The $8.5 Million Question
The first question asks only how to get the money. A fair question. Nothing immoral about trying to pay your bills. Americans are alive to how to get money. And you can't know how many schemes have flooded into our midst! Good ideas and not so good. For example:
- Plan A: Approach foundations (we have done that with some success)
- Plan B: Hope for wealthy people to help us however we do not ask anyone for more than $16.95. (Many wealthy people have on their own initiative helped us. Many more not so wealthy have also helped, sometimes lavishly, especially students and missionaries.
- Plan C: ask all 48,000 on our mailing list to give $191.25, or something like that. (Some have taken this literally! Problem: not everyone can be expected to do any one thing)
- Plan D: Sell off half the campus, specifically the off campus housing. With the proceeds pay off as much as possible of both the housing and the campus. Get new loans to cover the remaining balance. Try for friendly buyers who could buy houses as a tax shelter and perhaps give the houses back later, or at least not sell them back at too high a price.
While this can be considered as a fall back plan, a second best, it would be tragic if thought desirable or if implemented before absolutely necessary. It could easily become 'the good that is the worst enemy of the best."
For one thing this housing SPACE is essential to the operation of the campus, all the more now that we have converted two of the three on campus dorms into office buildings (in keeping with the increased research office space and reduced student load).
Secondly, the housing INCOME is even more essential to the operation of the campus than the space. Our entire 8 year history here has focused on paying off the property and then going out of the fund raising business. These houses are the income that is intended to make that possible, if this counted on income is withdrawn, everything changes we will indeed need to develop a permanent donor base, compete with the agencies we are trying to serve from behind the scenes, and possibly lose their collaboration and our very purpose for existence.
Finally, the laws are moving to close such tax shelter loopholes such that it is not at all certain this plan could be implemented, it is thus dangerous to count on and at best should be held in abeyance as a severly undesirable fall back plan. However, it is slightly better than losing the property altogether: we would emerge as a paraplegic hobbling into the future,Plan E: (Better but defective) Ask for specifically 5,000 of you who are following us prayerfully, to reach out far enough to persuade at least 10 of their acquaintances to give $16.95 and then expect 3 of those who give to be willing to reach out similarly and to stay with those 3 to make sure they reach 10 of which 3 reproduce.
Amazingly, this plan would at least theoretically work. You can run through the figures. Note that round one the direct work of the 5,000 would get us out of foreclosure if completed by early April, Round two, if completely followed through would pay the remainder needed by Sept 1st!
One major problem of this plan is that here in Pasadena we do not have the staff to service 5,000 people "out there' at work. As a result the follow through generation would be in some doubt.
Plan F: Someone suggested that we ask 9,000 people to give $1,000. That a neutral organization hold the money, return it all if the entire 9,000 was not pledged. Perfectly possible. Big gifts like that we plan to return or reassign anyway , . , However, is there a better way? What would make something better?
How can one method of getting money needed be better than another? Easy. The whole mission movement depends utterly upon a major renewal of understanding and commitment.
Wouldn't it be better if our extremity could be God's opportunity to catalyze a massive Mission Renewal movement?
What Does God Want?
Isn't this the most important question?
First of all, our precious country is heading for deep trouble if we cannot revive our sense of obligation to the nations of the world. God judges nations that have heard the Gospel by what they do to help other nations hear, And, 'unto whomsoever much is given, of them shall much be required."
How can we simply seek to save our campus as a mission beacon light when our country itself is skating on thin ice without a major mission renewal?
We know of no easy way to get the money needed. Why not give everything we've got for the method that will have the greatest benefit to the mission cause?
Dear Christian friend,
As we have prayed and struggled with this issue it has gradually become clear: 'the longest way 'round is the shortest way home."
There simply is no substitute for a nationwide, congregational level mission discipleship MOVEMENT touching every open hearted congregation in this country. Only this can produce the necessary turn around and literally change the face of mission interest in this country.
- Please take out your Bible and see if you are a 'Simeon" (Road Luke 2:25 32). Note that the salvation, the glory of the Jewish people was the to be the result of their being a "light to the Gentiles.' They missed it and their country was trodden down. Their vine did not bear fruit and other branches were grafted in.
- We believe we can stir people awake faster by asking them for $16.95 than by any other method, and that a Mission Renewal Team working in a congregation can have a vital impact almost nothing else can have.
- A new mood of collaboration between Christian organizations is blooming. We believe the time is ripe to catalyze that mood in a nationwide Mission Renewal effort, Please read the next two pages with an open heart.