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Dueling visions, gnawing suspicions

The battle over a proposed sale of American evangelism’s ‘Missions Pentagon’ raises questions of missionary strategy and nonprofit accountability. What responsibility do ministries have to their founder’s vision—and to those who sacrificed to fund it?

Dueling visions, gnawing suspicions

The campus of William Carey International University in Pasadena, Calif. (John Fredricks/Genesis)

March 4 is Oscar night, and the “best actor” favorite is Gary Oldman for his portrayal of Winston Churchill, who famously spoke of fighting on the beaches and never surrendering. But in Pasadena, 18 miles northeast of the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, sits the campus of William Carey International University (WCIU) and Frontier Ventures (FV), two interlinked ministries that are not having their finest hour.

That 15-acre campus was once like Rivendell in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, according to international prayer leader David Bryant: a place for missionary research, mobilization, and training “where visions can be born, where fragile dreams can become reality, where battle plans can be laid … and faith renewed.” Former campus staffer Bob Coleman, in the 1970s a young CalTech graduate, recalls the energy there in those “very, very exciting” days as “an invisible revolution swept the missions world.”

But now, the overlapping WCIU and FV boards are seeking to sell the campus plus 5 more acres and up to 147 units of off-campus housing. Officially, ministry leaders say a central campus for missionaries is outmoded. Unofficially, they desire to leave behind years of property mismanagement and gain a pot of money for other evangelistic purposes.

FV/WCIU faces opposition from Save the Campus, a feisty group that represents missionaries and those who donated money 30 to 40 years ago to buy the campus. They say FV/WCIU should not surrender the campus. They have vowed to fight in the courts, on the internet, and maybe even on the beaches.

The Pasadena battle was largely local in 2017 and January 2018, but on Feb. 1 a nationally distributed press release announced FV/WCIU’s intent to sell, and implied that all is well. By then, WORLD over two months had interviewed dozens of people on both sides of the dispute, walked the acreage, and heard or read court documents about drug sales, employee abuse, whistleblowing, and more. Here’s a look at the story behind the public relations story—and why the rest of us should care.

John Fredricks/Genesis

Disrepair in Pierce Hall on the WCIU campus (John Fredricks/Genesis)

IN THE HEART OF CAMPUS, surrounded by patches of grass, sits a raised platform of concrete and brownish-red tiles called “The Slab.” In 1975 the campus belonged to Pasadena College. On The Slab stood a prayer chapel with stained-glass windows where Swedish missionary Erik Stadell knelt and fasted for a week, praying that God would claim the campus for world missions.

That prayer tracked with the hopes of Ralph Winter, a former Presbyterian missionary who had worked with the indigenous Maya people of Latin America and become a missionary trainer at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. In 1974, at the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland, Winter had called for Protestants to emphasize evangelism among those who had never been exposed to Christianity—the “unreached people.”

Two years later the campus was available because Pasadena College had moved to a new oceanfront location and taken a new name: Point Loma College (now Point Loma Nazarene University). But dozens of purchase offers broke down for various reasons, and the last offer standing was from a mystic cult that erected a giant Buddha statue on campus grounds—but Pasadena alumnus Jim Dobson, hosting a hot new “Focus on the Family” radio show, told the college, “If you sell to a cult, I’ll tell everyone about it.”

So Winter was able to buy the property for $10 million, with little money down but hefty interest (8 to 12.5 percent) and a balloon payment of $8.5 million due in 1987, according to Roberta Winter’s I Will Do a New Thing. He dubbed his project the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM), but some soon called it the “Missions Pentagon,” with staff workers speaking 40 languages and bringing to bear experience in more than 70 countries.

USCWM two years before the 1987 deadline ran a “Last 1,000 Campaign,” where 8,000 contributions of $1,000 each would cement ownership of the campus plus the housing units around it: They were to provide regular rental income so USCWM would be self-sustaining and would not have to compete for funds with other mission agencies.

By then, Winter had proven the usefulness of having a center. Institutes of Muslim, Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu studies taught missionaries how to approach those groups. International Films Inc. taught courses on filmmaking, the Fellowship of Artists for Cultural Evangelism taught about the use of native art as a bridge for evangelism, and an applied linguistics program showed how to teach English to speakers of other languages. William Carey International University, named after the pioneer missionary who started schools for poor children in India and opened up the first Christian theological university there, offered B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees.

Seeing all the activity there, Christians gave sacrificially. A young woman about to be married donated her wedding budget to the campus. Students who were working part time sent in $1,000. Missionaries gave their entire savings accounts. One man sold his valuable antique car, and a young woman sold her car. Young people gathered to make a joint pledge of $1,000. One elderly woman produced another $1,000 by inviting 13 people to her home and getting them all to pledge a piece.

By 1987 Ralph Winter had proven the usefulness of having a center. Institutes of Muslim, Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu studies taught missionaries how to approach those groups.

FOR YEARS, the campus was a productive garden of innovation, with citrus and eucalyptus trees lining campus walkways on which missionaries and students strode. Then in 2009 Ralph Winter, whom Time in 2005 named one of America’s 25 most influential Christians, died after battling myeloma—and his vision is no longer welcome.

Now, most of the missions-related activity is gone. FV/WCIU (“Frontier Ventures” is the “rebranding” name for USCWM) derives revenue from renting buildings to several schools and churches and renting houses to people searching on Craigslist for vacancies. The tenants have brought new problems that tarnish the reputation of what was a great institution.

We’ve learned about drug and drinking problems. WCIU President Kevin Higgins acknowledged that FV/WCIU “evicted three housing tenants when it was discovered they were selling drugs.” He noted “two incidents on campus involving students who attend schools run by organizations on our campus.” (Out of respect for families who are struggling with the crisis, we and FV/WCIU are not going into specifics.)

We’ve learned about problems involving three charter or private schools—Orion, Celerity, and Excelsior—that rented classroom buildings. Orion was dissatisfied with the condition of its building and left. The Pasadena Fire Department, citing safety concerns, told Celerity it had to move. Excelsior still occupies parts of two buildings: Few of the students are Christians, and the school administration has stifled attempts by evangelicals to invite the students to movie nights and other outreach events.

We’ve learned that FV/WCIU currently faces at least three civil lawsuits from former and current employees alleging harassment, retaliation, overwork without overtime pay, and wrongful termination. The campus’s former human resources director, David Clancy, found FV/WCIU abusing employees, erring in employee benefits, assigning extra work hours without overtime pay, violating whistleblower policies, and not paying state income taxes.

Furthermore, Eduardo Rios, employed from 2007 to 2014 as an electrician, has filed suit concerning “internal wrongdoing, theft, and mismanagement” involving disregard of safety requirements, diversion of maintenance to side jobs at the expense of WCIU, threatened violence, and illegal termination. When WORLD gave President Higgins a list of charges by Clancy and Rios, he commented, “Yes. In each case we have sought to meet with staff and employees to solve these issues. We have made extensive changes in our entire HR department to prevent future problems. I have met personally with one of our WCIU staff, on several occasions, to hear her side of things.”

Eduardo Rios’ legal filing also states that a WCIU manager “required a monetary payment from a prospective applicant applying for a maintenance job. Failure to pay resulted in non-hire or repeated delays in hiring consideration.” Rios alleges “threatening acts to enforce compliance and to create fear within the ranks of the maintenance staff.” When Rios blew the whistle with assurances of confidentiality from WCIU higher-ups, he says the threat-wielding manager and others soon knew about his statements. WCIU fired Rios and retained the manager.

With the maintenance staff a mess, it’s no surprise that maintenance also suffered. According to former housing manager Silvia Rodriguez, who filed a lawsuit against WCIU, some homes have black mold in bathrooms and bathtubs. Some broken windows have remained in disrepair for years. Some heaters have stopped working and consistent plumbing issues have arisen. One single mom had a crack in her wall that caused water to leak in whenever it rained.

WCIU’s Mott Auditorium, which with a capacity of 4,000 is the largest auditorium in Pasadena, is closed most of the time, in part because its heavy doors are difficult to open from the inside. That would be dangerous in case of emergencies, but COO Kerry Jones says it would cost $100,000 to replace them.

We’ve talked with and read depositions from many other employees or tenants—Patty Tessandori, Lesley Baines, and John Cha are among them—who have alleged or spotlighted mismanagement, unfair evictions, and retaliation against complainers and whistleblowers.

FV/WCIU LEADERS and their critics agree the campus has become run-down. They disagree on why that has happened: FV/WCIU executives say the problems show a central campus is no longer useful and they should sell it. Some say the cost of living in Pasadena makes it hard for missionaries to live there. Save the Campus says the problem is not the property but mismanagement of it—and executives emphasizing good stewardship and open accountability could make it bloom once more.

“It’s almost like [FV/WCIU] deliberately wants to atrophy this campus to the point where they have to sell it,” said David Farrow, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who in 2016 tried to bring the headquarters of the missionary organization Iris Global to the Pasadena campus. Farrow said FV/WCIU board members during meetings said the campus had $28 million in deferred maintenance. (Asked about that figure, FV/WCIU responded, “This type of detail will factor in to all discussions with potential buyers and is not being released publicly.”)

Critics say FV/WCIU could have hired a professional property management services company, but instead hired inexperienced people. Higgins, though, says, “No one is deliberately atrophying our campus. We have made a number of significant and routine improvements to properties over the years.” He and FV General Director Francis Patt both insist that the basic problem is not malfeasance but a mismatch of old FV/WCIU goals and new mission realities.

It’s not as if the organization is running out of money. The 990s that nonprofits must submit to the IRS show that each fiscal year from 2012 through 2016 WCIU’s revenue exceeded its expenses by several hundred thousand dollars. Net assets grew steadily throughout that period.

The headline on one of the organization’s press releases reads, “PURSUING A DECENTRALIZED MODEL OF MINISTRY.” It calls for “greater synergy and unity. … The last two decades have radically changed how the world works and collaborates. Real physical space continues to be an important part of our work, but our property needs have shifted from an attractional model with an identity linked to a central location to a vision of a network of communities around the world.”

That’s very abstract. Former employee Clancy, now a leader of Save the Campus, has concrete predictions and objections: “They will sell the campus (unless we can stop them through litigation) and this time around have $55 million dollars. When they sell the other 90 houses, they will earn another $45 million dollars. That will be $100 million dollars at their disposal to run their ministries. These ministries will mostly be research projects. … They are not guaranteeing that ministry will continue, they are guaranteeing that they will have an income.”

‘They will sell the campus (unless we can stop them through litigation). … They are not guaranteeing that ministry will continue, they are guaranteeing that they will have an income.’ —David Clancy

We asked WCIU President Kevin Higgins, “If you are able to sell the property, what are several examples of the specific missionary projects FV/WCIU would like to fund?” He responded, “A growing number and variety of collaboration hubs located globally. … A growing network of universities globally. … Multiple ‘mid-stream’ training locations globally.” That sounds amorphous, and critics of FV/WCIU see it as trading the bird-in-hand for birds in the bush that might never be born. Higgins did talk about developing “a new, innovative B.A. program” and upgrading the master’s degree program: “M.A. in 12 major languages of the world. More concentrations within our M.A. program, including reviving the Chinese Studies program.”

FV/WCIU has hired RK Real Estate, which is part of RK Capital Group. The company says, “We acquire existing income producing assets and enhance the value by strategically repositioning the asset through rebranding, select capital improvements, and a strong management effort.” Providence Christian College gave FV/WCIU a letter of intent to buy, but it expired in January without an agreement.

The campus is now zoned PS, “public and semi-public district,” which means colleges and churches are welcome on it, but corporate offices and condominiums are not. WORLD asked RK principal Keith Mathias, “Would zoning changes maximize the value of the land?” He responded, “Any attempt to put a value on the property based on a hypothetical zone change prior to any application with the city would not be accurate or meaningful.” FV/WCIU leaders and their public relations representative were unwilling to rule out selling the campus to commercial interests.

Save the Campus leaders are suspicious. They write that real estate developers “and the City of Pasadena itself are hungry for the increased revenue a sale like this could bring. … There is NO guarantee that if this Campus is sold that it will go to another Christian organization that will continue this vision.” Save the Campus fears a “new entity [with] a very Kingdom-sounding name like Covenant Community Condos, or Jesus Loves Me Apartments.”

John Fredricks/Genesis

The Slab on the WCIU campus (John Fredricks/Genesis)

TODAY, THE SLAB, empty of the prayer chapel where Erik Stadell once prayed for the campus, is a tranquil picnic area. Next to a blue picnic table is a wooden cross strapped to a tree stump—the remnant of a redwood tree that died because of poor health. Patty Tessandori of Save the Campus says the tree reflects the state of FV/WCIU: “We’ve neglected our roots.” But she looks around and still gets giddy about all the possibilities that could happen: “This campus could still be amazing.”

Ralph Winter founded the campus with the goal of using it to reach the remaining 17,000 people groups by the year 2000. Today in 2018, many have yet to hear the gospel. Bob Coleman, who helped Winter in the founding, says that’s why the campus is still necessary, and why FV/WCIU should restore it: “We still need a lot more mission projects. … We still need a platform to wave that flag.”

Given the suspicion among critics of the planned sale that the land will go to commercial interests, WORLD repeatedly asked FV/WCIU leaders if they would allay that concern. At the close of our research WORLD offered FV/WCIU leaders “one more opportunity to make a clear and unequivocal statement: ‘We will only sell the campus to an evangelical organization that pledges to use it for ministry purposes consistent with the vision that underlay its purchase 40 years ago.’” We asked for a “yes” or “no.”

In response, WCIU President Higgins listed three elements FV/WCIU would use in evaluating prospective buyers: “One is certainly the pricing, though that has never been the first or primary way we have triaged our choices. Second is to find a buyer that shares as closely as possible the values and purposes we have for ministry. And the third is to minimize the disruption” to any FV/WCIU personnel who would remain in Pasadena.

Listen to Marvin Olasky discuss this story on The World and Everything in It.

Sophia Lee

Sophia Lee

Sophia is a features reporter for WORLD Magazine. She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in print journalism and East Asian language and culture. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat, Shalom. Follow Sophia on Twitter @SophiaLeeHyun.

Sophia Lee

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 06:07 am

    Thanks for this extensive detailed review. This is a huge undertaking to try and sum up so much that is happening. I'll admit that as I read I sense a not so subtle bias against the current leadership and their plans. You refer to their future plans as amorphous and abstract. While at the same time you seem to take at face value the statement that the campus "...could still be amazing." Future plans and visions often by their nature are amorphous. This is especially true of mission work and world evangelism. Just read Winter’s writings.

    I'm also intrigued by the assertion that Ralph Winter's vision "... is no longer welcome." His vision was for more than a campus. His vision was to take the gospel to unreached people groups. He is gone, but the vision for world evangelism remains, as the current leadership asserts. This seems to be lost in this imbroglio. A large campus in southern California may no longer be consistent with Winter's vision. Businesses that do not change with the times fail. Churches that don’t evaluate their ministry in light of culture are ineffective. It seems to me that there always is this clash as times change. What is God doing in the world? How can we effectively communicate the good news in this current age? Not in the 20th century.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 10:37 am

    I should add that your article overlooks the fact that Winter left no viable succession plan which resulted in much of what is being blamed on current leadership. It also seems to me that Winter was against channeling money into property and upkeep, preferring to use available funds for the Gospel. Why do these issues have to become litigation, or he said, she said and we want to continue so and so's legacy and these  short sighted current leaders have no idea what they are doing etc etc. We are talking about moving on with the Gospel in a world that is changing by the moment!! 

  • DEANE PARKER
    Posted: Fri, 02/16/2018 12:29 pm

    As a former student of RW I agree with Steve Shive that Winter would not have been married to the USCWM campus in dereliction of the gospel mandate. But when the campus leaders waffle on their plans for the future, who they will sell the campus to, and seemingly have nothing but vague platitudes about what they plan to to do with their 100 million windfall I, as a Last 1000 Campaign supporter as well, think somebody should demand they put on the breaks and stop this downhill slide to oblivion. WORLD gave the USCWM leadership plenty of opportunity to clarify their intentions and they couldn't do it. That reads like incompetence or perhaps a self-serving motive.    

    With the rise of technology and the downtrend in demographics we know 40% of all colleges are going to fail in 20 years. But is the USCWM supposed to be one of them? It has had a unique vision and purpose. Is that vision dead? If not, what part does USCWM play in a new future for the campus? Maybe it should rebrand and develop regional hubs with a downsized foortprint in Altadena. Maybe it should be sold and the money put in trust, overseen by a diverse band of godly missions business men and women. However, with an operational budget that's breaking even year over year something doesn't smell right. Whatever the final decision WORLD's news story is a call for accountability and justice, where injustice has been present. 

    I propose the current leadership seek nationwide (even international) input as to what should lie in the Center's future. Then make it public and seek approval from those who made it happen in the first place.     

  • Elizabeth Stephens
    Posted: Sat, 02/17/2018 02:28 pm

    Q:  Another one bites the dust! Shades of Ambassador College!! What is it about Pasadena....the dreams of William Carey and Herbert Armstrong are similar.

    Answer: Hi Leslie. I am not quite sure what it is.  That is a very astute question.  First, the timing of both sales.  The Ambassador College sale followed the death of Herbert Armstrong, their founder and consideration of the sale of William Carey International University's Campus began shortly after the death of its founder Ralph Winter. The reasons given while sounding "reasonable" often betray the founder's original vision. In system's theory it would be known as the Founder's trap. The transitional leadership usually does not carry the same passion or vision as the founder. I would say that getting to the story of why the campus is being sold will not come from the current visible leadership. The real leaders are in the shadows. Certain members of the Winter family believe it is part of their parent's inheritance to them (a distorted understanding of why nonprofits are not to inure to the profit of an individual or family) , the old guard leaders who are tired, who believe the property is an albatross around their neck, or live on the East coast and hate Pasadena which they admit to.  This campus has gone through several owners over the last 108 years. Whether or not it is saved as it were, as we hope it will be, is really not in our hands, but it is in God's. It belongs to Him and was to be stewarded by their Board of Directors who have mismanaged it as an asset and have consistently failed to hold to the standards of Christ. See my article: Breaking the Code of Silence . 

    It is my opinion after living and working on the campus in the late eighties and nineties that things could have, should have been managed differently. I was but a young radical at the time focused on my own work and didn't fully recognize the political machinations that were transpiring at that time, behind the scenes when a number of very astute Board members resigned in protest over the mismanagement of assets. It is not a pretty picture, but then I've seen it in my own journey over the years as a Buddhist leader for 14 years and now as a Christian witnessing those who profess belief that fails to match their behavior. People will call me divisive. Doesn't much matter to me. The reason I truly love the Word of God for those who have actually studied it is the verity, the genuine wrestling that God goes through with His people and with all people. If He allowed the magnificent Temple of Solomon to be destroyed because His people were unfaithful, well, it should be no surprise that WCIU should basically be sold off for a pittance and it's mission forfeited. 

    I appreciate transparency. As for President "Higgins" I find it a tragic example of the loss of vision and in its place GREED takes over.  I know too much of the inside.  You should know. It is all of our community's responsibility in a sense. We are our brother's keeper. The property in the final analysis does not belong to the Winter family dynasty, but to the 8500 faithful donors who sacrificially gave 8.5 million dollars to pay off the mortgage so that the organization could faithfully discharge it's mission. I wholeheartedly disagree with the decision of Frontier Ventures, aka US Center for World Mission, aka Frontier Mission Fellowship, aka William Carey International University to sell the campus and 147 homes or even a portion of them. I am not alone in my position. Does God need the property? No. God is more interested in people. The 89 families that face eviction. The 92 staff who will be losing their jobs. The many students from various local institutions that depend on low cost student housing found on the WCIU campus. Students from Pasadena City College, Providence Christian College, Azusa Pacific, Cal Tech (where by the way this whole thing kicked off during a mission conference with Ralph Winter, Bob Coleman, Chris Jacobs, Robby Butler who were all students at Cal Tech), Art Center, Fuller (who recently sold 197 student housing units to a developer-still being fought--buildings empty for two years!)  Grapevines need to be pruned to bear fruit. Now it is time for the pruning.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sun, 02/18/2018 07:24 am

    Who is Leslie? Maybe there was a comment that was deleted? Or maybe this was copied from another post, possibly "Breaking the Code of Silence" that is mentioned?

    Why is "Higgins" in quotes. Was it supposed to be around President?

    These were questions running through my mind.

    But more to the point as I read I was wondering where those silent leaders "in the shadows" have been. I'm sure there is more to the story than I know. The same goes for all who have commented, despite their claims. And it certainly goes to Mr Olasky and Ms Lea.

    The current leaders would probably love to pass this hot potato, impossible situation, to someone else and go on with their lives. The storm of criticism must be a heavy burden to carry while they are in the midst of the battle for lost souls, people groups.

    Also I do know that the entire story is not seen in print. I’m also concerned, above all, with the name calling, the ad hominem asides, the assumption of evil and greed in a public forum where no one can answer, or defend. And where no one can really question the accuser nor know the circumstances of conversations and communications.  I also know that I will read these investigational pieces in the future with that jaundiced eye that comes from being mislead too often by the purveyors of truth.
    I recently read a short booklet by Dr Bill Mounce “What I Have Learned About Greek Translation: Since joining the CBT”. Dr Mounce a Greek scholar and Bible translator (from the biblical original languages into English) and others have been denigrated and attacked for their resultant translations. His final section, “Opposition to a Translation Can be Fierce and Ignorant” is telling. This is especially true as I read comments that follow this investigational article [Dueling visions, gnawing suspicions] with not so veiled hints of this in the article itself.

    A final quote, “I have learned that it is easy to attack a person’s motives when you do not know the person (and hence their motives) and when you are not able to argue your point persuasively. Ad hominem arguments are the last bastion of ignorance.” I give the entire quote for the sake of completeness, but the first part is apropos. My heart breaks equally for all involved but as much for how we publicly attack, accuse and ridicule other servants of the King.

    And now we are the jury? And we become attackers. And the Enemy laughs and gloats with glee.

  • Kevin Berasley
    Posted: Sun, 02/18/2018 10:46 pm

    I write as a former staff member of the US Center for World Mission, 1980-89, with friends both among the current WCIU/FV leadership and among the Save the Campus leadership.

    First, about the article.  Its huge slant against the current campus leadership has made a big dent in my respect for World's journalism.  For example, it infers a link between the empty slab where a prayer chapel once stood and the alleged neglect of the campus by its leaders.  That chapel was moved to the original owners' new campus in San Diego before the U.S. Center for World Mission was even born.  The article also charges that "most of the missions-related activity is gone," but says nothing of the ongoing ministries that have continued for many years.

    Next, about WCIU/FV leadership's intention to downsize their Pasadena presence.  I question their decision to sell.  Even in the Internet age, there's something about people from different ministries sharing informally over lunch in the cafeteria or walking across campus that builds new relationships and sparks the kind of innovation Dr. Winter wanted to foster.  I saw this happening all the time when I was there.  I think that quality would be much weaker without the physical presence.  (Comparing my experience in the commercial world with a team of people working face to face to a team spread across the world communicating electronically bears this out.)

    Which brings me to "Save the Campus".  I'm sympathetic to their goals.  I've had long conversations with two friends who are part of the effort, who won me over to their conviction that the campus is worth keeping, who shared a vision I could get behind.  I wish they were the spokesmen for the effort.

    From the beginning of their campaign, "Save the Campus" leaders have insisted on interpreting everything campus leadership says in the worst light possible and portraying them as working for their personal gain.  In the last couple months their Facebook page has been filled with chronicles of wrongdoing 15-30 years ago by people who are no longer there.  This does not help their cause.  They propagate nonsense in comments like the one above about "certain members of the Winter family."  (They offer no evidence for that particular nonsense, which is inconceivable to anyone who knows the Winter daughters and their husbands.)  So I can’t get behind them.

    Stop the attacks.  Make your case for how the campus could be used well.  Build a vision.  We've come such a long way in 40 years.  Let's reach the remaining unreached peoples.

  • Paul Petry's picture
    Paul Petry
    Posted: Mon, 02/19/2018 03:50 pm

    So what is the bottom line, apparently?

    "They are not guaranteeing that ministry will continue, they are guaranteeing that they will have an income.”

    Feathering their own nests?
    Sad.

  • revduke's picture
    revduke
    Posted: Tue, 02/20/2018 07:36 am

    It might just be part of a larger challenge facing schools/higher ed institutions - that of continued viability. As noted by another post, Fuller is selling real estate - in part because the model is shifting, and for finanical viability. Dig around in the halls where higher ed folks talk about the future, and the projections are staggering. The big question is what to do with buildings/camuses when the economy and world are so very different?

  • Georgia Eagle's picture
    Georgia Eagle
    Posted: Thu, 02/22/2018 05:29 pm

    I heard about this article on the podcast, listening to the questions and concerns related to how time and the "changing of the guard" affects ministry decisions with interest.

    I was hoping that Marvin's spoken summary recommendations to ministry leaders would be included in the article but it appears they are not.  Are they posted on the web site?  If so then please provide the link, otherwise please post his recommendations.  Thanks.

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Thu, 03/01/2018 03:00 pm

    We have posted a link to 'The World and Everything In It' segment at the bottom of the story.

  • Steve SoCal
    Posted: Fri, 02/23/2018 03:15 pm

    It is always a heart-sickening shame to see property that was dedicated to the work of the Lord lost, for whatever reasons, and subsequently used for purposes that have nothing to do with God's work.  I have seen this happen with good churches that today are condo complexes, or even home to a non-Christian place of religious worship.  What I read about the ethereal nature of the "plans" for this de-centralization doesn't give me much hope that anything of real missional substance will remain after the sale.  With the sad stories of some of the recent tenants, it seems like that process started a while back.  Wouldn't it be great if there were someone with adequate resources, capability, humility, and godly vision for the work of the Lord around the world to step in and purchase the property, renew it, and put it to use for God's Kingdom?

  • Graced
    Posted: Mon, 03/05/2018 07:21 pm

    As a graduate of WCIU's MA in Global Civilization, I read this piece with interest and mixed reactions. On one hand, I have personally benefitted from the decentralized approach, which allowed me to obtain a master's degree without having to do residency hours. I have also understood the vision to expand that opportunity to those serving on the field or to the church in the global south, two categories of individuals who would find coming to a campus nearly impossible. I embrace and support this vision. It is a trend that several missions agencies are adopting as the mission field increasingly becomes the mission force. 

    On the other hand, I understand the concerns about donor intent and find it troubling that WCIU would not commit to only selling to a like-minded evangelical organization (although, given the realities noted above, they may be concerned about finding such an agency looking for space). The lack of clear communication over the years and throughout the process is also troubling. 

    It's important to understand the changing realities of missions and missions education. But it's also important to be transparent and clear. I'm praying for this situation.

  • BOB READER
    Posted: Thu, 03/29/2018 02:48 pm

    FV/WCIU has responded to this unfortunate cover story on the "Missions Pentagon."  See:

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58178917d482e994ffcd43ba/t/5a8c79...

    I am not and have never been employed by any of the agencies at issue, but like many, I have dear friends who have served with them.  This article was a shameful attack on good people trying their best to know how best to serve our Lord.  

    Is World maganize willing to print this reponse in their next issue?  The  reporter and editor should be embarrassed by this article, especially shamefully using it as a cover story, and offer a formal apology to FV/WCIU as well.  

  • David C's picture
    David C
    Posted: Tue, 05/08/2018 09:27 pm

    Wow, a Lee/Olasky article. They would only team up if it were really going to sell subscriptions. That's the sort of skepticism that really infected this article. I wanted to chime in because it seems all these people miss the negotiating going on. Providence is a well organized effort to resurrect a Christian University on the campus. If some of you out there want this property to persist in serving the kingdom, you may want to give to the Providence effort. We should compare this to the Ambassador College situation. Many may have lamented the change, but now that campus hosts a church and a wonderful Christian high school, Maranatha High School. The Lord will guide those who are leading. I have no affiliation, but alot of affection for those who have worked on the dozens of ministries still on the campus. Finally, the future of all education is online. Even the state universities should not be charing $100,000 for education that could be distributed online free and tested for nominal costs, even if the professors earn more by teaching 1000's more students. PhD's beware you may have to actually contribute useful information to the world instead of arcanity.