Every year at this time all of us at Fresno Pacific are deeply engaged in making the plans that will guide our priorities in the new fiscal year that begins on May 1. The visions, hopes and dreams always far exceed the available financial and human resources. This is normal, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating as we struggle to find the best balances between effectiveness and efficiency, and between stability and change. That is why we are so grateful for every one of you who blesses and multiplies your financial gifts with your prayers that we will use wisely what you entrust to us for the Lord’s work.
In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus gives us three stories to guide our decisions as we do our best to serve him until he physically returns to establish fully the greatness of his glorious kingdom. The second of these three stories is about how God entrusts us, his servants, with different amounts of resources according to our ability to use them, and how God rewards the servants who serve him by boldly and wisely investing those resources. He gives them additional resources! Fresno Pacific is a servant of God’s kingdom, and the principles of faithful stewardship apply to us in our work together as an organization, just as they apply to each of us as individuals.
When you entrust Fresno Pacific with your treasures of money, time, talents, influence, prayers and especially your family and friends who become our students, faculty and staff, we all become co-stewards in the work of God’s kingdom on earth. In this kingdom partnership, we are responsible for the wisest possible use of all these precious gifts. This stewardship is both a joyful privilege and a huge and complex responsibility. You need to be confident that we are constantly making the necessary changes to ensure faithful, effective and efficient use of your resources.
So, every year at this time we develop the budget, program and personnel plans that will guide our work together. That process requires us to make difficult decisions about what assignments will be offered to each employee for the following fiscal year, and which faculty and staff will be given notice that they will need to find some other place of employment.
All these decisions are made with great and prayerful care, but to fulfill our responsibility as kingdom stewards, they cannot be avoided. Fortunately, today we have better tools to provide the detailed data we need to assess where resources are going and what our needs are.
This year’s process required much greater change than usual, as we took significant steps to provide a stable and sustainable operation that balances available resources with expenditures. In very simplistic terms we always remember: Organizations cannot change the world if they cannot pay rent and salaries.
While those steps did not include dropping any academic majors, six full-time faculty were informed that their current contract would be their last. Three resigned and three positions were eliminated. All notifications have been made and will go into effect at the end of this school year. Senior administrators set the financial targets, and the dean of each school came up with a plan to meet his or her target, with faculty involvement.
Please be confident that these changes indicate our deep commitment to the faithful use of everything God provides through your generosity. Jesus summarizes the meaning of this stewardship story to make it unavoidably clear: “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.”
In God’s economy, bold and courageous stewards ultimately get additional resources. Pray with us for our colleagues who must make changes in their lives as a result of decisions we must make to ensure the long-term viability and effectiveness of Fresno Pacific. And pray with us that we will always be faithful and wise in the work of God’s kingdom for the glory of Jesus Christ.