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The Wind of the Spirit Fund

Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared my conversation with Cheryl Gieseke, a champion for PLI and young pastors and spouses. Last week we discussed the process Cheryl used to evaluate PLI and determine if it was an organization she wanted to support. She said it “checked all the boxes!” This week, we conclude the conversation by talking about her donor advised fund and her own spiritual journey.

Cheryl, you’ve set up a donor advised fund! More and more people are using this instrument to leverage their charitable giving since the change in tax laws a few years ago. You call it your Wind of the Spirit Fund. And you’re using it to scholarship these pastors/couples in PLI.

Cheryl: This all started a few years ago when I was starting to plan my retirement. I had a few gaps to close up. I wanted to make things simpler. The idea came from my financial advisor who is a committed Christian.

If I remember correctly you had some stock that had appreciated quite a bit?

Cheryl: This is a total “God thing!” It gave me the courage to move forward with what was on my heart to do for pastors…and maybe other things. I generally don’t invest in the stock market, but years ago I had made an investment in some ethanol stock. I just let it sit there. So, in this process I sold the stock. It was an incredible amount of money—for me it was an incredible amount of money.

Like everything else, I see it as God’s money. My advisor explained the benefits of the donor advised fund. I call it my “Wind of the Spirit” fund. If I see something, like PLI, that comes along that I’d like to give toward, I already have monies to do it!

The more I came to understand the challenges that pastors (and now spouses) are facing; God gave me the capacity to do something about it.

Cheryl, I not only hear the joy in your heart for how these pastors and spouses are benefiting, but also the joy you have in giving to help it happen.

Cheryl: It’s really not a lot of money compared to a lot of people, I suppose, but it’s my little windfall. I see it all as a “God thing!” I really like to give toward developing leaders. More R & D type of things. Lots of people will always give to brick and mortar.

If I give it all away in my lifetime? Great. If there’s money left, I’ve given my nieces and nephews a list of things I’d like them to consider and I hope they have the joy of giving Aunt Cheryl’s money. And, I hope they experience the heart of generosity.

Cheryl, let’s shift directions for a moment. Tell me about your own journey of faith that finds you here, and what pastors have meant in your journey.

Cheryl: I did “Saturday school,” which lead to confirmation. My dad was always a leader in our congregation. I remember being convicted when I was in college that I had never read the Bible cover to cover. I was spending lots of money on textbooks, reading them cover to cover to be prepared for a profession but never reading my Bible to be prepared for life!

After college I joined a church. Did the mechanical thing. Served on our church’s school board. Our new pastor that came was very missional. Emphasized getting outside the walls of the church. Emphasized sharing our faith. He also set in motion a Bible overview course called “Crossways” that gave me an understanding of the entire biblical narrative centered around Jesus.

We’ve had other pastors who’ve been instrumental in my faith development. And a great blessing in my life. I wouldn’t be doing this with PLI if it weren’t for one of my pastors.

Cheryl, thanks for an incredible interview! My hope is that not only your generosity but also your heart for the leadership development of pastors and spouses will encourage and inspire, that they can do impactful Kingdom things that they never allowed themselves to imagine.

Over the years I’ve met many people like Cheryl, and I’m so grateful for each one of them and the parts they play in supporting and encouraging the training of pastors and spouses. I hope Cheryl’s story has encouraged you, and maybe inspired you, too. If you would like to make a gift to PLI or discuss how you can set up a donor advised fund or support PLI in other ways, contact Rika by email or phone at 814-221-0755.

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