Sundoulos - Spring 2009

Alumni Focus

by Rick Bee

As many of our organizations and ministries are faced with huge challenges in raising funds to meet mission, and simultaneously reducing expenses and programs to meet shrinking budgets, what should be our role as Alumni, Faculty and Staff in these uncertain times?

In its January issue, Christianity Today ran an article talking about the ministry of home rescue efforts by churches to congregation members who have lost or are loosing their homes. The article reported that “…many have discovered during this season of pain how the church as the body of Christ functions as an agency of last resort (even for its own clergy and members) in times of financial emergency.” And we know the financial pain is hitting many churches and missions agencies around the country; recent surveys completed by the Barna organization indicate that church giving is down in 53% of churches, and an additional 29% of churches are saying that giving is at best flat.

The implication for many in our congregations and ministries is for a time of belt tightening and cutting back as fear and uncertainty pour over and through our congregations and constituencies. While some of the challenge in these difficult times is self-inflicted and comes from our own inability to live within our budgets and plan well for the future, a tightening credit market, falling home prices and the unstable stock and equity markets have caught even our most-well prepared congregants off guard.

Calling our congregations back to faith in God as the provider and sustainer is perhaps the greatest challenge for many in ministry. And the church can and must play a role in assisting those in need during these difficult times, while challenging others to inspired generosity.

Biola and Talbot, in partnership with Crown Ministries, is seeking to prepare the next generation of pastors and leaders who will take to the church a message of hope and confidence, and a reminder of God’s ownership of all we have and His provision of all we need. Teaching from passages such as Philippians 4:11-13 to challenge believers to spend wisely, Proverbs 22:7 to seek counsel and use credit wisely, Acts 20:35 to give generously, and Mark 8:36 to leave a legacy in how we live, students are gaining the knowledge to be better prepared and teach others how to live a life pleasing to God.

Here at Talbot, some of our students are facing the very same challenges that our congregations are facing. Some are facing unemployment, loss of homes, loss of retirement and securities, and some face not being able to complete their studies because of these difficulties. With that in mind the university has developed a fund to assist students at risk of having to suspend their studies with an emergency financial aid fund. Many faculty, staff and alumni have stepped forward to ensure the continued training of Talbot and Biola graduates. We are able to make a difference in these student’s lives.

Our prayer is for you to make a difference in your ministry with wisdom, clear direction in these foggy times, and peace in knowing that He whom we serve will sustain us.

Rick Bee
Biola ’79, Talbot ’90, ‘01
Senior Director of Alumni Relations

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639