A “Higher” Return
During these economic times with volatile markets and low interest rates, it is hard to find an investment that pays a reasonable rate of return. On March 18, 2012, the interest rate for the 10-year Treasury was 1.71% and the average national rate for a five-year certificate of deposit per the BankRate Monitor was 1.12%. Higher interest rates are available if you are willing to take additional risk, both credit and interest rate risk. Normally, one can expect a stronger return from the equity markets but with the volatility of the market, it is impossible to ensure a consistent return. And it is impossible to time your investment to ensure a gain.
So where can an investor go to earn a higher rate of return? I would like to suggest consideration of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund notes. The interest rates are competitive with other financial institutions. But, there is an additional return. It is the ministry return—the “higher” return. When you invest in LCEF, you are investing in the church. And the church invests in people. LCEF utilizes your investment to provide loans to ministries to build facilities in which ministry and the sharing of the Gospel occurs. With LCEF, you invest in the work of the church which invests in sharing the truth of the Gospel with the community.
I joined the LCEF staff in November 1980, nearly 32 years ago. In 1980, the fund assets totaled $60 million. With the blessing of God and the participation of tens of thousands of individuals and organizations seeking to participate in the “higher” return, LCEF has grown to assets in excess of $1.8 billion dollars. But it is not about the dollars, it is about the return on those dollars. Throughout its existence, it is estimated that LCEF has assisted over 80% of the congregations with support for their ministries. And it is impossible to estimate the value of the ministry and the fact that untold numbers have heard the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The future is still being written. The return is still available. You can be a part of His story. In the words of Art Haake, a former president of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, “It is not about the bottom line. It is about the top line. It is not about the figures. It is about the Figure behind the figures. It is about the Lord Jesus Christ and sharing His good news!” There isn’t a “higher” return available.
CFO/Sr. Vice President