Keeping it 500

October 2017
Jamie Lennon, CFRE

This All Hallows’ Eve, many Christians around the world will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, legend has it that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany — an event that sparked the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Lester Methuselah GutenbergThe Protestant movement and the lessons of the 95 Theses are as relevant today as they were in 1517. They remind us that we are justified by faith through God’s grace, and not by our accomplishments. What lessons does the Reformation teach us, as members of the Christian development community, that we can use in our work with ALDE and our member organizations?

As the ELCA has chosen to highlight in its celebrations of this year’s special anniversary, we are a Church Always Reforming. This is a key lesson for us as development professionals. We are always reforming our departments — to strive for a greater relationship with our program staff, our donors, our clients, and our stakeholders. We are always reforming our organizations — to fulfill our respective missions. We are always reforming ourselves — to fulfill the promise of a closer relationship with God.

ALDE has undergone major reformations in the last few years, resulting in a clearer definition of mission and purpose. We are seeing more members from various faith backgrounds and from organizations with different affiliations, including members serving Catholic missions, a zoo, and an association for nursing professionals.  

What greater response is there to the legacy of Martin Luther than to work toward a greater understanding of mission and purpose? To be a presence in the work of member organizations across a breadth of traditions and service areas and Spark Generosity for Mission — this is the reforming work of ALDE!

Jamie Lennon, CFRE, is Development Director of LSS of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Pictured is Les Stahlke at the 1993 ALDE International Educational Conference, Build on a Rock, in Banff, Alberta. He is playing his fictional character Lester Methuselah Gutenberg, Luther's Last Surviving Classmate, sharing his recollections of studying with Luther.