Let's Save Up Together for a Next Generation Facility

Posted by Lynn Yount on February 24, 2024
Let's Save Up Together for a Next Generation Facility
Photos of other church remodel projects help to picture the projected renovations.

One of my first interviews writing for Faith Bible Church was with facility manager Willie Gallion, and I’ll never forget what the primary caretaker of the building at 440 W. Cora said about it: “It's not the church. It's the building where the church meets.”

That’s why you’ll never catch me using “the church” in writing about the building. The church is the people!

But there’s a reason the Apostle Paul uses the body metaphor to speak about the church – it is a physical place for spiritual activity. Without bodies, we could not love one another in the concrete ways God’s Word commands. And that’s also true of the spiritual “body” of Faith Bible Church: As the year 2020 taught us, we can’t be a “loving community” unless we can physically gather somewhere.

God has graciously provided that place. And we want to treat it like the wise stewards in the parable the kids are studying this week in Sunday School (Matthew 25:14-30): We don’t want to preserve His gift by burying it, never to be touched. Rather, we use the gift God has given our congregation to spread the Gospel and multiply our numbers for our Master.

The Faith building has seen nearly three decades of vigorous usage in making disciples of Jesus Christ. In that way, it’s a good thing the carpets are worn and stained, the bathrooms look dated, and the furniture is banged up! Things wearing out is a sign that they’re being used. This facility has been well used to display Christ in the gathering and outreach of His people here.

This January, Faith Bible Church kicked off the Next Generation Facility campaign to pursue improvements to the church building that will better accommodate its body. From new carpets to better meeting spaces, the overall purpose is to prepare for another round of vigorous usage, hopefully even more fruitful than the last.

Personally, I’m excited that it’s time to “save up” together for some big improvements. Most of the items in the vision for this campaign will benefit every single member and visitor at Faith, but they won’t happen unless we do them together. Let’s pitch in cheerfully by the grace of our generous Father.

Architectural rendering of the apartments planned for construction to the west of the church's campus. While the proceeds from the west property sale are benefiting global outreach, proceeds from the east property sale are designated toward the Next Generation Facility campaign.

New neighbors

One exciting component in the timing of this campaign is the sale of the unused property on the east side of the campus. While it isn’t yet final, estimates place the value of this sale at about $500,000. The elders have already decided to commit all the proceeds for this sale toward the campaign. So we’re basically starting with 25% of the total goal of $2 million. That’s a big first step!

Also, that sale will literally bring people to our doors. Obviously, the residents of the apartments planned for that lot will be within walking distance for Sunday services and any other ministry events at the building. That is a prime opportunity for us to practice hospitality and share the gospel. If that doesn’t thrill me, that’s a sign that my heart isn’t loving my neighbors who need to know Jesus.

Finally, those apartments will also completely change the look and sight lines of Cora Avenue, so we will also need sturdy and highly visible on-street signage to help visitors know they’ve come to the right place.

Counting the costs

One of the ways the campaign money will be spent is on an architectural study of the existing facilities and the needs identified by the Master Planning Team. Our wishlist includes structural changes like Children’s Wing bathrooms, an outdoor play structure for kids, a midsize meeting space, better small group meeting rooms, etc.; this study will help identify the best concrete steps we can take to get to the solutions we need (and a more precise price tag). 

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28 (ESV)

While this planning step might seem pricey (an estimated $40,000), it is wiser to seek counsel and plan carefully than to start building without counting the cost (see Luke 14:28).

That is what the elders did in timing the 2022-23 stage renovation project. They were willing for the church to incur debt to begin building because of how the overall cost would have risen if it were delayed. But wisdom also dictates that we should retire that debt as quickly as possible – hence the $250,000 from this campaign to do that.

Fit the space for the work

Much of Faith’s discipling happens in Growth Groups and other groups that are small enough for members to know each other well. Transparency and vulnerability happen in places that feel safe, providing openings into which we can apply biblical truth.

As our Side by Side discipling initiative grows, we want our building to accommodate more of those groups with more small-group meeting areas. Homelike furniture would also mesh better than classroom chairs and tables with the interpersonal growth happening these groups. These new spaces would be particularly helpful so that family members can be fed from God’s Word simultaneously on Wednesday nights in Growth Groups, youth group, and Discovery.

An expanded foyer and midsize meeting space will also fit our building better to the needs. If you’ve ever tried to plan an event for about 100 people, you know the current building isn’t your best choice: Either try to cram a crowd into the Reception Room or Foyer, or shout across a cavernous auditorium to address a scattered audience who, of course, are sitting in the back.

Most of our children’s, women’s, men’s and community events draw about 100 to 200 people. Let’s do what we can to make our building work better for them.

The pilot Growth Group room in the education wing helps give an idea of the kind of spaces we would like to create for more home-like gatherings.

How much?

Finally, let’s get down to the uncomfortable brass tacks. The $2 million total is a big one, even though the property sale gives us a good start. Some of our Faith family will be able to contribute more than others, and I hope we all will be kind to one another as each family decides its own commitment.

Generally speaking, having more givers helps lighten the burden on all. So if you call Faith your home church and especially if you are considering membership, you need to commit yourself to regular giving toward ongoing expenses – also known as the general fund. If you aren’t giving regularly at all, that is where you need to start. Check out our recent sermon/Growth Group series, Dominion, to explore the biblical teaching on stewardship and generosity.

Doctrinally speaking, giving anything is better than giving nothing. As we have been learning from the Apostle Paul’s writing on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, don’t see your gift as too insignificant to make a difference. If you can only give a seemingly small amount, give it cheerfully and trust God to multiply its impact.

Mathematically speaking, to reach the goal, on average each member of Faith Bible Church will need to commit to give 20% more on top of their general giving, based on member numbers and recent giving totals. For example, if I currently give a regular offering of $500 a month toward the general fund, I will need to pledge $100 a month to the campaign for three years.

But our elders understand that making a pledge isn’t just math. Those are significant amounts. For most of us, giving that much may require giving up something fun or comforting or convenient or even something that seems indispensable. No one expects you to give what you haven’t received, but all of us need to genuinely seek the Lord’s will for what we should relinquish out of what He has entrusted to us.

Ask the Lord to show you what you can give. Pray about it. Pray with your spouse and/or your kids and examine your stewardship for what might need to change. Do some math and set your budget. Trust our abundantly generous God with the “what ifs.”

Then give cheerfully, knowing it is eternally significant before the Lord and to His body here. In another three decades, may the next generation be glorifying God for the place where they were saved and discipled. 

Lynn Yount

Lynn and her husband, Doug, lead a Growth Group. Lynn serves as a writer and editor for Living Faith magazine and other church communications.

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