Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.
No truer words than these describe Mount Hermon and the impact Mount Hermon Associates have had over the last twenty-plus years.
God has grown Mount Hermon’s reach in amazing ways. When I arrived in 1998, we ministered to less than 50,000 people per year; today it exceeds 70,000. Our year-round staff of 123 in 1998 has grown to 295 today. In 1995 we launched our Outdoor Science School, which now ministers to over 4,000 children each year, and includes a strategic ministry partnership in mainland China. In 2003 and 2004 the Lord gave us Whisper Canyon and Kidder Creek Camps.
In 2006 our McAfee Fieldhouse opened, which changed everything in terms of year-round ministry options. In a similar way, our reach and program options grew exponentially in 2008 when the Redwood Canopy Tour and Sequoia Adventure Course opened. We had sixty cabins in 1996 and today the Lord has blessed us with eighty cabins.
In 2012 we purchased the Felton Meadow. As we wait on God’s timing regarding the development of this new property, we’re creating unique new programs for this zone that will minister to tens of thousands more in the years to come!
In 1998 our young Associates program had 98 members. Today (as of 2015) Mount Hermon Associates number over 900—PTL! Our Associates are not only part of our culture they’re woven into the fabric of our lives. God has blessed this ministry in unimaginable ways and we can’t imagine life without you, our faithful, loving and supportive Associates—THANK YOU!
Yet, through it all, the Associates program has remained the same while everything else dramatically changed: staff growth, facility growth, program growth and the constantly increasing expenses to operate this ministry with excellence. Twenty years ago, a dozen eggs could be purchased for around a dollar; today it’s not unusual to pay four. Today a gallon of milk pushes five dollars, while twenty years ago it cost around three. This one really impacts us: the minimum wage was four dollars and change twenty years ago; today its ten dollars per hour, and soon it will increase to fifteen, which will have enormous financial impact.
So after much prayer and processing, along with input from many of you encouraging us to reconsider the financial threshold for Associates, we are announcing an update. With the approval or our Board of Directors, the financial threshold for NEW Associates will now be $1,000 per year. We want to provide plenty of lead time, so this change will not take effect until January 2017.
Praise The Lord that today over half of our Associates are already giving $1,000 or more each year. We’re also aware that many others give quite sacrificially to reach the $500 level. Please know that we are deeply grateful for every dollar given! Nothing is changing for you unless you want it to. Only NEW Associates will be tied to the $1,000/year giving threshold. Associates as of December 31, 2016 will remain at the current $500 per year.
Each and every Associate is a blessing! We literally could not operate Mount Hermon without you—Thank You! As we all move towards the future reaching even more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, we want you to be crystal clear regarding this change. Please don’t hesitate to contact Kerry Phibbs or me if you have any questions.