About CAN-DO

Created in 1992 and introduced at the 1993 GLORYBOUND (the Texas District Youth Gathering), CAN-DO Missions is a vehicle to actively involve the youth and adults of our congregations in Christ’s great commission to “Go and make disciples of all nations."  

Through short-term mission trips to locations around the United States and the world, CAN-DO provides opportunities for youth and adults to support specific missions with their financial gifts and volunteer hands-on labor. As a result of these experiences, the lives of youth and adults are changed significantly and a greater passion for missions is ignited.

History of CAN-DO

October 1992 Bd .... For Parish Services approves concept for "Youth Great Commission" Project as presented by Dist. Exec. Ray Schkade
November 1992 District Board of Directors approves funding for project
January 1993 Synod Bd. For Mission Services agrees to underwrite cost of survey team trip to Russia
February 1993 Task Force forms to develop "Youth Great Commission" project. Committee decides to 'launch' project at District Youth Gathering, Glorybound '93
March 1993

Survey Team selected to investigate possible mission trip sites in Slovakia and Russia. Team includes:

  • DCE Kevin Pieper - Salem, Tomball
  • Ms. Diane Hemff - Mount Olive, Corpus Christi
  • Scott Vystercil, youth - Lord of Life, Plano
  • Christy Fuchs, youth - Grace, Arlington

Project CAN DO (Christ Among Nations - Disciple Outreach) chosen as official name of the project.

Job description developed and three candidates for director are identified.

Three congregations selected to 'pilot' Can-Do campaign:

  • Small church - Lord of Life, Plano
  • Mid-size church - Our Savior, Austin
  • Large church - Salem, Tomball
May 1993

District Board of Trustees issues call to Randy Potts as first Project Can-Do Director.

June 1993

Survey Team makes trip to Slovakia and Russia to identify potential mission work sites for Project Can-Do. New Director Randy Potts accompanies team replacing Diane Hemff who could not attend.

ILWML does not choose Project Can-Do as one of their mission projects.

July 1993

Ray Schkade submits proposal to Wheat Ridge Foundation for $90,000 3-year grant to underwrite "Youth Great Commission" project.

August 1993

DCE Randy Potts officially installed as new Project Can-Do Director at Texas District Bd. of Directors meeting.

November 1993 

Project CAN-DO officially offered to the youth and congregations of the Texas District at GLORYBOUND '93, the district youth gathering. 

May 1995 Board of Directors approved changing 'project' status to full Texas District Mission status.
June 1996

Director Randy Potts accepts call to serve as the Minister of Youth and Assimilation at Christ the Shepherd Lutheran Church in Alpharetta, GA.

DCE Ron Scherch from Bethel, Dallas, accepts call to be the next Director of CAN-DO Missions.


The Conception and Birth of CAN-DO

as reported by the Rev. Ray Schkade, founder of Can-Do

In the Fall of 1991, Ray Schkade was on his way to preach for a Mission Festival service at Holy Cross, Warda, Texas. On his way from Austin to Warda, his thoughts were on the message he was planning to deliver, including the expression of thanks for their annual World Missions remittance. As he reflected on the World Mission contribution amount the congregation had been averaging during the past five years, he thought of possible ways that he might challenge the congregation to increase its mission support. One possibility that came to mind: "If each adult member of Holy Cross would give up one bottle of 'Warda Soda water' each week, and in its place give $1 in support of World Missions, they would be able to double the amount the congregation contributes to missions." He used it in his sermon, and heard a few chuckles, especially from the wives who were present.

During his drive back to Austin, the thought suddenly came to Schkade: "What if we establish a mission effort directly involving the youth of the Texas District in actual mission work, which would be supported by youth and adults giving God the equivalent of one soda week (50 cents) for one year?" This would amount to a contribution per person of $26 per year in support of their mission endeavor.

Ray Schkade, serving on the Texas District staff as Executive Director of Parish Services, shared with his Texas District Stewardship Committee the idea and rough draft plan of a Youth mission event which would have as its primary objective, the actual involvement of youth in a planned Great Commission effort, building on the Biblical Stewardship principle that God has given unique spiritual gifts to each youth to be used in Kingdom work. The cost of the mission trip would be paid for by the youth and congregation members through the special appeal of giving the equivalent gift of a soda a week (50 cents) for a year, amounting to a total of $26.

Schkade, questioned by some pastors as to the capability of youth to handle such mission endeavors because of their age, arranged a meeting with Dr. Marlene Wilson, nationally renowned volunteer organization leader whose company established volunteer efforts for such large cities as Los Angeles and New York City, in order to obtain her evaluation of the plan involving youth in a major mission effort. Dr. Wilson strongly encouraged the plan, stating that our youth would make great missionaries, if given the opportunity.

After receiving a favorable backing of the Stewardship Committee and an encouragement to pursue the plan, Schkade met with Parish Services staff member and co-worker Keith Loomans, and shared with him his preliminary plan of youth involvement in specific Great Commission mission endeavors, financially supported by the youth in particular, and the congregation in general.

In Schkade's meeting with Keith Loomans, Keith asked some important questions that needed answers if such an undertaking would succeed. One question of prime importance had to do with who Schkade envisioned would be in charge of each mission endeavor. When Schkade expressed the hope that full-time Youth Directors and DCEs could be enlisted as leaders for youth involvement in mission work, Loomans raised a word of caution, stating that this would require a major commitment of their time, and that one cannot assume that Youth Directors and DCEs would be willing to commit to such an effort. Schkade agreed that this is a legitimate concern, and expressed the hope that the plan could be shared at the next meeting of the Texas District Youth Committee / "Glory Bound" Committee. Loomans, with staff responsibility for Texas District Youth work, gave his support of the plan, and arranged for the meeting.

The meeting with the District Youth leaders resulted in a favorable response. Loomans continued to give not only verbal support of the project, but also 'hands on' involvement in the development process of the youth mission effort.

Ray and the Texas District Stewardship Committee, with the support of Keith Loomans and the district youth committee, prepared and presented a detailed plan of action of the Board of Parish Services for their consideration and approval. The plan included a request for an annual loan of $125,000 from the Texas District for a 3-year period, to be used for establishing the plan and creating a financial support system through the contributions of Texas District congregations in general, and participating congregations in particular.

The Board of Parish Services, in its October 1992 meeting, gave unanimous approval of the proposal and recommended its approval, including the loan request, to the Texas District Board of Directors at its November meeting.

The plan was presented and explained to the Texas District Board of Directors, at the November 1992 meeting. After considerable discussion, the plan, including the loan, was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors, with the understanding that, after three years, the Youth Great Commission Mission effort would receive sufficient financial support from the participating congregations and special grants to sustain the effort in future years.

Schkade prepared proposals and made grant requests from a number of sources, including the LCMS Mission Board, the International LWML Convention, and Wheatridge Foundation. Major grants were received from synod's Mission Board, and from Wheatridge Foundation. 

And the rest is history. From small beginnings, the Texas District Great Commission Youth mission endeavor, renamed CAN-DO MISSIONS, has grown to become what some refer to as "the shining diamond mission effort of the Texas District."

The success of CAN-DO Missions, with the blessings of God, is attributed a great deal to the leadership of its full-time staff, Randy Potts (1993-1996), followed by Ron Scherch (1996-2007) and Pat Fick (2007-present). All of these individuals, who have a tremendous passion for this missions process, have provided strong leadership and organizational skills, plus long hours, resulting in large numbers of youth DOING mission work for Christ, and in turn, blessed by Christ through this service.


Last updated on Apr. 29, 2015. Contact the Web Content Manager of this page.
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