Praising God for a Successful Campaign7 min read

The Here We Stand campaign began in 2015 with a lofty goal of $10 million to fund Michigan District ministry. On April 4, 2022 the campaign reached its goal—and it is still growing.

Ray Zavada, Assistant to the President – Development, is the driving force behind the campaign, but he humbly chooses to highlight all the additional people who made it happen—the 2015 Convention delegates who voted in favor of starting a new campaign, the Steering Committee members who put their heads together and helped shape the campaign and its goals, the thousands of donors who contributed (and are still contributing), and the Church Extension Fund, our dependable ministry partner.

The four initiatives of Here We Stand are: Professional Church Worker Scholarships, Innovative Missional Ministries, Endowment Fund, and International Ministries. One of the great things about this campaign is the fact that you can choose where you want your money to go. Zavada says that “having that ability to determine where you want your dollars to go is important to donors. They could support one, two, three, or all four of the initiatives as they chose. And I promise you, as they indicated how they wanted their dollars to be given and then eventually spent, it was done that way.”

Zavada says that support for Professional Church Workers “has always been a priority for those in our district but, as it turned out, the second category—Innovative Missional Ministry—ended up being the area that our membership and our congregations gravitated towards.” The Endowment fund makes sure fundings are always available for future ministry, and the donors’ response to that initiative was about what the committee had expected. But what really surprised everyone was the International Ministries Initiative, which got a tremendous level of support. Reflecting on the success of all four initiatives, Zavada concludes: “All of those things came together because people put their heads together and prayed and asked, ‘What is going to make an impact for future ministry here and beyond the Michigan District?’”

Four and a half million dollars has already been raised for Innovative Missional Ministries. Those dollars serve to fund initiatives under Acts 2 Enterprise or A2E—an urban ministry initiative umbrella serving Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and Grand Rapids. The A2E ministries have already received some funds from the campaign, and there is money allocated for the next 5-8 years to provide for ministry in those urban areas. Regarding the work carried out by pastors Christopher Bodley (Detroit), Christian Jones (Flint), Chris Jung (Pontiac) and others, Zavada says, “We call the category Innovative Missional Ministry, but they take it to the next level and implement those within their communities. So whatever they need financial support for, we’re here to try to provide so they can carry out their vision for their ministries.”

The generosity of Michigan district donors has been outstanding. Zavada said that at one point during the pandemic he was really worried, wondering if and how congregations and individuals would be able to respond and continue to fund the campaign at a level that would take it to the goal and hopefully exceed it. He concludes: “But they did. The donors of the Michigan District are generous, generous people. They respond when there’s a need to respond and they respond at high levels.”

Michigan District President, Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier adds, “When you start and you realize that this campaign is coming on the heels of a previous campaign, you wonder how successful it’s going to be… and then Covid hits! That did lengthen the campaign a bit, but Ray Zavada is a gem. He loves the Lord, and I know he and [his wife] Cindy have prayed for this campaign, but to see some of the larger gifts come in that enabled us to get past the $10 million dollar mark is amazing. And the fact that the Church Extension Fund is a part of that—every million dollar we collect, they give us $100,000—what a generous, God-blessed ministry they are.”

The support from Church Extension Fund (CEF) was trifold. Not only did it provide the 10% match in donations, but it also gave the District a grant of $350,000 to cover campaign expenses so that every dollar donated would go towards its intended goal. Additionally, CEF covered all expenses of the 2017 celebratory worship service held at the Breslin Center in Lansing to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation—a memorable event that had over 13,000 people in attendance.

During the upcoming Michigan District Convention, Zavada will give a final report on the campaign, in what he calls a “soft closing”—the real closing will happen when people no longer donate. So the campaign continues, and you may still contribute. To donate online, go to And if this is not your way of gifting, feel free to do it the old-fashioned way: write a check, put it in an envelope and send to Michigan District, LCMS; 3773 Geddes Rd.; Ann Arbor MI 48105.

President Maier concludes, “With the congregations that were involved* and the individual donors who were excited about the various goals, to cross the finish line of $10 million and to still reach for more is a tremendous blessing of the Lord, and I think it’s a benediction upon the ministries that the Michigan District is conducting. We did not seek God’s blessing upon what we were doing—we wanted to seek God first and do what He wanted to bless. And I really believe that is what has been taking place here. May God be praised for His goodness and generosity through His people.”

Photo by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS



Addison, Lutheran Church of the Lakes

Adrian, St. John

Alpena, Immanuel

Ann Arbor, Peace

Ann Arbor, St. Luke

Ann Arbor, St. Paul

Au Gres, St. John

Bad Axe, Our Savior

Baldwin, Grace

Battle Creek, St. Mark

Battle Creek, Redemption

Bay City, Faith

Bay City, Immanuel

Bay City, Zion

Belding, Holy Cross

Belleville, Open Arms

Birch Run, St. Martin

Birmingham, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

Birmingham, Our Shepherd

Bloomfield Hills, Cross of Christ

Boyne City, Christ

Brighton, Shepherd of the Lakes

Britton, Emmanuel

Brooklyn, St. Mark

Bruce Twp. (Romeo), Grace Lutheran Fellowship

Buchanan, St. Paul

Buchanan, Trinity

Burton, Pilgrim

Cadillac, Emmanuel

Caledonia, St. Paul

Canton, Grace

Carson City, Calvary

Cass City, Good Shepherd

Centreville, St. Paul

Charlotte, First

Cheboygan, St. John

Chelsea, Our Savior

Clare, Prince of Peace

Clinton Twp., Trinity

Clio, Messiah

Colon, St. Paul

Conklin, Trinity

Coopersville, Grace

Davison, Trinity

Dearborn, Atonement

Dearborn, Guardian

Detroit, Historic Trinity

East Lansing, Ascension

Eastpointe, St. Peter

Eastpointe, St. Thomas

Engadine, Bethlehem

Fenton, Trinity

Flat Rock, Community

Flint, Calvary

Flint, Lamb of God

Flint, Our Savior

Flint, St. Mark

Frankenmuth, St. Lorenz

Fremont, Redeemer

Gaylord, Trinity

Germfask, Grace

Glen Arbor, Bethlehem

Glennie, Our Savior

Grand Blanc, Faith

Grand Haven, St. John

Grand Rapids, Immanuel

Grand Rapids, Our Savior

Grand Rapids, St. James

Grand Rapids, St. Matthew

Grayling, Mount Hope

Greenville, Mount Calvary

Hamburg, St. Paul

Harrison, St. Luke

Haslett, St. Luke

Hawks, Faith

Hemlock, St. Peter

Hemlock, Zion

Highland, Faith

Hillman, St. John

Hillsdale, St. Paul

Holland, Christ Our Savior

Holland, Zion

Houghton Lake, St. John

Howell, Heart of the Shepherd

Hudsonville, New Hope

Huntington Woods, Huntington Woods

Interlochen, Redeemer

Jackson, Trinity

Jenison, Holy Cross

Jenison, St. John

Kalamazoo, Immanuel

Kalamazoo, Zion

Kentwood, St. Mark

Lansing, Good Shepherd

Lansing, Our Savior

Lansing, Trinity

Lapeer, St. Paul

Leland, Immanuel

Lewiston, Bethlehem

Lincoln Park, Calvary

Linden, Hope

Livonia, Christ Our Savior

Ludington, St. John

Macomb, Immanuel

Macomb, St. Peter

Mancelona, St. Matthew

Marysville, Light of Christ

Mesick, Faith

Midland, Our Savior

Midland, St. John’s

Milan, St. Paul

Milford, Christ

Millington, St. Paul

Minden City, Trinity

Monroe, Grace

Monroe, Trinity

Mt. Pleasant, Zion

Munger, Trinity-St. James

Muskegon, Trinity

New Baltimore, Christ

New Boston, St. Paul

Newberry, Trinity

Newport, Christ Our Shepherd

Northville, St. Paul

Nunica, St. Luke

Onaway, Holy Cross

Oscoda, Trinity

Otisville, St. Timothy

Oxford, Journey

Petoskey, Zion

Pinckney, Trinity

Pinconning, St. John

Pontiac, St. Paul Community

Port Hope, St. John

Port Huron, Trinity

Portage, St. Michael

Portland, St. Andrew

Redford, Hosanna-Tabor

Reed City, Trinity

Richmond, St. Peter

Richville, St. Michael

Rochester, Living Word

Rochester, St. John

Rochester Hills, Crown of Life

Rochester Hills, Gethsemane

Rockford, St. Peter

Rogers City, Peace

Roseville, Bethlehem

Saginaw, Bethlehem

Saginaw, Good Shepherd

Saginaw, Holy Cross

Saginaw, Immanuel of Frankentrost

Saginaw, St. Mark

Saint Johns, St. John

Saline, Christ Our King

Scottville, Our Savior

Sebewaing, Immanuel

Shelby Township, Peace

South Lyon, Cross of Christ

Southgate, Christ the King

St. Helen, Hope

St. Ignace, Hope

St. Joseph, Trinity

Stevensville, Christ

Sturgis, Trinity

Taylor, St. John

Three Rivers, St. Peter’s

Traverse City, Trinity

Trenton, St. Paul

Troy, Faith

Utica, Trinity

Walled Lake, St. Matthew

Warren, Hope

Waterford, Peace

Wayne, St. Michael

Wellston, Beautiful Savior

West Bloomfield, St. Mark

West Branch, St. John

Westland, St. Matthew

Whitehall, Faith

Wyandotte, Trinity


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This blog is published by the Communications Department of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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