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Case Studies

Case Study #1 Oaks Indian Mission Threatened To Be Closed.

Before GSB was a firm, back in early 1976, the National Office of the American Lutheran Church, the primary funding agency of Oaks, send Bob Gronlund in to do an Analysis and Survey. Under Oaks’ purview was a school, a children’s home for Native children, and a Lutheran congregation… all under the supervision of one board of directors and an executive director.

Upon Bob’s recommendation the three entities were split up, each gathering its own board and staff. The recommendation worked.

Today Oaks Mission School is a public school and one of the leading educational facilities in Oklahoma. Eben-Ezer Lutheran Church functions separately and successfully as a congregation of the ELCA. Oaks Indian Mission is the name of the Children’s Home which provides loving care to up to 48 children.

From 1976 through 2009 continuously GSB served as consultant to Oaks Indian Mission providing a variety of services – annual fund development, capital campaigns, strategic planning, board development, public relations, executive search and coaching.

Oaks has moved from the brink of financial disaster in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s to a position of strength and health today. A vibrant annual fund, a growing endowment fund, and a committed core of friends across the country give Oaks reason to be optimistic about the future.


Case Study #2.  Woodlake Lutheran Church: Big Step. No Money.

The congregation voted to add a second pastor but there was no budget for this action. GSB, in response to the pastor’s request for help, offered to teach the pastor and committee how to do their own stewardship program, to learn the principles and skills of productive stewardship, and  address their challenge.

The congregation, in a first ring suburb, was in a changing neighborhood with many key members in or nearing retirement age. The first year giving increased by 19%, up from $382,000 to $457,000.

Over the next five years the council became more forward and vision oriented. The pastor became highly skilled at putting together the annual story for the stewardship effort and leading the stewardship program. Members grew in their excitement and joy of asking each other for gifts and offerings.

After five years the giving had increased by 57%, up to $600,000. And in that time a $750,000 capital campaign was successful, using much of what they learned from GSB.


Case Study #3.  Debt Almost Did Lutherdale In

In the late 1970s Lutherdale built a state-of-the art retreat center. The cost was about $800,000 but little money was raised for construction. The hope was that rental fees would pay for the building.

This did not work, of course, so by 1979 the interest payments alone were crippling the operation and threatening the camp’s existence. GSB started a campaign by meeting with clergy throughout the constituency. Called “Camp Clergy Conversations”, these sessions disclosed the dire predicament in which the camp found itself.

With the support of many clergy and congregations the campaign generated enough money to cover interest payments for several years and to reduce the principal somewhat.  After the campaign many donors became charter members of the new annual fund – and Lutherdale was on the path to better financial stability.

During the ensuing 33 years, GSB assisted Lutherdale by mentoring executive directors, directing three more successful capital campaigns, dramatically increasing annual fund income, conducting executive search and coaching for two development directors, providing planning services, and seeing the establishment of an endowment program.

Today Lutherdale is vibrant, healthy and poised to enter a new era of ministry and paper help service.