Schedule set for Lutheran children’s Christmas TV programs


The Lutheran Mission Federation needed $6,000 to get Lutheran children’s Christmas programs on four Louisville, Kentucky, television stations.

In July, President Ron Rieckers said he was halfway to that mark.

One night later on, he emailed Lutheran pastors and told them he was about $1,200 short. He had considered using his own money to finish it off.

“The next morning, my treasurer (Brandon Hunsley) calls me and says, ‘We got donations of $1,800.’ Bang! There it was,” Rieckers said. “Then they kept coming in.”

It’s good donations continued because they also helped pay for three commercial spots during the Christmas programs.

Rieckers said the donations came from churches and individuals in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Indiana District, which includes southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

“That’s how I’ve been raising the money is just going on a Sunday, the pastors let me make an announcement before or after the service to tell people what I’m doing, explaining it, and a lot of people really are excited,” he said. “I’m really pleasantly surprised on it, the support that I’ve gotten, because I don’t know how many people I’ve had ‘Oh, thank you for doing this. This is such a great idea.’ People really stepped up.”

“The Stableboy’s Christmas” will be shown at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 26 on WHAS11. “Christmas Is” will be at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on WBKI. “Red Boots for Christmas” will air at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 on WDRB. “Little Shepherd” will be at noon Dec. 23 on WAVE 3.

These are among six Christmas TV programs offered by The Lutheran Hour. Rieckers said they are animated and run for 30 minutes, including three 1-minute advertising spots.

With the Louisville stations reaching people in nearly 40 counties in Indiana and Kentucky, Rieckers said this will be a way to get the Lutheran Mission Federation’s message out.

“It gives us different times of the day,” he said. “They told me they can track the viewership, and so afterwards, we’ll look at the numbers and see what was our best time, and then we’ll judge if we’re able to do it again next year ‘Well, maybe this was the better time and not this.’”

After asking the TV stations about their costs of commercial spots, Rieckers decided to ask a local business, Klaes Image Productions in Seymour.

When Bill Klaes told him he could record the spots, Rieckers had his son-in-law, Pastor Ryan Schneider of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Brownstown, and the pastor of a church that made a large donation, Bruce Kischnick of Grace Lutheran Church in New Albany, join him.

“I thought, ‘Well, they really deserve to have a representative on there.’ Plus, it would be nice to have somebody from that area show up on television that the people down there in the Louisville area can relate to,” Rieckers said.

The first spot is a welcome and introductions, the second one features the two pastors talking about the birth of Jesus from Luke 2 and the third one thanks viewers for watching and invites them to look on the website to find a Lutheran church near them.

Now, Rieckers is pursuing advertising opportunities to let people know about the programs.

His goal is to get the most bang for his buck so he has money left over to put toward Easter programs. He recently emailed a flyer to Lutheran churches in southern Indiana and Kentucky letting them know about that programming.

“Easter is looking like a real possibility,” he said. “Donations have kind of stopped right now because I haven’t been pushing it quite so much. I’ve been working on getting (the Christmas programs) on TV, but a lot of people thought we should do Easter because we’re doing (Jesus’) birth, which is the beginning of his earthly ministry, so why not do the end of his earthly ministry.”

Rieckers said people already have told him they want him to do the Christmas programming again next year.

Donations may be mailed to Lutheran Mission Federation, Brandon Hunsley, JCBank Trust Department, P.O. Box 1001, Seymour, IN 47274. Note on the check that it’s for Christmas programming. That will cover the Easter programs, too.

For information, email Rieckers at [email protected] or contact Hunsley at 812-524-4411 or [email protected].

“Every penny goes to this project,” Rieckers said. “Nothing is going into the Mission Federation’s general fund. Nothing is going for administrative costs. It’s all what has to be done. Those commercials had to be made. Advertising, I think, has to be done. That’s where the money is being spent, so every dollar that’s given is necessary for this program. We’ve had people give lower amounts and some give big amounts. Every dollar was needed.”

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