financial aid is also available from the Lutheran Laymen’s League (LLL), Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), and St. John’s Alumni Association. Application links for these organizations are posted as they become available (typically in January of each year).
From MinistryFOCUS: MinistryFOCUS is a grassroots organization within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), founded to eliminate systemic barriers to ministry. The “Foundation for Called Workers” secured start-up funding, and MinistryFOCUS was founded in April 2013.
MinistryFOCUS recognizes that individuals often assume educational loans in order to serve the Lord, and for some, such loans often distract from or even undermine their very purpose. MinistryFOCUS has established a loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) so that these servants of the Lord can focus more on ministry and less on money.
Individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible for MinistryFOCUS LRAP grants:
- Currently serve as a rostered church worker of the LCMS
- Carry at least $20,000 in educational loans.
For more information and LRAP applications go to http://ministryfocus.org/application/, or contact Ken@MinistryFOCUS.org. Applications for Ministry Focus Grants are typically due in December.
Rural Opportunity Zones
The State of Kansas has established Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ), 77 counties in Kansas that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents: 1) Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years, and/or 2) student loan repayments up to $15,000.
Visit the ROZ page on KansasCommerce.com to find more information, including frequently asked questions, programs guidelines and applications. Or call 785-296-5298 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve also included a few more details about the program on the District Resources page of this website.
Support Current and Future Church Workers
Congregations are encouraged to consider including a gift of $500 in their budget each year to be divided between the education loan repayment and scholarship funds. If every congregation gave $500, the result would be $80,000 in additional funding. Here are other ideas for supporting these two funds:
- Installation/ordination offerings
- Day school/chapel offering for one month
- Sunday School/Bible Class offering for one month
- Freewill door offering
- LWML/LLL/auxiliary board mission offering
- The annual District Ash Wednesday Offering
We also encourage you to consider:
- Establishing or adding to a scholarship fund to help members in your own congregation pursue a degree in professional church work
- Helping professional church workers in your congregation and/or school repay their educational debt
Words of Thanks from Grant Recipients
- I praise God for the financial aid you have given me. I am thrilled to be attending Concordia Nebraska. Thank you!
- Thank you very much for your continued support as I learn how to better serve God and others and to teach His children.
- I greatly and deeply appreciate your support. I can’t wait to see what God has in store!
- Thank you so much for the gift toward my student loans. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is greatly appreciated. It is a joy to serve God’s people!
- The loving assistance you offer to church workers in repaying student loans is truly something special. Thank you!