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Making a Difference, One Gift at a Time
A Portrait of Two Lutheran Educators
As a newly-married couple some 30 years ago, Deb and Don Christian sat down and talked about what outreach ministries they would support. Don’s brother suggested they take a look at the work that Wheat Ridge Ministries was doing. Deb had known about Wheat Ridge since she was a child and had great confidence in its mission to improve health and human care.
Yet, as Lutheran educators, they knew they would never be wealthy and could not make a major gift. Could they still make an impact? Their decision was, unequivocally, yes! Deb and Don, who live near Austin, Texas, have been giving a modest gift each month for 30 years.
“We knew we couldn’t do everything but we could do something that would have an impact,” says Deb.
The couple chose to support Wheat Ridge because, as Deb says, “There is a trust level and I know that my dollars will go to good use. Wheat Ridge does what Don and I can’t do, whether it is going to Africa or another continent to do its work or to support an urban ministry in the U.S. I love the fact, for example, that Wheat Ridge is helping vets who have returned from service and are trying to get back on their feet.”
As educators – Don is the dean of the business school at Concordia University, Austin, and Deb is an English teacher and college counselor at Concordia High School in Austin – both have devoted their lives to Christian education, developing young people and nurturing leadership at a young age. So they support Wheat Ridge’s concept of funding innovative programs and encouraging inspired leaders.
Don likes the fact that Wheat Ridge provides seed funding to new organizations are focused on addressing social needs that have gone unmet. “I am interested in how can we do things better. Deb is the same way,” says Don.
Strong leadership is crucial to any organization, says Brian Becker, Vice President of Ministries for Wheat Ridges. “Time and time again, we see that the caliber of leadership is one of the most important elements of the success of a new ministry,” he explains. “Frequently, we see a person who is touched by something in their community – whether it pertains to issues of homelessness or a senior citizen without insurance – and is inspired to do something. Our role at Wheat Ridge is to help put resources around that person so they have time to build a vital Christian enterprise.”