The PPP, Predictions, and Promises

As week eight of our PPP loan wraps up, our staff prepares to transition yet again. Having not been able to predict the federal government’s extension of the PPP from 8 to 24 weeks, most of our funding will be used up long before 24 week deadline. We are working to creatively spread the remaining funds out as long as possible. A small group of staff will remain on camp and work in varying degrees of part-time. I can’t say enough about the amazing attitudes and flexibility of our staff members. They have demonstrated faith and commitment that inspires and humbles me. It is an honor to serve alongside them.

Even though staffing feels like it is winding down, other things at Calvin Crest feel like they are ramping up. We could not have predicted the kind of response we would receive for “Come and Camp,” but to date, more than 50 families (representing more than 315 people) have registered to come. After months of eerily quiet grounds, it is a gift to see friends of Calvin Crest enjoying this sacred space once again. Everyone has been incredibly respectful of social distancing and following the established guidelines. There are still available dates if your family would like to come and camp in Sherwood Forest or Mountain View. You can make your request here.

Staff has also been releasing great online content to those engaging in virtual camp, and it has been fun to connect with our campers. More than 17 videos have been created, letters written to ‘Week in the Forest’ campers, worship times recorded, and inspirational talks delivered. While we know it can’t replace the actual camp experience, we pray that it brings a bit of joy to an unusual summer. Click here to watch some of our Virtual Camp videos.

Our online store had a terrific launch, with more than 165 visitors and 17 orders. If you have not been able to check it out yet, click here to do some shopping. We are excited to finally bring Calvin Crest gear directly to you.

After raising more than $135,000 through our Spring Campaign and reducing expenses as much as possible, our current pro forma reveals that Calvin Crest can survive for approximately ten months without any guest group revenue. Many of you have asked how much support is required to cover our monthly expenses. We have lowered our monthly burn rate to approximately $35,000, and currently recurring monthly donors give just over $10,000 monthly. If you would like to commit to giving a monthly gift to Calvin Crest, you can set up your donation safely and securely online. You may also choose to give through a family charitable trust for optimal tax benefits.

Our board of trustees will meet this Saturday to continue our strategic planning process as we prayerfully consider how God is leading us into the future. There is much being written these days about the future and whether or not things will -or should- return to “normal” as we know it. In their article, “Designing for a Different Future: Prediction & Promise,” leadership consultants Andy Crouch and Dave Blanchard write about how to design for a different future and the difference between prediction and promise.

When we try to make predictions about the future, we move toward seeking control and reducing our risk. Predictions also tend to make us more passive, tending toward withdrawal. How many of us during Covid-19 have simply yearned for accurate predictions so that we could feel some sense of control over our actions and outcomes? Humans fear uncertainty and experience anxiety when we lack control.

Conversely, promises seem to increase risk. When I made a promise to serve Calvin Crest as the Executive Director, I certainly accepted a higher degree of risk and exposure to loss and in many ways was forced to surrender control. But as I made that promise, I also discovered amazing resources to handle whatever risks and losses we may face.

We serve a God who is anything but predictable. But He does make promises, and He is faithful to keep His word. As I seek to follow Him as His apprentice, I, too, can not make predictions for Calvin Crest (despite often putting pressure on myself to be able to do so… in my most honest moments, I accept that I am not God, and I can not predict the future.)
However, I can make a promise to commit myself to Calvin Crest’s greater good no matter what the future holds. Knowing that promises have been made and broken in the past – not just at Calvin Crest but in most organizations in which we participate – I know it is a risk for you to join me in partnership. Many of us are skeptical of leaders in general and are tempted to withhold full commitment to avoid being burned yet again. I can only promise to do my best, invite you to trust, and transparently seek forgiveness and restoration when I fail.

The board of trustees and staff leaders covet your prayers as we humbly seek God’s direction for our future. We continually relinquish our need to predict and (to try to) control the future as we hold onto God’s promises and take risks in faith. While we can’t predict the future, we do have an unexplainable sense of hope and anticipation about the future. Maybe because we believe so strongly that God is a good God who can be trusted with the outcome. We hope you will believe with us.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25

Warmly,
Tiffany Staman
Executive Director
P.S. If you want to read Andy Crouch and Dave Blanchard’s excellent article for yourself, you can find it here.