Are there other ways to reduce our budget and eliminate a capital campaign?
The short answer to this question is, yes. For example, if we eliminated local giving and reduced global giving by half, we could essentially arrive at the $500k mark in 3 years. However, from beginning we have wanted to find a potential space that would allow us to maintain the high priority we have placed as a congregation on outside-our-church giving. To that end, we are proposing zero cuts in global mission (maintain at 20% of our total budget) and only reducing local giving from 7% to 5% of total budget. The thinking behind the latter move is that we would be doing more direct, local ministry as a congregation if we have a permanent location. Lord willing, we also plan to increase church planting as a budget item beginning in 2019 to 5% of total offerings, bringing the combined total of global, local, and church planting to 30% of the total budget.
Likewise, we could have retained $200k earlier this year from 2016 budget overage. Even though we were looking for a building at that time as well, we felt it was good stewardship to give that money away. And we don’t at all regret the designation of those funds for ministry outside of our church. Because of that gift, more people will hear the gospel for the first time, families in our church are being assisted with adoption, refugees are being fed and loved, church leaders are being trained in unreached areas, and a host of other ministries are being provided. We think that’s good stewardship, and we praise God for a congregation that is willing to support that financially and prayerfully.
What if we outgrow this space as well?
Before answering this question, we feel constrained by the admonition in James 4:13-15:
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"
So, we want to answer this question with a heavy dose of “if the Lord wills.” We don’t know what growth the Lord will bring, if any. At the same time, these verses don’t preclude planning, so long as that planning is done in recognition of God’s absolute sovereignty. To be specific, our hopes are not to build ever-increasing facilities or campuses. Our preference would be to plant churches by sending others out from our church. Perhaps it even looks like planting a church in the same building that simply meets at a different time. To be more general, however, we have to say that we will want to be good stewards of whatever God brings our way and whatever door He opens. If the Lord brought 600 more people our way, we’d need to pray desperately that God would show us what to do.
Why not have multiple services at Rosewood Hall?
Logistically speaking, we think having two services at Rosewood Hall would be extremely difficult if not impossible. With various events in Rosewood on Sunday afternoons, this would necessitate both services being concluded before 12 PM. In that case, the first service would necessarily need to start no later than 9 AM. Given band practice and set-up, that would demand volunteers arriving as early as 5:30 AM or 6 AM every Sunday morning.
Beyond logistics, we also desire a more conducive environment for children. Our leadership in CFC kids has done wonders with the space we have. At the same time, volume levels are simply difficult in an open room. In fact, the volume level from the kids’ area (which is joyful and good and right!) has an effect on the worship area as well. It’s often difficult for those in the back of the room to hear the sermon. None of this is really solved with two services.
Finally, and most importantly, we are desirous of one service at CFC because of the picture it paints of the body and the fellowship it promotes. We want a relational church where we can be known and know others. Obviously, one large service doesn’t guarantee that over against two smaller services. We understand that. However, we believe that two services (or three or four services) enables us to more easily segment ourselves from others in the church, even never physically seeing other persons in the body because they go to a different service. We want to eliminate that, if possible. Finally, from a care standpoint, we think that one service allows us to more effectively shepherd our congregation because our entire church has a better sense of who is in attendance.
Is it biblical to incur debt of any amount?
Without question, we want to heed the Bible’s warnings about debt. The Bible commands payment of all debts and cautions against excessive debt. For example, in Romans 13:7-8, Paul says, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Does this mean that any debt is unbiblical? We don’t think it does. Rather, we think that that verse is clearly saying that we should pay every debt that we have but that we will never be able to pay our way out of love. Indeed, the Bible acknowledges the reality of occasional debt and provides parameters for how that should look (e.g. we should not use debt to abuse the poor, we should not forget our obligations, etc.). To put it simply, the Bible regulates but does not forbid all debt. So, can we make the payments responsibly? As indicated above and in the attached proposed budgets, we think so. We even think we can make these payments without drastic cuts in other parts of the budget. And, if the Lord adds to our numbers in such a way that we have more than our budget needs, we would want to be very aggressive in paying down the debt.
Are there safety concerns?
We are aware that we would want to provide additional security measures if we were to move forward. We don’t think any safety concerns are so great that we should not consider this move. As part of the renovation, we will make site improvements, including better lighting and any necessary security measures. In addition, we’ll utilize volunteers from our congregation during meeting times whose responsibilities include providing a secure environment.
What if we don’t move forward? What’s the plan?
If for any reason we decide not to move forward, we will simply continue searching, praying, and pursuing every avenue available. That would probably mean aggressively examining areas outside of Homewood. According to MG+A, there is not a great likelihood of finding another property in Homewood that is large enough, has sufficient parking, and is affordable. Any option that we consider that checks all the boxes in Homewood is likely to be out of our price range. So, we would need to reconsider our search parameters (when we meet, where, etc.).
What if we get more than $500k in pledges?
This would be optimal since it would allow for any cost overruns or, potentially, allow us to renovate now some of the things that we might otherwise postpone. So, if we received $750k or $1 million in pledges, we feel like we would be in an exceptionally strong position financially and would have even greater confidence in moving forward. Whatever the amount, we trust the Lord and thank the Lord.
If we continued to grow, how do we plan to pay for Phase 2?
If we began to outgrow our Phase 1 space, it would imply that we had grown to 500 attenders each Sunday. While we would not expect giving to grow linearly with additional attenders, we do expect that we would see a bump over current giving. If we began to see this kind of growth, we would allocate some of these funds towards future building expenses (similar to what we have done historically). In addition, with the increased giving, our borrowing capacity would also be expected to increase. We expect that the funds from these two sources would be sufficient to pay for Phase 2 if we needed it (so, we do not expect that we would need another capital campaign). As we have mentioned earlier, most of the renovation expense is front- loaded and would be in the $600-700k range.