Three Ways Forward
#1: Small Gifts
As you well know, we would much prefer to pay this campus off with small gifts.
mats the way we feel God has guided us (in order to avoid undermining the very mission agencies we serve). Thus, no matter what larger gifts come in, we will continue to seek the million small gifts in order to repay or reassign everything beyond the first $15 any one person has given us.
The small gift approach was not our original plan. We confess that for the first few weeks in the very beginning we were simply out for money" in order to pay off the campus. But the really wonderful thing about the small gift approach, and the real reason God may have led us to it, i5 that it forces us to go to more and more people in order to collect this modest one time contribution. And that means we have to convey vision to more and more people. God must have had this in mind! Will It Work?
Again and again we have wondered. We have come close to foreclosure and failure especially recently, as the interest payments have gotten larger.
(Curiously, no one objects to the small gift approach if it will only work!)
It is perfectly obvious that such an approach is immensely more difficult than certain conventional, very expensive methods which are characterized by spending a huge percentage of the money coming in just to raise additional funds. For us, resolutely, the increased difficulties of the small gift approach must be accepted in view of the great benefit to the extra thousands and thousands of people who catch the vision, discover a new reason to believe in missions, and begin finally to connect the preaching of the gospel to the events talked of in the newspapers. In that light, does it matter how much more difficult this approach is? If it will only work!
What are the problems?
- We don't spend even one penny designated for property on further fund raising. Some conven tional methods cost about $15 just to get the attention of a new donor in the first place. In other words, the first $15 each person gives has been used up in advance simply to make the contact!
- Were expecting the vision God has given us to flow by word of mouth, automatically, without any expensive 'IV blitzes or direct mail promotions! However, amazingly, the challenge to reach the unreached turns out to be so exciting that this approach has almost succeeded.
- True, many good people are much more willing to sitting down and writing bigger checks than they are accustomed to shouldering the task of spreading the word around further. Some people do have more money than they have time.
- We have tried "everything." Years ago we had great success with a one page xeroxable "grapevine letter." That is the most economical way to assist people to spread the vision.
- The most powerful thing we have done so far is to put down on paper my wife did this a simple account of the unfolding drama of this entire project. That story is so spell binding that people very often stay up late at night to finish the book! When Once More Around Jericho was first out, almost overnight we began to get letters from all fifty states! (The new, expanded version, under the new title I WILL DO A NEW THING, will be available again shortly, we hope.)
- We have prepared an exciting new brochure (see pages 41 44). It gives a far better view of who we are and what we are doing than anything we have ever done before. We hope this will help the inspiration and vision to flow. Remember the "I'll Touch Ten," brochure mailed out by a lot of you good people two years ago? In just a few days it brought in 14,000 new people. We could hope this brochure will be even better. You can send in for loads of these yourself. (See Item #A 1 on p. 47.) This may be just "The Way to Go" for you.
- But by far the best approach, we now think, will be the Mission 2000 program. (See the description across the page.) Of all the new features in Mission 2000, a radically new one is the fact that everyone who gives a small gift (now called a "Registration Fee") will be tied into a discipleship program. This is a much safer way of conserving the results of a program for planting new vision and hope in the hearts of Americans.
#2: Large "Advances"
People keep telling us that it's the "big donors" that count "They can give their money, but they can't give their time."
That's partly true, although big givers of means are often big givers of time, too.
In any case, we were embarrassed awhile ago when we heard that our small gift approach had been cited at a fund raisers conference as the worst way to raise money! The actual fact is, a lot of people have given us a lot of money in large quantities. Perhaps the most lavish givers, proportionately, have been college students and missionaries. One missionary scraped up over $75,000 for us, most of it money which he or his relatives had inherited.
In any case, we have certainly never doubted or questioned the leading of those who have come forward with large sums of money to help us. We have often freely admitted that we would not now be in existence if it were not for many large gifts.
The only unusual thing is that we consider all such gifts "advances." That's simply our own attempt one day to be able to say honorably that this entire project has not diverted from any mission agency more than $15 from any of their regular contributors.
We would be greatly honored and delighted if within the next twelve months it would be possible to receive enough 'advances" to be able totally to eliminate our debt. By so doing, we would reduce these monthly interest payments to zero (!) even while we continue on faithfully to pursue the number of necessary small gifts which in themselves will, we pray, eventually underwrite this entire project.
As the graph on the previous page shows, we are not driving our indebtedness down very fast when we just barely make the payments. I don't see how we can goon like this, and I'm sure we don't want to. We absolutely have to pay more than the required payments even though we have had a terrifically tough time making them thus far.
Of course, as we pay more than the interest requires, the amount of interest gradually drops, even though the interest rate stays the same.
Then, once the Mission 2000 Campaign gets going, in a few months it will pay off our in debtedness and replace the larger gifts we have received! So take a good look at that.
Meanwhile, July 1 approaches. As of May II, we still lack $180,000. We hope we don't stumble with the very first payment of our extension!
Now is the time to pray as we've never prayed before that many people will be attracted by the idea of giving a larger gift to us as an advance, and hopefully seeing that gift used again, later, in some other field where they would want to direct it.
#3: Mission 2000
What does "My Utmost for His Highest" mean if it doesn't mean that we are deliberately choosing between two things, one of which is better than the other and is, to the best of our understanding, "His highest?"
That's how we came to Mission 2000. It is a dream, an idea, a plan, a program, a project, and¬we hope and pray soon a movement which will change America. It is our best understanding of "His highest" for us and our generation at this moment in history.
Also, look at Mission 2000 in the light of Jesus' warning: "If you seek to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for my sake and the gospel's, you will find it."
Those who get most of the blessing of Mission 2000 are the Hidden Peoples. Everything is focused in that direction. By the end of the second phase of Mission 2000, the amount of money that we might expect to come to the USCWM would be 1175th of the total. (Look carefully at the table on p. 30.)
In other words, Mission 2000 is not an attempt to save us, but to save others. It is a consortium which we will not control. It is primarily a vision and inspiration spreading movement, not a fund raising movement, and even its fund raising is primarily not for our benefit.
We have already hinted that Mission 2000 is a discipleship program in comparison to all other plans we have developed. (See Point 7 across the page.)
In the Reference Section (p.4 I), you'll find an exciting "Synopsis" of the Mission 2000 plan. On this page we have space for just these comments. Ponder those pages of the Synopsis, and get a tighter grip on a vision that could shake our country to its roots a transformation of the sort that could allow God to spare our country from His judgment. (Remember that the upshot of the Bible is that missions not missles will save us.)
Also in the Reference Section is the capstone article by Dr. Donald A. McGavran, called "A Giant Step in Christian Mission." That article spells out the electrifying claim that what the renewal of the church requires is a new kind of regular meeting at the congregational level a phenomenon which was widespread in this country fifty years ago, but is now almost totally forgotten. (110w strange, as I visit churches around the country! There are regular monthly fellowships around everything from the problem of pornography to flower arrangements. But there are no longer any regular fellowship meetings focusing on missions. Satan has wisely removed such meetings from our church life.
Mission 2000 points to the end of history. Let's respond to His call!