About Mission Central’s Thanksgiving Mailing

(A note from Mark Hofman) As almost everyone knows, Mission Central sends only one appeal letter each year. Made possible by dozens of volunteers and even a donation of the postage, this letter of joy and possibility is eagerly anticipated by all those who want to tell others about Jesus through a personal or group gift. This year, however, just over 800 people did not receive that anticipated mailing at Thanksgiving.

Through a bit of a miracle, they – and perhaps you, dear reader – will be receiving it right around New Years Eve. Gary has given me permission to post this news update to help explain what happened. 

What some do not know is that The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod service center in St. Louis plays a part in that mailing as well. Technology has taken the place of typed mailing labels and hand-addressed envelopes, and paper files for record-keeping. Missionary Gary and Rev. Steve Schulz, try as they might, could not by themselves send letters to the thousands of people who express their joy in Christ through a connect to Mission Central.

Using today’s technology, the LCMS both prints the outer envelopes for Mission Central and then prints the names of recipients on those envelopes. Unfortunately the process used this year to do that filtered out (blocked) 800+ individuals and groups who had asked the LCMS to not send them mail, most not realizing that respecting such a request would affect Mission Central’s annual mailing.

God is still good. As Gary, Sonya and Steve were contacted by people concerned they had not receive Mission Central’s letter, Gary and Steve reached out to us. It took some time to diagnose what had happened, and some extra time to print new envelopes. It will take more time after New Years Day to figure out how we can move forward in a way that respects each contributor’s wishes about what mail they wish to receive, hopeful and prayerful that we can overcome some challenging limitations. Be assured: we will continue to lift up and support Mission Central as an important facet of the Synod’s work to tell others about Jesus. I am so thankful for Gary’s patience and understanding as, together, we learn how to best serve those who love their Lord Jesus and want others to know Him as well.

Since 2011, Mission Central has been and continues to be an integral part of one team – Mission Advancement – brought together to serve God’s people, sharing the same commitments for which Mission Central is known.

Although no harm or offense was intended, I sincerely apologize to and ask for forgiveness from all who were affected this year (1 John 1:8). Please reach out to me directly if you have questions, ideas or concerns that should be heard. We are committed to getting this right for Gary’s sake, and yours. I, too, have that famous picture of my boss hanging over my desk (right), just as Gary does, a picture given to me by my missionary grandfather.

Mark Hofman
Executive Director, LCMS Mission Advancement
(and Gary’s co-worker for the Gospel)
Direct Phone: (314) 409-7715

Philippians 4:17  ESV



A bit about me (Mark). Raised Lutheran in western Colorado under a father who is a retired LCMS pastor, church planter and district missionary-at-large (and who himself is the son of a sainted LCMS pastor/missionary to South America) I graduated from Concordia University Nebraska with a degree in secondary education. After graduation I served the university in its admissions office for six years. I then started a short period teaching, first at Lutheran High School in New Orleans, then Word of Life Lutheran School in St. Louis. In 1995 I was called out of a 7th grade classroom to serve in the development/advancement office at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis where I learned how Lutheran theology is connected to voluntary charitable giving. Toward the end of a sixteen year tenure there, and after earning a masters in business administration at a nearby university, I accepted a call by the Synod to serve as the first executive director of a new unit which is now called Mission Advancement. Under God’s will, Mission Central was attached to Mission Advancement by action of the Synod in Convention when it approved a restructuring in 2010. Prior to that, Mission Central was part of the then LCMS World Mission and the Board for Mission Services, which was dissolved in the restructuring. My wife is a Lutheran elementary school teacher, still serving at Word of Life Lutheran, and we have a 14-year-old son who attends Lutheran High School South in St. Louis. My family and I, too, labor to tell others about Jesus.