I have been delayed, by the pressure of responsibilities, some two or three weeks in sending you the joyous and happy announcement that we had set — officially — the date for ground- breaking and start of actual CONSTRUCTION of the long-hoped-for HOUSE FOR GOD at Pasadena headquarters.
I had already announced it to the brethren here — and it brought the biggest and most thunderous applause I had ever heard from our brethren here!
But I have just received a very sobering statement from Mr. Albert Portune, Vice President in charge of Financial Affairs and Planning. Last year — a depression year — the first three months' income for God's Work was 13.6% over the first quarter of the preceding year. We have just finished the first three months of 1971, with only a 5.6% increase! THAT MEANS 1971 IS STARTING OUT TO BE A WORSE YEAR THAN LAST!
At this time last year I had to ask all you members to send in extra special emergency offerings — even to borrow at your bank whatever amount you could repay in monthly payments within two years. I cut all top salaries 20%, and middle-range salaries 15%. I cut The PLAIN TRUTH and TOMORROW'S WORLD and The GOOD NEWS down to every other month. I cut a hundred or more radio stations from broadcasting seven times a week to only once a week. We cut the budget for EVERY DEPARTMENT of this Work by 10% BESIDES!
That kind of cutting back HURTS THE WORK OF GOD — but it had to be done, and as a result we ended the year in the best financial condition in the history of the Work. But now, for the first quarter of this year we have had to spend quite a bit more than income. At that rate the Work of God would soon STOP — it would DIE — you would hear NO MORE BROADCASTS or TELECASTS — The PLAIN TRUTH, and the other magazines would CEASE PUBLICATION — you of each local Church might be able to support your local ministers and continue assembling — but THE WORK WOULD STOP!
That is NOT God's will — and we MUST NOT LET IT HAPPEN! But, UNLESS THAT SITUATION CHANGES in the next six weeks, I WILL HAVE TO CANCEL THE GROUND BREAKING AND CONSTRUCTION OF GOD'S HOUSE! In fact I will have to cancel it within TWO weeks — because the contractors must have NOTICE — they must be SURE, weeks ahead, if we are going on!
The response to my request for STATEMENT OF INTENTION cards was fairly good — but NOT ENOUGH. And, with the general income for the Work dropping way below budget, I CANNOT give the "GO" signal UNLESS there is a dramatic INCREASE in income WITHIN TWO WEEKS!
If many who did NOT return a statement of intention card will NOW do so — or if many who did could just write me that you can INCREASE it; that might save the situation.
It appears, in any event, I shall have to again make drastic cutbacks in the power and scope of God's WORK.
Will you PRAY EARNESTLY FOR THIS WORK?
Two things MAY help the situation. I have been working the past several months on a REVISED EDITION of the "New Morality" book, to come out immediately under the NEW title: "The Missing Dimension in SEX." We are going to offer this revised edition for our semi-annual letter in May. But we are mailing out, IMMEDIATELY, 40,000 letters to P.T. subscribers, offering the book. The response will tell us approximately how many books will be requested when the BIG mailing goes out in May — so we may know how many books to print. And, although I did not ask for it, this letter MAY bring a financial response that will help at this crucial time. The revised edition will omit all the first seven chapters, and I have written three NEW chapters in their place. This time the book will be reduced in size, and printed on less costly paper.
One other thing that will help — a little later. We are starting a new series of BIBLE LECTURES, inviting all who have received TOMORROW'S WORLD for one year or longer. Our trial lecture series will be held in Anaheim, California, where leading ministers from Headquarters may be the speakers. About 1300 have answered our invitation saying they want to attend. We plan, now, to hold these lectures once a week. I feel that experience may dictate they ought to be held five or six nights a week. I feel, based on response from subscribers in the Anaheim area, this will soon result in the LARGEST GROWTH IN CHURCH MEMBERSHIP we have ever had. And THAT will result in bringing increased income. But it may be six months before this helps to any extent in the financial needs. I hope we may get these lectures going ALL OVER THE COUNTRY — in dozens of areas at the same time — very soon.
Brethren, GOD is doing GREAT THINGS for His Work. He is showing us in many ways that TIME IS SHORT. It does not now look likely that our part in His Work will be finished early in 1972 — yet it COULD! Jesus said His coming will be at such an hour as we least expect. And this Work will be cut off at least 3 1/2 years before that!
Can't we realize that NOTHING is important in our lives, now, but GETTING GOD'S WORK DONE? WON'T you PRAY MOST EARNESTLY FOR IT? Brethren, if ALL of us would pray EARNESTLY for it, really PUTTING OUR HEARTS INTO OUR PRAYERS — the results would be ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING! The very state of the Work simply SHOUTS out to us from God that as a CHURCH we are NOT putting our whole hearts into it — and that MANY OF US NEED A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING!
What will YOU do about it? God's Work is counting on YOU!