A Perfect Storm: How One Lutheran Educator Paved the Way for Growing Lutheran Schools
Bob Storm was a pioneer for Lutheran education. Perhaps it’s a trait passed down from his grandfather, who came from Germany to the American frontier to meet the growing demand for Lutheran pastors.
While his grandfather was leading Lutheran churches on the prairies of Kansas, years later, Storm would pave the way for Lutheran secondary schools nationwide to be built and flourish with the help of Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF).
A financial pioneer
It started in 1983 when he was called to serve as Executive Director of the Lutheran High School Association of Orange County (LHSAOC). One year later, he led the school through a new construction project.
“We were building a gym and adding some classrooms,” he said. “I had been working with CTCR (Commission on Theology and Church Relations) for many years and got to know Jerry Wendt (who served as Sr. Vice President of Loans and Real Estate at LCEF). One day, I asked about the chances of putting together a loan for (LHSAOC).”
At the time, LCEF had existed for only six years. Storm and Wendt set out to create the terms for LHSAOC’s loans by charting new waters.
“It took a little bit of organization,” Storm said. Not only did each of the 22 congregations in the Orange County association need to approve the request for a loan, they were also obligated to promote congregational investments to LCEF.
The response was overwhelming. Members invested more than $1 million in less than one year. LCEF recognized them for their commitment to supporting Lutheran ministries.
Once the loan was approved, Storm said he “had to write the document for how to qualify and get the loan so other churches and high schools would be able to do the same thing.” His efforts enabled Lutheran high schools to receive loans from LCEF for years.
A love for Lutheran work
It was one of many professional and personal experiences Storm has had with LCEF. He and his wife, Mary, who also taught in Lutheran schools, opened their first investment account with LCEF. At the same time, he served as assistant to the superintendent of the Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee from 1975-83.
“We had decided that if we were going to put our money to work, we just assume do it with an organization that is doing something for the Lord’s work, rather than a bank that’s going to be loaning to anybody,” Storm said. “We can let our dollars grow at LCEF, which is a good feature for the investor, and the church is growing at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.”
More recently, the Storms, who attend Mary’s childhood church, Immanuel Lutheran in St. Charles, Mo., elected to make a planned gift to LCEF. Once again, they’re paving the way for Lutheran ministries to start and thrive.
“We’ve had a good amount of value and growth in investments with LCEF, and we thank the Lord for that,” Storm said. “We figured we would put it back into LCEF. Investing with LCEF was good for us, and we decided to continue to support the church’s work.”
Join us in thanking the Storms for their long, faithful dedication to the work of the LCMS.