This is an article from the June-July 1984 issue: Six Missionaries Become College Presidents

Let’s Go Forward

Let’s Go Forward

"That you may abound In hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:1?

Making Mountains out of Molehills

A Personal Statement -  Ralph D. Winter

Dear people: I am a former engineer, turned minister, then missionary, then professor, then foolhardy fanatic, along with my wife and a faithful crew her, trying to hold down a $25 million former college campus.

Three hundred earnest people working every day.

People from 70 different mission agencies, with experience in 40 different countries, language skills in dozens of exotic tongues.

We will be hosts shortly (Sept. 24th) to 400 mission executives from 180 mission agencies, plus an additional group of mission professors, constituting the largest meeting of mission leaders ever held west of the Rockies.

(How did this all come to pass? That story was begun in the little book, ONCE MORE AROUND JERICHO, and is now brought up to date, revised and expanded under the new title, THE SECRET MISSION.)

But will we survive? Leading Christians have been outspoken in praise of the very idea of a vast, cooperative world mission center, allowing collaboration, minimizing overlap and duplication, undertaking dozens of tasks common to the overall cause...

And, after seven years 85.000 good people like yourself have turned up to pee, hear, pray, or help, taking some initiative to be on our mailing list. We have never written a letter to anyone who did not first write to us. We are perhaps overly stingy with the Lord's money: we do not feel at ease asking for money to be sent in just to raise money. That's why we only try to answer letters (and our overburdened, mainly younger staff can hardly handle that).

Yet the yawning chasm of what has now become a $8.5 million (complete and final) payment Is barely II months away. And as I write this on July 26 I can't see where In the world over half of the quarterly $300,000 payment due September lit will ever come from.

Or Making Molehills out of Mountains?

Curiously, If our 45,000 people would each give $188.89. we could wipe out the debt tomorrow. (That's how relatively small our problem really Is!) But we have no sure way of even getting the attention of these fine people, especially now in the middle of the summer not everyone will be reading this page (Congratulations, dear friend!).

And even if we could get their attention, we have voluntarily promised them we will NOT ask them for further funds. (It Is true that hereafier we COULD stop telling prospective donors that we will not ask for further funds. But we cannot break faith with those d&nors to whom we have already given our word.)
Has this all been silly, just Mickey Mouse? We have surely felt ample pressure to reconsider so unconventional a plan. (Our reasoned reply is found below.) In any case, note that:

1. We have at least paid out absolutely NOTHING simply 10 raise funds.

2. We have paid out VERY LITTLE even to subsidize the spreading of the various forms of 'Grapevine' or "Touch Ten" outreach, which Is highly educational, and very economical.

Of course  how COULD we have paid out a lot of money to raise money? Where would it have come from? We do not raise money for anything but our own workers and the property payments. Each $15.95 Is 100% designated  the $15 for property, the 95 cents for the materials we send back.

Yet $5 million has come in, virtually unaided... over ao% not In one time gifts but in unasked-for gifts larger than $15.95 or series of gifts. You can figure out how much 45,000 X $15. It Is considerably less than $1 million of the $5 million which all you good hearted people have sent in.


But where do we stand? We are not defeated in our guidance. Just recently  last summer actually  we did something right, or God did. In a few weeks our mailing list jumped from 30.000 to 45,000. Over 14,000 new people came from the "Touch Ten" campaign. How much we would rather light up the eyes and hearts of more and more new people (rather than burden faithful existing donors!). See our plan on pages 4 and 5.

Many people have asked,  Why do you (i.e., the USCWM) only ask for a single $15.95 gift toward the purchase of your campus?" Here is a brief review of our reasons:

1. The U.S. Center is a Cooperative Mission Center, primarily designed to serve evangelical mission agencies that send and supervise field missionaries.

We hope that, eventually, most of our staff will come to us on the basis of being assigned by or on loan from these same agencies. In order not to detract from their sources of funds we have decided to ask only for a one time gift. Thus we do not compete for funds with the very agencies for whom we exist.

2. A "Small Gift" Campaign Brings Wider Blessings to the Church

To raise $15 million (the cost of the campus and the off campus housing) by soliciting $15.95 gifts is obviously a lot of work. No doubt about it. It is also a course of action that flies in the race of conventional wisdom. But what is more difficult is often more important.

This is what we mean: after taking this unusual step of faith, we were amazed and pleased to realize that the '$15.95 policy" forces us and our friends to successfully transmit our frontier missions vision to at least a million people.

A second blessing

Great That, in turn, swings open another door: the result  revival and renewal in the Church is the wave of blessing that is essential to accomplish the purposes behind the Center and its campus. Thus our paraphrase of Matthew :33: "Seek ye first the spreading of the vision, and all these $15.95 gifts will be added unto you." That's not hype or some kind of gimmick, but merely our attempt to put first things first.

A third blessing

Only recently have we discovered a third value to this small one time gift step of faith: by raising money designated exclusively for property, we have no finds by which to "raise funds"¬unless relatively rare sidesignated gifts accuiajleta..

In the process of being forced to work earnestly and doggedly to perfect a type of "pass on able" method of spreading the vision and collecting these small gifts, we have discovered something even more important: while getting a gift from people wakes than up to the vision and gains their attention for a moment, PASSING ON that vision is much more important. (Isn't it just like people coming to Christ in the first place passing on that vision is where the big blessing canes.)

Once again, this is not a fanciful rationalization but a profoundly meaningful truth. It is especially valuable in view of the modern computer wonder that permits us to efficiently trace the ripples of blessing through seven generations.

3. Repeat Donors Have Stood in the Cap

It is true that the USCWM would have long since folded were it not for the generous, unsolicited gifts of people who have chosen to give more than $15.95 to our founding budget, we acknowledge this with no shame or embarassment.   we have kept o careful record of such multiple gifts, and we have repeatedly announced our intention to reassign these gifts to other frontier mission causes once a million $15.95 gifts come in. (All gifts from local churches we expect to return.)

4. WCIU Can Attract Additional Sources of Income

While the USCWM is visibly soliciting funds in the evangelical community, our sister organization, William Carey International University, is the legal purchaser and actual landlord of 95% of the campus and related properties. WCIU offers BA., MA., and Ph.D. degrees in the general field of International Development, a useful academic label for the socially uplifting activities in which missionaries and mission agencies have historically taken the lead.

A university is not likely to threaten the usual mission resources

and does not need to operate under the same fund raising restrictions (legal or social, externally or internally imposed) as a mission center that is attractive to mission minded churches. This is especially true for us, since our university deliberately avoids evangelical jargon in favor of language comprehensible to both the U.S. academic mainstream and the countries of the developing world.

Therefore, WCIU is a prospective recipient of grants and other gifts from foundations, corporations, individuals, and other entities committed to higher education and international development, We have, however, seen relatively little fruit in this area, largely because we have lacked the knowledgeable personnel to staff a 'financial development" office at WCIU.

5. Off Campus Properties Are a Vital Part of the Campus Plan

We have also frequently been asked a related question: 'If it looks like you're really going to lose the campus, can't you sell the off campus houses to at least secure the main campus itself?' Good question. Our answers: First, especially because we have already converted two major dorm, buildings into office space, we need these off campus properties more than ever in order to provide affordable, accessible housing to staff end students.

Second, as landlord of 130 houses on 85 properties, we have halted neighborhood decline and fostered an environment conducive to our campus activities.Third, the rental income from these properties, while applied to maintenance and campus payments today, will be applied to maintenance and USCWM operational expenses in the future, thereby enabling the USCWM to be operationally self sustaining once all properties are acquired and $15.95 gifts are no longer solicited, find this brings us back to our original point: we believe that a cooperative mission center, before or after campus acquisition, should not be a financial competitor with the mission agencies it seeks to serve.

We hope these answers are clear and helpful. If not, let us know.

We're still learning, too.


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