An Open Letter
to All Donor/Pledgers to the "Last $10OO" Campaign
from Ralph Winter
Dear precious people:
During the final months of the campaign you received a first class letter weekly giving you the blow-by-blow of events. As the number of you giving and pledging climbed up over 10,000 the cost of printing, labeling, and mailing that letter climbed up over $5,000.
These funds were being provided by the same, wonderful group of business people in Chicago who underwrote the rest of the campaign, and we felt it was unfair to expect them to continue to fund that kind of emergency letter once the campaign was concluded December 31st, 1987. (Rightly or wrongly, we have never used even a penny of money donated to the property for any other expenses associated with raising or collecting funds.)
However, we fear that the sudden cessation of that stream of lively letters may seem to have "abandoned" people in midair. Thus, these words here.
Here is the score as of this date. We have paid $8,044,932 since January 1988. We still have $340,000 to repay. Our confirmed pledges run a little over $200,000. If all of the unconfirmed pledges do come through, we will be safe. In fact, should that happen we will return any funds which were given on a conditional, "use only if needed" basis.
Take heart! As you well know, we expect to "return or reassign" all of the gifts to the property which have exceeded $15. (Note: the $16.95 we ask of people includes $1.95 to cover the cost of the materials we send them in their Founders Packet.)
We still hope and expect this property will be covered, in the last analysis, by a million $15 gifts, which we will continue quietly to seek. As the rest of these gifts come in they will gradually replace earlier, larger gifts, and those gifts that are replaced will then be reassigned to whatever purpose those original donors have indicated or will indicate. Many of the earlier, larger donors have already indicated that they are willing for us to keep their money.
We intend, however, not to keep it, but to put it into a rotating fund called Fund for the Kingdom. The Fund will provide temporary "seed" money to allow regional centers in the USA and in other parts of the world to get started. We expect they will then repay it in much the same way we acquired it in the first place: from a certain number of small Founders Gifts.
We retain the conviction that Centers of this sort which intend to serve other mission organizations ought to try to avoid any and all competition for funds. Our own staff are supported by churches, and so are the various organizations that participate here. But the overall agency here in Pasadena, the U.S. Center for World Mission, does not foresee any fundraising activity on its own behalf of any kind. As I say this I do not possess omniscience nor the power to interpret the entire future, but I can say that in the last 12 years we have seen no substantial reason to modify this policy.
Our entire center these days is retooling to decentralize. We hope to have 35 regional offices of some type by the end of the year, 100 more by the end of '89, and perhaps 500 by the end of 1990. All of these will faithfully serve the ENTIRE mission cause, reporting, promoting the well-being of mission-minded congregations and frontier-emphasizing mission agencies. To do that properly we need to stay out of fund-raising on our own behalf and play a neutral, impartial role.
The "Last $1000" Campaign donors and all of the many earlier, large givers, have together advanced us enough funds almost completely to cover the property, so that from now on we have a small, fixed income deriving from the net proceeds of the property itself. We are determined to live within that income and not expect a raise!
Incidentally, our entire staff is a missionary staff, surviving on the gifts of support teams either directly or through the various mission agencies which lend them to us. And, as with virtually all mission agencies, everyone receives the same pay, salary, allotment, whatever you wish to call it. My wife and I receive less than most, even the newest couples on our staff, since we have no dependent children! That's the way it is in missions. We would not change it. It puts far more people into the work; it assures donors that no unnecessary funds are being received; and it trims out would-be missionaries who might be overly anxious about their support. It entirely eliminates any jealousy of another's salary level!
One problem it does not solve is the reluctance of donors to honor the crucial work done here in the "home" country. We've found that, somehow, if our staff are not suffering from tropical heat (not just L.A. smog!) they do not rate a full allotment. Almost half of our staff are eking out a living on less than half of the support they are supposed to have.
But that is an issue for another time. Think of it: soon, many if not MOST of the remaining Unreached Peoples will have some of their members living somewhere in the United States. If we cannot recognize the need to support missionaries who live in the United States we will miss out completely on the very reason God is bringing these people to us. It is a well-recognized fact, clear back in the Old Testament, that the righteousness of a nation attracts people from other nations. This is part of God's missionary plan unfolding before our eyes. It may be a PROBLEM for our country. It is a SOLUTION for the Kingdom of God!
Cordially in Christ,
Ralph D. Winter