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The LCMS Foundation encourages God’s people to respond to the presence of God’s gifts in one’s estate by putting together a gift plan that looks to bless the family we love and the ministries that are close to our hearts. Without planning, and unless they are spelled out in wills/trusts or detailed in beneficiary designations for investments, IRA’s, insurance contracts or even one’s house, such desires are only wishes and may not happen

The two most important questions you want to answer are:

  • How do I want this gift (inheritance) to bless family members? Starting from that goal, you can construct a plan of blessing.
  • How do I want this gift (bequest) to bless the ministry or ministries I care about? You might think of placing restrictions on how those gifts will be used.

There is a fine line between Godly planning and trying to become God ourselves. We don’t want family to waste God’s gifts. We want to make sure that future needs of family are addressed. We want to make sure that gifts to ministry will do more than purchase new bushes for the parking lot. But how do I know when I am getting too restrictive about the gifts I am planning, either withholding family gifts well into the future that could really jumpstart an education or career today or planning gifts for ministry that reflect values that are not widely held by others in that ministry, potentially orphaning my gifts with too many restrictions?

There is no easy answer to these questions. The process begins and ends with prayer, with prayer throughout, as we seek God’s will. In a perfect world, a family inheritance will include discussion with children, grandchildren or other heirs. Planned ministry gifts will include discussion with ministry leaders to gain a clear vision for future ministry plans. Connecting gifts with those plans will maximize their effectiveness.

Your LCMS Foundation Gift Planning Counselor can be helpful with all of this, asking you the right questions in your quest to put together the right plan for family and ministry. Most of all, we desire this process to recognize throughout that all these gifts are the Lord’s gifts. Our questions center around the theme, “How can these gifts of the Lord bless others in the best way?”

Jason Jones, CGP, CDE, is Saint John’s Gift Planning Counselor. Jason works with individuals in our congregation who want to discover the lifetime plan that God has planted in their heart. He will help them to use this plan to Transfer the Blessings God has given them to their family and the ministries they love. This service comes to you at no cost as a member of Saint John’s. To schedule a free meeting with Jason or ask questions about this special opportunity, visit www.StJohnsFC.org/transfer-the-blessings, call (970) 988-0305 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..