Regrouping in the New Year
In December, we brought you the news that our expansion project was going to be delayed due to the appraisal on the project (including our current building and land) coming back significantly lower than anyone expected. Over the past few months, we have been working diligently to figure out the best way to move forward and where we should go from here. Due to the timing of the news, we did as much work as we could before the Christmas holiday, and then we were able to pick up where we left off in the early part of January. Our goal has been to move forward as quickly and with as much prudence as we possibly could. As the last few months have unfolded, I continue to be encouraged by how our church has responded and the overall direction of the “Our Turn” campaign.
The unforeseen benefit of this delay is that it has allowed us to regroup and revisit the banking conversation altogether. The reason this has been a positive development for us is that the delay has given us more time to put money away into savings, which, in turn, has made us more attractive to lending institutions. A few banks that were unable to lend to us because of the scope of the project and the amount of cash we initially had on hand have now been able to rejoin the conversation. These discussions have led us to focus on two banks that have a strong local presence and a better understanding of our congregation (due to their local presence). At this stage, we are still in discussions with both banks and determining which one is the right fit for us moving forward. We hope to gain further clarity sometime in the next 30- 60 days on this front.
In the meantime, we have ordered a second appraisal to help us get a better idea of the true value of our project. We believe this will be helpful to the process, no matter the results of the appraisal. Much like someone getting a second opinion from a doctor before moving forward with a major procedure, we see this as a way to get even more accurate information so that we can make wise decisions that are best for our congregation in both the short and long run.
While this is happening, you continue to do an incredible job of giving faithfully and sacrificially in order to make this project happen, and I want to say thank you for doing this. We had a strong close to 2016 and an equally strong beginning to 2017, which was so encouraging to see. Here are a few giving trends we thought might be helpful and uplifting for you to know:
- 44 giving units reached 100% of their pledged amount in December 2016
- 69 giving units reached 100% of their pledged amount in January 2017
- $227,605 has been received in excess from those who have already met their pledged amount and continue to give sacrificially beyond their pledge
- 61% of expanded giving has been received ($1.4 million of $2.3 million pledged)
- $332,121 was given in December 2016
February 16, 2017
- $220,717 was given in January 2017
$116,286wasgiveninJanuary2015(forcomparison) o $158,625wasgiveninJanuary2016(forcomparison)
- $1,301,135 in unrestricted cash (as of January 31, 2017)
- $1,101,135 can go towards “Our Turn” due to needing to keep ≈ $200,000 for cash reserves on hand
Hopefully, you can tell that giving trends are heading in the right direction and you are encouraged by what you see on the giving front. Year two of “Our Turn” is off to a great start! On top of the positive trends in giving, our staff continues to do a great job of managing expenses while appropriately funding ministry to make sure the work of the church continues as we build up our cash reserves.
To summarize: we have banks that are interested in partnering with us on this project; we are in a much stronger position financially than we were in November 2016 thanks to your continued generosity; and we are working hard to get us to the construction phase in a timely but prudent manner. I ask you to continue to pray over this process, particularly for wisdom when it comes to the banking conversations over the next two months. If we are able to move forward with construction before our next quarterly update, we will obviously break the regular rhythm of communication and let you know as soon as we can. Again, thank you for your continued generosity and faithfulness. I am honored to get to work alongside you in the work God has given to us!