I am forced to write you with a very heavy heart. For more than a year our nation has been in a financial recession. No one wanted to call it that. There are signs that an upturn is already started, and it may soon be over. Most bankers and businessmen have called it a "tight money situation" instead of using the term "recession," or the more frightening term "depression."
It has hurt the Work of God SERIOUSLY! I have not wanted to tell you. Up to now we have weathered the storm by wise business management, and several times last year, and twice already this year, making cuts in our budget that looked as if they would be sufficient.
But now I have to come to you with the frank statement that drastic action must be taken. About ten days ago I took drastic action — but it was not enough. I started at the top. I made a 20% cut in salary of all top-salaried officials, including evangelist-rank ministers, and a 15% cut in all pastor-rank ministers. Because this would have put several pastor-rank ministers lower than some preaching elders, certain adjustments had to be made in that. I put our airplanes up for immediate sale.
However, this very recession has slowed purchase of planes to a standstill and selling may be difficult.
Next, I have had to reduce publication of The PLAIN TRUTH, TOMORROW'S WORLD, and The GOOD NEWS to every-other-month. Next, I have had to cancel off entirely several radio stations, and to reduce most of the rest to one broadcast a week until October.
BUT THOSE CUT-BACKS WERE NOT ENOUGH. And in the long run they will hurt the Work. We received another very substantial reduction in our cash outgo the other day when our bank further showed their confidence in us by agreeing to let us reduce our monthly payments which remain on our recent building program by cutting the payments IN HALF.
But that still is not enough. We are making reductions in operating expenses in every department of this Work where it is possible. We now (with these reductions being made) have reduced our budget to a point even with income.
But that still is not enough. The BIG immediate need is extra cash funds — NOW — IMMEDIATE!
For this I am going to ask all of God's people to do one thing, and all who can and are willing to do one other thing.
The first is, that I am calling for a full day of FASTING AND PRAYER FOR THIS WORK FOR THIS SABBATH, April 4th. That, Brethren, can do more to help this situation than anything else — IF we really take this seriously to heart, and PUT OUR HEARTS INTO OUR PRAYERS in real earnest, and in FAITH BELIEVING!
The second I ask of all who can and are willing. This was suggested this afternoon by Mr. Stanley Rader, our legal counsel and financial adviser. It is that those in position to do so, if willing to do your part for God's Work in this immediate crisis, go to your local bank and borrow whatever you are able — from $100 to $1,000. Some will be able to borrow no more than $100. Many will not be able to borrow that. If not, please don't think you need to write in explaining why — we here at Headquarters UNDER- STAND many are unable — and we do not expect those unable to do it. But that is all the more reason why those of us who ARE ABLE will, I hope, be willing to borrow whatever you can — some can borrow $200, some $500, some $1,000.
Most bankers will ask why you want it. There could be many needs at this season — income tax payments coming up — you are short of funds temporarily — or just tell him you want to make a special donation to your Church. For those who can and will do this, borrow merely on your signature — don't mortgage anything — whatever you are able, to be paid back monthly. And you should not obligate yourself to monthly payments except what you will be able to pay OVER AND ABOVE tithes and offerings for the Work — so that it does not lower the income for the Work through the rest of the year. IF you can pay only $5 to $8 per month to the bank repaying the loan, you should be able to borrow around $100. If you can pay $10 or $15 per month in repayments, then you could borrow $200, etc.
Mr. Rader, Mr. Portune and I were discussing this crisis at lunch, and Mr. Rader said he would go to his bank and borrow $5,000 to start this plan going. I felt I was the one to set the example, so immediately this afternoon I beat him to it.
I know that many of our members do, from time to time, buy such things as a new TV set, or dishwasher, on monthly payments. Perhaps some will want to put off such a purchase and let those monthly payments go to repay a loan at the bank that will supply God's Work with IMMEDIATE CASH, which is the serious IMMEDIATE NEED.
If some of you feel you are not in a position to take part in this plan for IMMEDIATE extra cash to the Work, or feel you don't want to, there's no need to explain — I do not expect it unless you really want to and are able. I'm not "high pressuring" you to do this. But I recognize Mr. Rader's suggestion as a plan that I feel will give the immediate financial "shot in the arm" that GOD'S WORK SERIOUSLY NEEDS right now. And I have participated to the best of my ability, and Mr. Portune will, and all of God's leading ministers and executives here at Headquarters.
We felt many of you Brethren would be willing and glad to make this sacrifice of borrowing whatever you are able, giving it to the Work, and paying it back monthly yourself — IN ADDITION to continuing to send in your tithes and offerings.
Brethren, TOGETHER we can really do WONDERS. Through the power of earnest and believing PRAYER with fasting, especially.
Please REMEMBER the immediate serious NEED of God's Work by FASTING AND PRAYER! For this IS serious — the MOST serious crisis since 1947 and 1948. A number of Brethren came to the aid of the Work then with from $1,000 to several thousand each. There are a thousand times as many of us today. Can we do as well proportionately today?
This is the greatest Work on earth today. MILLIONS listen to the broadcast; MILLIONS read The PLAIN TRUTH — and more than a half million now read the deepest, MOST POWERFUL spiritual and Biblical articles ever written in TOMORROW'S WORLD.
Our new expansion program for The PLAIN TRUTH and TOMORROW'S WORLD are working wonderfully. We are reaching many HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS we could never have reached before. THE LIVING CHRIST IS BLESSING IT GREATLY.
How much are WE willing to do to HELP IT, and KEEP IT GROWING?