Organizations should continually organize and re-organize around mission and strategy. While many tend to prefer constancy and stability, it’s not a bad sign when an organization like Winebrenner Seminary continually is changing and growing…as long as the mission remains central to the changes.
We are regularly inviting students, collaborative partners, and donors to join us as we carry out our mission of equipping leaders for service in God’s kingdom. Regardless of the changes taking place at Winebrenner, our commitment is to focus on our mission and keep it a priority.
As we continue this series, this post highlights several changes at Winebrenner over the past few years that have helped clarify and prioritize stewardship. This is not an exhaustive list but provides some insight into the steps we’ve taken to prioritize a healthier view of finances as we organize and re-organize around our mission and strategy.
Reduced expenses – According to the ATS Visualization Tool, Winebrenner’s expenses peaked at just over $3,000,000 in 2014 (I arrived at Winebrenner in late 2015, so I am trusting this data since it’s before my personal experience). In 2021-2022, we are working with an expense budget of $1,250,425. That means Winebrenner Seminary has cut its expenses by more than half since 2014! Reduced expenses should not always be celebrated; especially if they decrease an organization’s ability to carry out its mission. However, this reduction was strategic and intentional and paved the way for…
More affordable tuition – In 2019 the Board of Trustees approved a “tuition reset” which increased our overall understanding of the intersection between overall expenses and tuition revenue. This deeper understanding provided the foundation for the shift to a $300/month tuition (read more by clicking here). This step has fundamentally changed the way that students are able to afford a graduate degree and has opened access to many students who previously were not able to move ahead in their educational and spiritual journey. Also, this step has opened doors for collaboration with a variety of partners, all to the benefit of God’s kingdom work.
The words we use to describe our commitments are affordability, accessibility, and quality. These steps taken by Winebrenner have directly led to:
- record enrollment at the start of fall 2021 term
- a 57% reduction in the students relying on federal loans over the past three years (when comparing fall terms)
- cutting the cost to educate a single student in half since 2007 (you can read more about these three items by clicking here)
We are intentionally prioritizing stewardship of financial resources as we continue to carry out God’s kingdom initiatives at Winebrenner.
Next week, Amy Kinney, Winebrenner’s Director of Enrollment Management, will explore steps students are taking in this journey toward holistic stewardship.