A Head for Finance...A Heart for Ministry
Casey Carlson, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) - Missouri District Vice President, worked in traditional banking for 15 years, honing his skills and expertise and serving in the private sector. He always felt inspired by the work of LCEF but didn’t necessarily believe he’d be a part of it one day. Then in 2016, he learned of a vacancy in Missouri and he got the job.
At its core, the work is similar to his previous career, garnering investors to trust him and LCEF with their money, and then lending that money out. However, the ultimate goal is helping ministries prosper and fulfill their mission of what God’s call them to do, wherever they’re serving. He says, “It’s truly an amazing experience and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it.”
Introduction to LCEF
Lutheran Church Extension Fund is the financial arm of LCMS congregations, schools and other organizations. Incorporated in 1977, LCEF now has almost $1.9 billion in assets, in addition to approximately $1.5 billion in active loans, helping ministries thrive and grow.
On Being Part of the Missouri District Team
Carlson describes his presence in the Missouri District office as “vitally important. Our missions are aligned, not only with LCEF and LCMS as a whole, but when you drill down to the district level. I’m on the executive team here and in all our meetings, talking about how we can engage and serve our congregations.”
Carlson thrives on the variety of service opportunities in his role. He says, “I could be here in the office or I could be traveling to the other side of the state. I could be going to a council or committee meeting in the evening somewhere. So you never know where you’re going to be as a district vicepresident, but that’s what I find exciting—to go where the work is and where people are asking me to walk alongside them.”
What He Loves About his Job
Seeing ministries grow is awesome, but Carlson gets especially excited when he sees them think outside the box. “You really have to be adaptive to what’s going on out there,” he says. “It’s truly awesome to see how they connect to the people around them.”
Carlson is currently working with Zion Lutheran Church in Maryland Heights, MO, on an LCEF-financed project. The congregation is renovating the lower level to make a coffee shop. The pastor recognized the potential of their location, which gets passed by 30,000 cars a day, as well as the need for a local coffee shop, Higher Groundz.
Looking at communities today, Carlson observes some changes that indicate the necessity for creative outreach from churches. “Institutions are changing, he says. “You’ve got to think of the church as an institution. Our lives are changing. We’re just so busy. Myself included. I have five kids, we have so many
different activities going on. Everyone is asking for a piece of your pie, of your time dividend.”
He points out that twenty years ago, the church was the center of influence, but that’s not the case any longer. Carlson says churches have to think in new ways to attract people, because they’re not simply going to walk into worship unprompted.