Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why we're not on campus, yet

If we wrote up an FAQ about our ministry, I think this would be one of the most commonly asked questions...so I thought I'd just write up a blog to respond to this question we often hear from people. So here's the question: 'Why can't you report to campus now?' or 'Why can't you report to campus and keep working on support at the same time?'

Well, several reasons. One is that it is Campus Crusade for Christ's policy as a ministry that all staff must reach 100% in raising their initial support (after joining staff) before starting on campus full time. Not all missions organizations have this policy, which can add to the confusion. Others set various levels that their staff must reach before reporting. The reasoning behind Campus Crusade's policy leads into the other factors.

Stewardship of our lives. Missionaries can burn out for many reasons - hard team relationships, lack of training/care, spiritual warfare, and high on the list is poor financial support. Financial worries in addition to the rigors of full time ministry lead to burn out. Campus Crusade's hope is that staff with healthy financial support will be able to stay in the field longer, once reported, without a constant worry of receiving short paychecks. A healthy level of financial support might increase a missionary's duration in service.

Attrition. Its common (and I don't know specific statistics) especially in the first 6-8 years in full time ministry to have partners leave our ministry team for various reasons: economy, job changes, feeling led to give elsewhere, etc.  We expect that and only challenge our partners to support us for as long as they feel the Lord is leading them. To be prepared when someone has to leave us, it's healthiest not to teeter on the brink of not having enough support, but to maintain 100% of the goals Campus Crusade has set for us. If we reported to campus before reaching 100%, attrition could put us in a dangerous place financially. This leads to the last reason for this policy.

Being on campus is more than a 40 hour/week job. Raising support involves a lot of traveling and flexibility. I've personally tried to do both for a semester and found it hard to focus on either.  When I was on campus, I was worried about financial support. When I was traveling to meet with people, I found it hard to tell students I couldn't meet with them consistently.  Of course, our financial support is an ongoing process even after we reach 100% and we have to work to maintain it as part of our job.  With the level of financial support we still need to raise, however, we wouldn't be able to make the proper connections while also working on campus full-time.

These are the main reasons for Campus Crusade's policy. I hope this helps clarify why they've set these standards in place.  Please comment or email Matt or me (matt.odland@uscm.org or kristin.odland@uscm.org) with any questions about what I shared.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I love taking pictures....

And I (Kristin) just got some snowshoes for Christmas! Here are a few pics I took while we were in Alexandria over New Years. Isn't winter beautiful? Enjoy and blessings as this new year of 2011 begins!