Monday, November 26, 2007

Where to Give Year-End Gifts

SWNID's gentle readers, largely being members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, tend to be extremely wealthy. In this holiday season, they are generally concerned to find ways to shelter their ill-gotten gains from payment of their already-smaller-than-fair share of taxes. (Note: this paragraph contains sarcasm.)

This year, we recommend generous donations and longer-term pledges to Cincinnati Christian University's "Beyond the Walls" campaign, detailed nicely in this piece from Friday's Enquirer.

Signature sarcasm aside, and with due caution for the obvious self-interest* in our mentioning this, we are hard pressed to think of a way that one can use one's dollars, euros, pounds sterling, yen, yuan, pesos, bolivars, rubles or other units of currency more strategically than through gifts that will secure the future ministry of CCU and other institutions that develop the talents and interests of Christians who will lead the church in its global mission to subvert the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.

Other projects may be more trendy or deliver a warmer, fuzzier feeling. But when one scratches and sniffs the people who lead the big stuff that gets done, one discovers a significant number of such folk were shaped by their experiences at CCU and similar institutions of biblical higher education. Investments in such joints are significantly leveraged in their influence.

We hasten to add that we always expect a degree of skepticism about such appeals. We therefore invite gentle readers who want to ask questions or express such skepticism to do so in the comments on this posting, where we will answer as much as this busy season allows, and with as much honesty as our calloused heart can muster.

__________________
*SWNID has a rather large personal commitment to the ministry of CCU. We will not receive any financial emolument from donations to the campaign.

16 comments:

Micah said...

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, "This fellow began to build and was not able to finish."
--Luke 14:28-30

I'm all for big, hairy, audacious goals. But nothing I've seen makes me think that CCU has the donor base to pull off a 30mil campaign. I like the way the money is allocated... it's a well-thought spending plan. But I'm just not sure it's going to go well.

Anonymous said...

The recent CCU newsletter mentions (more than in passing) that CCU has considered abandoning the current campus, but rejected the idea.

This struck me hard as I gave to get the multi-million dollar chapel building built, but the school, in considering abandoning the current campus didn't acknowledge (in this newsletter at least) what would be lost in doing such (beyond the history and the ministry opportunities in the city). The school has already spent tons of money (raised almost all from gifts) on a very significant building on campus.

It's hard not to wonder, what's to keep the board from abandoning the campus after 30 million has been spent?

Bryan D said...

I think my skepticism on CCU's ability to even manage a $30 million project is best left unstated.

However, am I wrong to hope that a good portion of the $12 million allocated for the library would be spent on extending its collection?

rtdtup

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

To Micah:

Excusing your out-of-context citation of Scripture, we declare that you raise a valid point that many have noted. As a rejoinder, we will simply say that (a) there's probably more money out there than we commonly realize; (b) the success of individual projects to be funded in the campaign does not depend on raising the entire amount of money, so anything raised will be to the good; (c) in the details of the plan is a breakdown of numbers and sizes of gifts that is entirely plausible to attain, though not exactly automatic; (d) as the campaign moves forward, goals and plans will continue to adjust to realities, whether those adjustments be up or down.

In sum, this is not an impossible figure, even if it is unprecedented for this particular institution. But even if the campaign falls short, the money raised will leverage an awful lot of good stuff.

To Anonymous:

We agree that it would have been a blow if the trustees had decided to move to a new campus instead of developing the present one. However, the choice was considered more as a matter of due diligence than anything (as in, Have we considered all the options before launching this campaign?), and the very concern that you cite--that present investment could well be lost in a move--was a huge and obvious consideration in reaching the conclusion that a move was not advantageous. Simply put, we found that a move would entail costs to replace present buildings that would be significantly more than any accrued benefit or any plausible sale of the present property.

Any capital investment, whether it is buying into a business in which I hope to profit or making a donation to an organization whose work I want to further, means taking the risk that the leadership of that business or organization will turn out to be stupid (e.g.: I would buy Microsoft stock, but what if they continue to come out with dogs like Vista?). Since said leadership is always human, it sometimes proves to be stupid. But we invest nevertheless, and generally on the long term things turn out OK, thanks to the ability of collective leadership with structures of public accountability to be corrected and thereby avoid repeated, profound stupidity over the long term. In fact, the real losers are not those who invest with an occasional loss, but those who never invest out of fear of loss.

Hence, I think that it's fairly safe to assume that future decision makers at CCU will not "abandon" a $30 million capital investment to move the campus on an ill-considered whim. One can only imagine such a move if it credibly promised to be more valuable to move than to stay, an outcome that appears extremely unlikely at present. We therefore urge determining one's investments on the value of the mission, not the possibility that future leadership will act foolishly.

N.B. that other colleges of the Christian churches either have completed such moves recently (Nebraska) or are planning to do so soon (we would mention the one that we know if we were sure that it was a matter of public knowledge at present). Such moves are normally predicated on very attractive sale prices for the present property and improved opportunities at a new one. They should not be viewed as abandonment of the investment at a current site.

Such a scenario is less likely for CCU than at any point in our 30-year association with it. There are too many good reasons to stay put, and they seem to get bigger and better with time.

On the side, we applaud your confidence that the present location in bleak East Price Hill offers a future worth committing to. We heartily agree, and not for sentimental reasons. By the way, so do all our consulting experts.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

To Bryan D:

Library allocations at present include construction, furniture, fixtures, equipment and additional aquisitions.

BTW, CCU's library aquisition budgets, while still modest, have been on the rise for about three years now. We expect to continue modest increases. The utility of our present collection, hailed by many knowledgeable visitors and evaluators, is a testament to the wisdom of our library director and his able staff.

Further on skepticism about $30 million: if those with the means to give don't give because they think that $30 million is unattainable, well, the outcome is obvious. But if those with means give because they believe in the mission of the institution, whatever they give will be devoted to the end that they seek. The goal is significantly less important than the purpose of the gift.

Carl said...

while i would personally recommend year-end gifts going to a church plant in baltimore (via www.baltimoremosaic.blogspot.com), i am one of those products of ccu who testify to its effectiveness. i pray that ccu does reach the goal of 30 mil. (and i hope the library is priority #1!)

Micah said...

You know that I respect your Biblical acumen, Doctor, but I disagree that I misused the verse. There's clearly a specific point that Jesus is driving at, but there's also a broader principle (parable?) that can reasonably be drawn from the verse.

If CCU tries to get 30mil but only gets 10, that's going to be perceived as a failure. Dress it up all you want, but that's simply how it will be seen, and perception really IS reality in this kind of thing. I know Faust says "Well at least we'll be better off than we are now" and he has a point. But if we don't hit the 30 million, it will absolutely devastate future fundraising efforts.

Setting achievable goals and hitting them builds momentum. Setting massive goals and missing destroys it.

If BtW is really a meta-campaign, then present it as such. Every time I see "CCU launches a $30mil campaign" I throw up a little in my mouth.

I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying I'd feel better with a little less "rah-rah" and a little more sober reflection.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Micah:

We said "out of context." We didn't say "false." We hasten to observe, however, that the text you cite is probably more commomly appropriated in this country to make the (bland) point you make than the one that Jesus was making, which by the way urged serious action, not the opposite.

I simply disagree that something less than $30 million would devastate later fundraising. It is the value of the mission that drives these things in the end, not whether a goal as such was met in a particular way.

I suspect further that you may underestimate the sober reflection, not to mention high-level consultation with seasoned professionals, that preceded this.

Micah said...

Ah, semantics. "Out-of-context" to "misuse" to "false," in three easy posts.

I fully agree with the value of mission, I just see reputation as equally important. And I don't want to see the school get a reputation for biting off more than it can chew.

I'm sure there was sober reflection behind closed doors. I just haven't seen much in public.

None of this means I won't be giving personally, or encouraging others to do so. It's a worthy cause. I'm just saying I've seen nothing that makes me think we'll hit the 30mil without seriously extending the schedule. And if we're going to do that, then multiple smaller campaigns might have been a better option. Because if we're 8 years into this and no end is in sight, it's not going to feel very good.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

We are being playful when we castigate for out-of-context citation. However, we do confess some frustration when the words of Jesus about the cross are commonly appropriated as management truisms.

Being old and having been through many campaigns of many kinds for many organizations, we are sanguine about unmet numerical goals because we have lived through many a campaign that didn't reach a goal but nevertheless furthered the mission of the organization. And in every case that we've lived through, the organization with the "failed" goal lived to set another goal, and somehow managed to get people to support it.

And we have come to believe, out of our own experience and observations of others, that few people do things that cost them because they want to see a numerical goal achieved. People who get fired up because of a number, if such people exist at all, are at best in the shallow end of the pool.

But let's distinguish a numerical goal from a purpose or mission. Achieving a purpose or mission--accomplishing something valuable--is clearly important to sensate human beings and so "motivational" in the narrow sense. This is so much so that we wouldn't worry about something being motivational, or use metaphors like "momentum" to describe human behavior, if it weren't for the fact that we care about accomplishing missions.

Numerical goals become shorthand expressions that roughly quantify a segment of the achievement of a mission. They probably function well only insofar as they can explicitly be connected to the mission. When numbers are arbitrarily set by bosses and imposed on workers, no one gives a rip about them except for the fear that they'll be punished for not achieving them, or maybe rewarded for achieving them (behavioral psychology demonstrates that punishments are awful motivators and rewards work temporarily and undependably). But when numbers represent milestones in the achievement of a larger purpose, they become meaningful, but only as an adjunct expression of the purpose.

In this particular appeal, what's significant is that the numbers primarily arise out of the purpose, not a calculation of what might be raised if the right efforts are applied. You've acknowledged this as you've affirmed the value of the proposed expenditures. The truth is that they're vital to sustaining the institution's achievement of its mission. The options in the future for doing what CCU does without this investment are not exactly forthcoming. There's not much "fat" in this plan, in other words. So it's hard to conceive of a numerical goal that is more closely akin to prior fundraising efforts and is at the same time honestly expressive of the institutional mission.

So, how are we SWNIDishly sanguine about whether this audacious number is met in a particular temporal frame? First, we have observed the cockroach-like ability of Christian institutions to servive and even flourish as they adapt to constrained circumstances in the short term. Second, we have observed the success of individuals and organizations that persist in meaningful efforts over time frames that are longer than they originally project (Pauline virtues like "patient endurance" come to mind). Third, we are committed to the notion that God gives his people just what they need and just when they need it, even when we have predefined our needs--even rationally and honestly--differently.

So we freely confess that we would be personally more "comfortable" in one respect with a lower target number. But we can honestly say that such a number would not be honest. If someone asked, Is this $30 million what you need right now to continue to pursue your institutional mission in the temporal frame of your planning, we can answer, Yes, it absolutely is, with due consideration to thrift as well as vision. If we asked for less, we'd have to say, This is not all that we believe that we genuinely need, but it's all we think we can get.

I'd prefer to announce our need as we understand it and then to modify our notion of our need if the resources don't appear. So if we ask for $30 and get $15, we will do our best with what we have, take a breath, look around, re-evaluate, and maybe re-ask if that appears to be the best move. That, it seems to us, is honest and faithful (in the sense of "full of faith").

Further, if we think we need $30 and ask for $15 because we think it's more reasonable, and we get the $15, what if we left needed and available money on the table?

And to address briefly the "credibility" problem of leaders who project the future in ways that do not pan out, did Paul lose credibility when he went to Rome as a prisoner instead of Spain as a free man? The contingency of the future is an immutable reality that all self-styled "leaders" are better off acknowledging than trying to finesse.

becka said...

I've been thinking about this since first reading your post and the Enquirer article yesterday, but I just can't seem to bring myself to give to CCU.

While there are a handful of faculty and staff who truly challenged me in incredible ways and taught me how to think (which I am genuinely thankful for), my overall sentiment or feeling towards the school is hardly positive. I guess I'm like most people -- started out 100% gung ho about the place, then got to the point where I couldn't stand it, and eventually by graduation I ended up somewhere in between.

I haven't thought about these things for awhile. I guess my cynicism stems mostly from frustration with all the politics behind things. While a student at CCU, I remember being particularly frustrated by the pecuniary politics. There were ridiculous and outdated policies that had to remain in place because the major donors were old school. I remember a specific instance where a professor had to amend his syllabus because a donor freaked out that none of the books listed was by a Restoration Movement author. There was this tension between being modern and reasonable or being funded. I realize that these politics don't just exist at CCU; every school has its fair share, and it's probably more pronounced at private institutions. I also realize that these things can't change until different donors, maybe even such as myself, step up to the plate.

I can't deny that graduates of CCU and similar institutions affect genuine change and influence their surroundings in authentic, important ways. However, although I know of many examples to the contrary, my cynicism is fed by the good number of graduates who leave and go back to places exactly like the ones from which they came, only to perpetuate small town small mindedness-- except now they know more Bible verses and history. This is probably a gross generalization, but I've seen it happen more times than I really care to. I guess I need to really think about whether I can categorically refuse to donate to the school because of the actions and attitues of some of the faculty/staff/students. At the end of the day, there is a lot of good that's going on.

Another thing that discourages me from donating was the breakdown of funds I read in the Enquirer article. I agree that a dormitory building and library are necessary for expanding the student body and effectiveness of the school. What I don't understand is if the dormitory is $8 million and the library is $12 million, is the other $10 going to the only other listed project, the new entry pavilion to President's Hall? Maybe I don't understand everything that goes into an entry pavilion, but seriously? An entry pavilion for $10 million? This seemed to confirm my skepticism and my first thought after a huge eye roll was "Why don't we go ahead and add a $5 million gazebo while we're at it. That way we can win the award for most gazebos per square mile."

I've read through the other comments, and in my head I understand what you are saying about choosing an investment by the value of the mission and not the possibility of foolish leadership or the mishandling of funds. However, for some reason I'm having trouble internalizing this understanding and translating it into an actual donation. I trust Dr. Faust and some of the other leadership, yourself included, but for some reason I don't trust the place as a whole. Maybe I don't need to trust CCU in order to make a valid, responsible investment. It's probably not fair to judge what the school is like and the work it's doing based on what was happening a couple of years ago. I've only been out of school for three years, so maybe I just need more time and distance from the place; perhaps in a couple of years I'll have worked through this stuff and will be able to make a donation without this internal struggle. Thanks for inviting honesty on this topic.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

To Becka:

Thanks for the very honest laying out of issues. You speak for many.

First, to the budget for the campaign. We're trying to raise capital for more than buildings, and not all the projects are listed in the Enquirer article. The remainder of the $30 million goes not just to the entry pavilion (a project which is designed as highly functional and desperately needed space for offices that meet the public and will run about half a million, at a per-square-foot cost that is modest and conventional) but to various smaller improvements to facilities and to the endowment of significant scholarships. That's listed in the latest CCU 514 and here.

Second, to the politics, as we sometimes call them. First, we admit that such exist wherever sinners, including redeemed ones, interact. In any Christian endeavor, there exists the tension between our ideals and the realities of our own and others' fallenness. CCU is no exception.

However, we urge consideration of a number of factors in that light.

One is that activities are undertaken not by institutions but by individuals who inhabit them. Sometimes we associate bad actions of the past with institutions as institutions, forgetting that the actions were taken by individual people, not the "institution," which is nothing more than an abstraction for a group of people. And sometimes the people who took those actions are dealt with, sooner or later, by other people who comprise the institution. Some of what bugs you may have been done by people who are no longer doing what they did, and rightly so.

That is not to say that similar actions will not be taken by other people in the future. It is to say, however, that the collective of individuals who comprise the institution aren't happy that such things happen and do what they can to prevent them.

As to the specific instance you mention of a professor modifying a syllabus, we can say two things. One is that this did not come about as a result of any official pressure from an academic administrator on said professor. We say that with a high degree of confidence because if it had, we personally would have been a part of the pressure, and we have neither memory of such an action nor the will to do such a thing. The other is that sometimes Christians do things to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and overall that is not a bad thing.

We will say further that the last several years have been a period in which many of us at CCU have re-evaluated whether it is in the best interests of our mission to devote our energies to placating the concerns of each and every "concerned" individual. These days we talk a lot about the 80% rule, which says that anything one does will be disagreed with by 20% of the people engaged. We take up a related issue next.

As to the widely experienced disappointment with one's peer graduates, we identify with the feeling. Students come to Christian higher ed with high ideals and high expectations of themselves and others. Then we encounter the bitter reality of humanity yet again. It was so in my day as a student and recent graduate as well.

However, we continue to do what we do because of our conviction that when seed falls on bad soil, it does not negate the harvest that comes from the seed that falls on good soil. Let's say pessimistically and without any specific measurement that about 25%of CCU graduates turn out personally and professionally to honor to an excellent degree the purposes of their education. If that is the case, they roughly match the number of graduates of other institutions of higher learning who pursue professions related to their degrees (nationally only a quarter of graduates in the sciences and engineering are employed in those fields; in Ohio, 25% of students with teaching licensure ever teach, and half of them are gone in five years).

However, the seed that falls on good soil yields a pretty good harvest. There are more kinds of bad soil than good, but the harvest remains abundant.

To describe this differently, the venture capitalist who sees 75% of his investments go bust but experiences a ginormous return on the other 25% will be lionized on Wall Street as a financial genius.

Differently, no one thinks about all the times that Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth struck out. They do think about Barry Bonds's strikeouts, but that's another issue.

We hasten to add that there's probably not a word that we've written here that you haven't already acknowledged. Knowing you too well as a student, we would expect you to have already figured these things out. You've said all of this yourself as you've rasied the questions.

You express a certain reluctance about transitioning from suspicion to trust (with verification, to allude to the wise Reagan). In our experience, we find it hard to transition from being under someone's "authority" to exercising the risk of trust in that person. Adult children go through the same thing with parents. It's a relational move from "have to" to "want to" that isn't easy. But you can figure it out.

In closing, we say how delighted we are to carry on this asynchronous conversation with good and honest conversation partners. Blessings on Becka, Micah, Bryan D, Anonymous, Carl and all who inhabit these pages! It is the great blessing of our meager life to know you and others like you.

Bryan D said...

Becka's forthright admission leads me to uncover another issue of significance to myself and many others still associated with CCU. That is, I have a problem with the stated goal of the expansion project: to attract more students.

In my tenure on the Hallowed Hill I saw the beginnings of a dramatic increase in the student population at CCU. So dramatic in fact that by my Senior year girls who were required to live on campus were being shoved into classrooms and old closets.

The sheer number of students was not the only change to be noticed, there was a fundamental change in the character and composure of the student body as well. So many of the students in attendance could care less about serving God, they were there for other reasons.

There was a loss of the sense of community on hill, the sort of common sense of purpose that had previously brought us all together now seemed to wedge us apart.

My point I guess is that every measure that the school has taken to increase attendance has worked, but in a way that none of us I think really wanted. We filled our walls with people who really had no business being there, didn't really no why they were there and didn't particularly care to stay. Some of these students were the recipients of lucrative scholarship schemes, and not the academic type mind you.

In my experience (which I believe is relevant) the increase in student population has brought nothing but a disruption in the academic and spiritual environment of the campus in general.

Sure it's fine to attract new students, but one should be mindful of what kind of students are being attracted.

If I had any money, this would be the sort of plan I would support:

1. Loosten residency policies to give the school more time to raise funds for a long tem housing solution.

2. Increase spending on academics. Get a Philosophy department for heaven's sake. If need be, raise tuition. Debt in the ministry is a big problem, but students would be ready to spend a little more in order to receive a better education.

3. Raise admission standards. Why do we require ministers to be educated if such an education is to be reduced to mere formality. Raise internal academic standards as well. Doing this will make sure that the students who come do so because they want to be there and stay because they have worked for it.

In contrast, I could never support or endorse a $30 "anyone and everyone" strategy that I have already seen do so much damage to the beloved alma mater.

qbfam

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

OK, Bryan D, we will pull a bit of rank on this one, but it is the rank of experience that comes from deep middle age.

First, you err significantly in assuming that there was a fundamental change in admissions approaches or policies during your matriculation. In point of fact, there was none. The reason the women's dorms filled had to do with increased enforcement of on-campus residency requirements. Admissions standards and practices did not change through the period, and the number of students admitted in CBC stayed extremely steady.

SWNID has lived now through multiple generations of CCU students, including when we were ourself a student. We can say in all honesty that every multitude has been mixed in roughly equal measures. A "where are they now" survey of the recently restored graduation composite portraits is but one illustration. The generation that declares itself more dedicated or able than the one that followed is by nearly any measure less self aware and objective than it probably realizes. We can actually support that judgment statistically. Outcome measure have been outrageously steady over time.

On other matters, we note that loosening residency policies would not help CCU financially. Residency income supports general operations. We can explain further on request. The projected dorm replaces one that is now beyond maintenance and adds a few beds on the margins. Growth will come primarily through nonresidential students, but we must continue to meet the demand that exists for residential housing as well. But there would be a financial loss, not a gain, by reducing the number of students who lived on campus.

The addition of a philosophy department requires sufficient student interest in the discipline to sustain enrollment. While your own interest is patent, it is not widely held. We can decry such indifference, but the fact remains that many universities large and small have found it hard to sustain departments of philosophy (I have a degree from one such institution).

However, what would make it possible to change that grim reality would be [drum roll] sufficiently increased enrollment to create an efficiency for such instruction [cymbal crash]. A rather bigger student body would actually demand a professor of philosophy merely to sustain the present curriculum. Hence, the difficulty of sustaining all of your goals simultaneously.

Also, we hasten to add that the percentage of the operational budget devoted to instruction in general has been on the rise steadily for a number of years, the most obvious increases coming in the last few years.

On other considerations, let me make a few points briefly.

One is that there is an ongoing internal conversation about restructuring tuition to more closely reflect the actual cost of delivering the educational product. A transition to a different structure in which students would not be generally subsidized but awarded institutional aid more on the basis of need and meerit must be carefully thought out and managed, but it is at least as appealing as it is daunting. We'll see where that goes, but we specifically mention that it's on the table.

Another is that the question of admission standards continues to be on the table as well. Coming and going, CCU students prove to be statistically average for university students nationally in most measurable respects, including academic ones. That's fine: we aren't by mission an elitist institution. And we have yet to find a reliable means of measuring the intangibles of focus and dedication that make for good students in the niche of biblical higher education. Truth is, we don't know how to predict who will be the student who needs to be here and who will be the other kind. Some of our ostensibly most highly qualified and highly recommended are flops; some of the ostensibly least likely are huge successes. Predictive data are difficult to find.

However, we recognize that we stand at a crossroads where the process of self-selection on which we have largely relied in the past is probably not going to be strong enough to sort the wheat from the chaff in the future. We must devote precious resources where they'll do the most good. Figuring that out isn't as straightforward as it might appear from the student's perspective.

We receive your comments as thoughtful, serious and loyal to the outrageous mission that CCU pursues. We are personally fully committed to the goals you seek in making them. But we say in all candor that the matters are not as simple as they might appear, nor all the facts exactly as you might construe them.

Guy named Courtney said...

I have been enjoying following along with the progression of the comments the past few days and have been trying to figure out where I stand on this "issue".
I loved my time at CBC (CCU). I don't have to lie, I was not the greatest student, I wasn't an average student even when it came to grades, but what I took away from CCU has helped my faith, which has become ever so fragile at times over these last few years, stay focused enough to be able to still help others. I like many others before and after me came to Cincy as a child and I left...changed.
Yes, I did not like some of the rules, the professors, some of the other students, setting up chapel chair, but in spite of all of these "awful" things I managed to be led into a stronger christian and a stronger leader.
I can't say if or if not I'll be able to give in this campaign due to the fact that I am still in college (well I will be again in another six months or so) and the money that has been set aside is towards our first house. But I will have no problem giving to the place that helped me grow into the man I am today.
I know I might sound like a brown noser, but for those that know me, that is something I am not known as. All I know is what I've been through so far in these last 25 years, more specifically, the last three years. My faith has struggled and has been tested like never before, but it is because of what has been shown to me that I still stand here today as a Christian. And on a personal note, it is because of my belief that I even still stand here today, because I should have been killed now on three different occasions, yet here I stand.
I know this is loaded with cheese, but, to those that have trouble giving, think about who you would be without CBC, where you would be. Why not help someone else have the chance to have what you have gained? (that sounds like a poor advertisement, but I stand by it, so I won't delete it)

Christian said...

I keep hearing all sorts of negative comments and experiences from people about CBC/CCU. Not just in these responses but in my own small circle of alum as well. I'm having a hard time understanding why. My wife and I both graduated from CBC and we had tremendous experiences. Sure, there were issues at times, but at what point in life dealing with other people haven't we all had issues?

My personal philosophy with church and I think with school as well is that you get out of it what you put into it. (Well to be more precise, you get a lot more out of it than you put into it by God's goodness.) People that don't invest themselves into an orginization but expect a return from that orginization will likely leave emptyhanded and hard hearted.

I thank God for the ministry of CBC, the churches and individuals that support it, the education I received there, the mentors and educators that were a part of my time there, the relationships I built, and the personal growth that ensued.

And I guess SWNID's okay too.