The Medici Family was one of Italy's most famous and influential families of all time. What some people may not know is that they transformed the art world. Their power and financial largess solidified what we now all assume as normal--the Patron/Client relationship. The Patron supplies the financial resources for the Client to create his product. In Utopia this is a beautiful thing but in a fallen world, the Patron often times begins to have more of a say than the Client often wants, and the Client often finds himself compromises his integrity because of his need to appease the Patron.
SO WHAT? Right now, many of Campus Crusade's Patrons are upper-middle class Caucasians with a modern mindset. This has served us extremely well for quite a while, but I would say that we are starting to experience some diminishing returns and even a bit of compromise as a result of the Patron/Client dynamic?
WHAT DO I MEAN? First off, the most donated to item that Patrons give to in our organization is Freshmen Survival Kits. These have been used tremendously in the past to reach students for Jesus. Now and in the next couple years they are all but obsolete in terms of effectiveness. Students, highly dependent and tied to the digital world, no longer see paper books as a 'gift,' but rather something outside of their cultural context. Add 3-4 books per kit, and in some ways we are providing students with not only something anachronistic, but extremely wasteful ecologically.
IF a campus has a cutting edge idea that they see on their campus that would be more strategic and contextualized, there is little room and freedom to redistribute the funds from FSK's to something else? Why? The Patron/Client relationship. What exaggerates and strains this relationship even further is that these donors, who modern in mindset, rarely get the vision for new digital and postmodern strategies. Facebook? MySpace? Because of mainstream media, the digital world has an extremely negative imprint, from all the stories about online predators and sexual content.
Right now, I have boxes, hundreds of copies of books that will never be read by students, especially those we are seeking to reach. Hopefully someone will be bold enough to begin recasting vision and demonstrating the new for a completely different way of stewarding donated money to reach lost students for Jesus.