Lutheran Hour Ministries

Summary

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is an outreach service of the International Lutheran Laymen's League, a membership organization of around 75,000 supporters. As an auxiliary of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Lutheran Church-Canada, LHM is proud to extend the mission and ministry of these two church bodies as a trusted resource in global media that equips and engages a vibrant volunteer base to passionately proclaim the Gospel to more than 136 million people worldwide each week. Through its North American headquarters and ministry centers on six continents, LHM reaches into more than 50 countries, often bringing Christ to places where no other Christian evangelistic organizations are present. LHM's flagship broadcast, The Lutheran Hour®, airs weekly on more than 1,800 radio stations throughout North America as well as the American Forces Network.

Support for the work of LHM is provided by individuals and partner congregations; no denominational support is received. LHM's membership supports an annual budget of more than $30 million. The organization is a nonprofit and contributions to it are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Contact information

Mailing address:
660 Mason Ridge Center Dr.
St Louis, MO 63141-8557

Website: www.lhm.org

Phone: (800) 876-9880

Email: lh_min@lhm.org


Organization details

EIN: 430653365

CEO/President: Mr. Kurt Buchholz

Chairman: Dr. Phillip Johnson

Board size: 14

Founder:

Year founded: 1917

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 05/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Purpose

God has called Lutheran Hour Ministries to proclaim the risen Savior around the world. This ministry began at the grassroots level in 1917 as the Lutheran Laymen's League, a group of 12 laypeople who came together to support the church in word and deed.

Today, LHM's members and partners come together to meet the greatest challenge of the 21st century, which is to proclaim messages of hope in the name of Jesus Christ.

The nations of this world are complex and diverse. That's why LHM employs local staff and works with local volunteers in more than 35 locations worldwide to develop culturally relevant programs and resources that proclaim the Gospel to the unchurched in more than 50 nations on six continents. These ministry centers engage the passion and efforts of tens of thousands of lay volunteers in our shared outreach goals.

However, with billions of people still unreached with the Gospel message around the world, our work is not done. We are called to act now! The Lord has given this ministry a unique understanding of how to reach, equip, and minister to individuals so that our focus remains to be people who lack the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ.

In order to achieve its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations-and the Nations to the Church, LHM has identified four strategic priorities:

  • Energizing, equipping, and engaging laity for outreach;
  • Growing God's kingdom through expanded media outreach;
  • Bringing the Gospel to the unreached around the world; and
  • Engaging communities in the digital mission field.

Mission statement

Lutheran Hour Ministries expresses its mission and vision as follows:

Our Mission Statement: Bringing Christ to the Nations-and the Nations to the Church

Christ to the Nations: LHM develops culturally relevant programs and projects that proclaim the Gospel to the unchurched, encouraging those people who are reached through these ministry efforts to respond by contacting staff or volunteers.

Nations to the Church: LHM then cultivates relationships with those who respond to ultimately facilitate a relationship between them and a congregation, thus helping grow the kingdom of God.

Our Vision:

  • Every person has the opportunity to hear the Gospel in an understandable way;
  • New believers are connected to a faithful Christian community where they can grow in their faith and witness; and
  • All Christians reach out in love to those who don't yet know the Savior.

Statement of faith

What Lutherans Believe ...Briefly

  • The Bible is the written Word of God and is without error. It tells us everything we need to know about God's love and His gifts to us.
  • There is only one God, the Triune God, who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We all fall short of God's expectations because we are born sinful. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
  • We need a Savior to save us from eternal damnation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, resisted temptation, fulfilled God's Laws, and suffered and died for our sins. Through His resurrection, He won hope and heaven for all who believe.
  • It is through faith, not works, that we are saved. There is nothing we can do by our own power to be saved. We can only be saved if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We simply receive what is already being offered out of God's great love and mercy. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • God has provided tangible ways through which He delivers His grace to those who believe. God's Word, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper (Communion) are the "means of grace." Through these means, God reveals Himself to us in a personal way and shows Himself through a personal relationship with every believer. - Good works cannot save us from eternal damnation. Good works are done out of praise and obedience to the Lord. Because we believe in Jesus and God's great gift of eternal life, we do good works to show our appreciation to God.


To read the full doctrinal position of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, please visit www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/doctrine/brief-statement-of-lcms-doctrinal-position

Transparency grade

D

To understand our transparency grade, click here.


Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Educational Media

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating469 of 49446 of 51
Fund acquisition rating462 of 49443 of 51
Resource allocation rating413 of 49438 of 51
Asset utilization rating359 of 49439 of 51

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20192018201720162015
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
8%19%16%19%18%16%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
6%19%15%16%18%15%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
95%100%93%85%100%95%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
6%17%17%17%17%16%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
5%0%7%15%0%5%
 
Operating ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20192018201720162015
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
82%74%76%76%77%77%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
99%109%89%94%107%92%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
80%80%68%72%82%70%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
1%-9%11%6%-7%8%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
2%-6%8%5%-4%6%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
11%9%7%7%7%7%
 
Investing ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20192018201720162015
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
1.190.580.510.560.560.52
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.521.751.751.911.931.88
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
2.311.010.901.061.070.97
 
Liquidity ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20192018201720162015
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
9.1218.7024.0610.6020.7014.65
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.100.050.040.090.050.07
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
4.4111.2612.7610.2310.6511.55
 
Solvency ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20192018201720162015
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
10%22%20%21%20%20%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%14%13%0%12%11%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
70%136%155%142%145%155%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20192018201720162015
Cash$1,063,133$2,462,673$662,646$1,007,387$857,187
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$5,638,899$5,035,078$4,322,241$4,881,426$3,931,614
Short-term investments$26,762,456$27,416,563$25,907,960$23,507,384$26,947,031
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$33,464,488$34,914,314$30,892,847$29,396,197$31,735,832
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$14,997,989$14,971,969$15,437,027$15,769,452$15,936,644
Other long-term assets$10,177,038$11,349,496$12,570,840$11,649,732$11,941,508
Total long-term assets$25,175,027$26,321,465$28,007,867$27,419,184$27,878,152
Total assets$58,639,515$61,235,779$58,900,714$56,815,381$59,613,984
 
Liabilities20192018201720162015
Payables and accrued expenses$901,975$764,942$1,996,154$660,041$1,020,962
Other current liabilities$887,257$686,398$917,117$760,034$1,144,825
Total current liabilities$1,789,232$1,451,340$2,913,271$1,420,075$2,165,787
Debt$8,000,000$8,000,000$0$6,800,000$6,800,000
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$2,947,285$3,079,610$9,479,652$2,879,450$2,881,750
Total long-term liabilities$10,947,285$11,079,610$9,479,652$9,679,450$9,681,750
Total liabilities$12,736,517$12,530,950$12,392,923$11,099,525$11,847,537
 
Net assets20192018201720162015
Unrestricted$19,083,394$21,835,633$19,111,337$21,222,416$22,080,582
Temporarily restricted$6,980,492$8,103,594$7,843,395$6,889,428$8,276,777
Permanently restricted$19,839,112$18,765,602$19,553,059$17,604,012$17,409,088
Net assets$45,902,998$48,704,829$46,507,791$45,715,856$47,766,447
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20192018201720162015
Total contributions$30,966,762$33,003,305$29,564,055$29,575,508$31,893,548
Program service revenue$181,919$259,342$295,718$343,039$279,663
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income($358,661)$1,971,767$2,714,113($475,461)$1,018,469
Other revenue$158,401$273,907$2,389,418$43,396$277,373
Total other revenue($18,341)$2,505,016$5,399,249($89,026)$1,575,505
Total revenue$30,948,421$35,508,321$34,963,304$29,486,482$33,469,053
 
Expenses20192018201720162015
Program services$24,817,273$24,020,492$25,023,972$24,138,017$23,580,028
Management and general$3,136,614$2,222,050$2,195,979$2,166,695$2,105,688
Fundraising$5,796,365$5,222,675$5,585,222$5,232,361$5,046,809
Total expenses$33,750,252$31,465,217$32,805,173$31,537,073$30,732,525
 
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)($2,801,831)$4,043,104$2,158,131($2,050,591)$2,736,528
Other changes in net assets$0($1,846,066)($1,366,196)$0$0
Total change in net assets($2,801,831)$2,197,038$791,935($2,050,591)$2,736,528

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


History

1917 - The Lutheran Laymen's League (LLL) is founded by 12 laypeople committed to helping support The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in word and deed.

1930 - The first broadcast of The Lutheran Hour airs from Cleveland, Ohio, with Dr. Walter A. Maier as Speaker.

1940 - The Lutheran Laymen's League opens its first international ministry center in the Philippines.

1941 - The Lutheran Hour begins to broadcast in Spanish with Dr. Andrew Melendez as Speaker of this broadcast.

1945 - The Lutheran Hour is the largest regularly scheduled broadcast in the world.

1952 - The television debut of the award-winning This is the Life.

1971 - The LLL airs its first animated seasonal television special.

1992 - The International Lutheran Laymen's League begins using the name Lutheran Hour Ministries to describe its global outreach efforts.

2015 - LHM embarks on a five-year global SENT Initiative to proclaim the Gospel to the billions of people who are waiting to hear the saving message of Christ.

2020 - LHM continues to share Christ with those who have not heard the Gospel and empowers and equips the priesthood of all believers to share their faith with others to grow the community of Christians.


Program accomplishments

  • LHM has nearly tripled its weekly Gospel reach over the past five years and now reaches more than 136 million people around the world each week.
  • Locally produced radio broadcasts reach tens of millions of people on six continents.
  • The Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age monograph produced in partnership with Barna Group was recognized by Outreach Magazine in March 2019 as its Resource of the Year for Evangelism. Technology and rapid cultural shifts may have altered the face of evangelism, but the call to bring Christ to the nations remains. This report tracks what has changed so that church leaders can coach Christians to be effective in sharing the unchanging Good News.
  • After a successful year of resource development, presentations, and conversations around Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, LHM released a timely kit of resources in March 2020 based on our second year of partner research with Barna Group under the theme of Households of Faith. This research looks at Christian households in America and how faith is nurtured with the spouses, children, parents, roommates, and even frequent visitors who spend time under our roofs.
  • Around 1.2 million people throughout North America listen to The Lutheran Hour radio broadcast each week. In addition to airing on more than 1,800 traditional radio stations throughout North America, The Lutheran Hour is also being heard today on new media platforms such as a mobile app, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Sirius XM satellite radio. In 2019, a sister podcast titled Speaking of Jesus was launched.
  • LHM continues to reach disengaged and unchurched individuals who increasingly go online to learn, connect, and even build relationships. Video views in our online community of THRED increased more than 120,000 from last year, our Vivenciar.net platform in South America had nearly 325,000 people visit the site for the first time, and social media outreach in the Middle East and North Africa shared millions of messages that reached tens of millions of people, with nearly 500,000 now following one of our regional outreach pages.
  • LHM trained nearly 95,000 people in evangelism last year through online courses, in-person workshops, and other training resources and materials.
  • Nearly 60,000 individuals enroll for the first time each year in Bible Correspondence Courses produced by LHM ministry centers around the world.
  • LHM refers around 58,000 people each year to churches and Christian communities around the world.
  • More than 45,000 people subscribe to receive LHM's Daily Devotions via email.
  • More than 30,000 elementary and middle school students participate in our annual Gospel Adventures program to see firsthand how the Gospel is shared in another part of the world.

Needs