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Article image for Reflections on LLL's heritage

Posted by LLL

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In 2021, LLL proudly celebrated our 100-year anniversary. We thank and praise God for the direction that he has guided LLL and for the blessings and provisions that have enabled LLL to meet the capital needs of organisations that proclaim Christ as Lord and Saviour and that seek to show his love to all people in word and deed.

During our anniversary year, we reflected and explored our history: who we are and where we came from – making sure that we are staying true to ourselves and following the vision and mission that our founder, Heinrich Benjamin Koch, popularly known as Ben, had when he established LLL in 1921.

As we reconnected with our mission, we recently invited Ben’s son, Dr John Koch, to talk to LLL staff about his recollections of LLL’s history and his experience witnessing the infant LLL grow into what it is today.

John visited LLL in September and spoke of his father’s love for mission work. His father, Ben, a farmer, was encouraged, once he had finished his work on the farm, to donate time providing service to the Eyre Peninsular Mission Station and farm in Koonibba, where he met his wife, Esther.

‘Dad was heavily involved in the church and mission. He found that the church experienced difficulties getting loan monies from banks, in order to make progress and outreach in congregations, including spreading the Gospel message, which was always at the heart of dad’s life. It was not only the difficulties in getting loan monies, but the way banks treated those who received them that created unhappiness.’ John said.

‘Dad was interested in pursuing mission work and moved to Gawler in 1920 to be closer to the action, where the Lutheran church was. He explored studying to be a pastor at the seminary; to be involved in mission in that way, however, he was guided by well-intentioned leaders of the church to follow his heart and desire to “have flexibility through access to money” by focusing on his brainchild: LLL.

‘Dad established LLL in 1921 and was the President. He worked hard, however, during the early 1930s, the depression saw him move from Adelaide to a farm at Lameroo, SA, then Griffiths, NSW, in the mid-1930s. During this time, LLL continued, and people wondered how it stayed afloat during those tough times. However, Dad worked hard to keep things afloat while nothing was coming in. It continued through personal relationships that he developed by attending church meetings and synods in all states, and by communicating by letter. He was good at personal relationships.

“He would have been very happy about the fact that LLL got to the stage where mission was seen not as just sit-down local congregations but mission was also developing lay people.

“It’s not that strange to see the LLL become increasingly that kind of enterprise that provides flexibility for appropriate people and groupings as they are involved in mission, which is not identified simply with a particular church organisation.

“It has its origins from there, but the gospel has never been, even in Lutheran circles, identified with a particular church organisational structure. The church is the family of God, wherever that may be.”

John concluded, “We need to develop flexibility for the church to do mission in its own way. We are fluid, we are not prevented by not having access to what we need. Even though it involved money, it was concerned about mission – nothing more than that. It was so that the message could be more freely dispersed, however, this might be done.”

It was wonderful to hear John’s story and gain some insight into his perspective and experiences; and of course, have more understanding of our history from his personal point of view.

This visit has reinforced the mission and vision that LLL has developed in our strategic intent:

The purpose of the LLL is to meet the capital needs of organisations that proclaim Christ as Lord and Saviour and that seek to show His love to all people in word and deed. In doing so, LLL will seek to generate a reasonable surplus to remain sustainable and support the LCA in its business and financial matters.

LLL is grateful to our depositors, borrowers and supporters who allow us to continue our mission and vision, and who are a part of the amazing work we are able to do in providing surpluses to those spreading God’s love through mission.

And to you, we say thank you.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

Philippians 1:3-5

John Koch and Ross Smith

Image: Dr John Koch's fireside-style chat with ross Smith and staff, reconnecting modern-day LLL with its heritage

The LLL prides itself on providing savings accounts that are simple to operate, with a variable interest rate and no fees or charges. The LLL has a variety of savings accounts: personal and joint accounts; guardian accounts for children; and business accounts, including for self-managed super funds and not-for-profit organisations.

As an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI), the LLL is regulated under the Banking Act and by APRA.

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