This is not a raffle ticket

This summer there are over 600 people (youth and adults) headed for the ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. Not only is it one of the biggest gatherings of its kind in the country in any given year, it also happens to be the largest single gathering of ELCA adults.

As Kate Mattson, our new director of Youth and Family Ministries, and I looked at the needs of the people going, we determined that about $30,000 of synod support was necessary to make sure that everyone would be able to attend.

$30,000 is a lot of money. It will not happen with an extra synod-wide Sunday offering. So how does the synod raise that kind of money?

I had an idea – some of you may have experienced what is called a “50/50 raffle”. They have them at Brewer’s games all the time. Essentially, you buy a raffle ticket during the game and then in the later innings there is a drawing.  The Brewers get half the pot and some lucky fan gets the other half.

I like the concept, although we in the ELCA are not into raffles. WE ARE INTO STEWARDSHIP.

Therefore I am proposing the First Annual 50/50 This Is Not A Raffle.  (I even checked with the ELCA lawyers to make sure it is both legal and ethical.)

This is how it works. The challenge will be to sell at least 6,000 $10 this-is-not-a-raffle tickets. If they are all sold, there will be a pot of at least $60,000.  $30,000 will go to support congregations and individuals who are attending the Gathering. For the other 50%, there will be a drawing of three names at the 2012 synod assembly.

Those three winners will be asked to help steer the remaining $30,000 toward ELCA ministries, choosing from a list of:

  1. Any ELCA congregation (including their own)
  2. Greater Milwaukee Synod Campus Ministries
  3. Outreach for Hope
  4. Our global partnerships in Tanzania and El Salvador
  5. The ELCA Malaria campaign

Since no one will receive any personal financial gain, all of the ticket sales (i.e. contributions) remain tax deductible.

I think it is a great way, not only to support the Gathering, but to lift up vital ministries within our church. I think it also reminds us that stewardship can be fun! In fact, I think it’s such a good idea, I am willing to put $1,000 personally toward the First Annual 50/50 this-is-not-a-raffle!
Bishop Jeff

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