As a leadership we understand that there are a lot of questions regarding the MISSION>>ADVANCE ministry and we desire to have the opportunity to answer these questions. This will take time and dialogue as from one answered question often rises yet another. Here, we are keeping a running record of the questions and answers for reference.

Question: What is our goal?

Answer: Our goal is to be debt-free in three years and to establish a building fund which will carry BCC into the future - $750,000 total.

  • We will pay off all church debt to ensure that ministry is not negatively impacted - $500,000.
  • We will establish a Building Fund to be used for future improvements and ongoing upkeep - $250,000.

Question: How will we accomplish this goal?

Answer: Through the generosity of our partners.

  • BCC does not have a “nest egg.” If we did, this campaign would not be needed. What we do have are many faithful partners who have experienced life-change in this church and who have united in the past. These families have proven their ability to give through the MISSION>forward ministry.
  • It is important to remember that every penny counts. $750,000 is a lot of money. When we see this number it is our tendency to think that we can do nothing to help achieve it. This is not true. Together we can accomplish our goal, and it starts small. We have found that it is helpful to start with week-to-week expenses. For example, one couple discovered that they are spending $30 each week on coffee and lunches. They chose to commit this money to our previous campaign. While $30 a week doesn’t sound like much, it adds up to $1,560 in just one year. Many of us will be surprised by how much we can actually give.

Question: Why go straight into another campaign?

Answer: Addressing the debt and moving past it is the path to strengthened ministry.

  • We could ride out the current debt for 19 years. It is an option to pay the minimum monthly payments for the duration of the loan. However, this means that about 25% of our operating budget would have to be reallocated, leaving BCC where it was before any updates were done and restricting ministry for two decades. This is too high of a price to pay. Therefore it is best to be proactive in addressing the debt.

Question: How much will be saved by paying the loan off early?

Answer: We have a 6.25% interest rate on the loan - $400,000 in interest will be saved.

  • Church interest rates are always slightly higher than home interest rates because of the risk factors involved. In spite of a decent interest rate, debt elimination will save us money… lots of money. Money that can be used for ministry as opposed to interest payments for the next 19 years.

Question: Where did the debt come from?

Answer: Major building renovations completed in 2013 resulted in debt.

  • BCC spent $1,021,110 in architectural and engineering services and construction in order to install a new entry, expand the lobby, update HVAC systems, install an elevator, update the fellowship hall, install new carpeting, renovate and relocate bathrooms, update the electrical system, and pave and reseal the parking lot.
  • In addition, $129,850 was spent on sanctuary chairs, electrical surcharges, furnishings, and interest.
  • In total, $1,150,860 was spent in 2013 on major building renovations. Much of this cost was paid for through the MISSION>forward ministry. However, roughly $500,000 of the initial $700,000 loan remains.

Question: Why did we not see the debt coming?

Answer: The leadership knew there would be some debt and made choices based on the best information available at the time.

  • In 2012 BCC’s annual operating budget was $360,000, the estimated cost of renovations was $1,200,000 and the total commitments were $750,000. Decisions to complete the building renovations were made based on these numbers. At the beginning of 2013 the original project (which included a kitchen update) was scaled back to $1,043,278 and the commitments were on track to meet $750,000. Knowing this, the project was started with the expectation of around $275,000 in debt at the end of the first campaign (hoping that the contingency fund would not be used). The payment on this debt load would have been roughly $2,000 a month which was feasible on an annual income of $360,000. Things have changed.
  • First, the project exceeded the estimated cost by $107,582 or 10% (Total project cost was $1,150,860).
  • The contingency fund was $20,000 but this was mostly spent on permits, engineering fees, and electric requirement costs that were in excess of estimates ($15,231.43). Later, it was discovered that a large steel beam in the 1964 building was not sufficient and had to be replaced ($7,303.25). Additionally, some asbestos tile had to be removed ($911.25), a structural column had to be added ($3,250.00), excess footing had to be removed where the elevator shaft was installed ($2,887.75), the security system had to be upgraded for the additional lobby space ($4,680.00), and a water heater needed to be replaced ($3,924.00). Total unforeseen costs: $38,187.68.
  • Some upgrades/change orders were made by choice. Insurance covered the replacement of carpet to “like kind” in the Fellowship Hall but a decision was made to upgrade to functional carpet squares ($4,290.00). It was also decided to replace the Fellowship Hall ceiling tiles which were damaged but not covered by insurance ($4,510.00). Also, carpet was replaced in the student ministry hallway, which was not a part of the original plans ($2,129.00). Finally, a team of church members made the decision to upgrade the chairs that were purchased for the sanctuary. Despite efforts to offset that upgrade with extra fundraising, we are still over-budget for that purchase ($11,296.00). Total upgrades/changes made by choice: $22,225.00.
  • In the end, the renovations cost 10% more than was expected (including interest paid on the loan throughout the final stages). This is a difference of $107,582.
  • Second, the commitments to the first campaign slowed in the second and third years. Original commitments were for $750,000. In the end $650,000 was given. This is a difference of $100,000.
  • Third, the annual operating budget has decreased to $300,000 from $360,000. This is most likely the result of reallocated funds. In other words, folks who give faithfully have funneled some of their giving into the first campaign that went to general funds in previous years. This is a $60,000 per year difference, however, including MISSION>forward donations our overall income has significantly increased.
  • In the end, BCC has $500,000 in debt as opposed to $275,000, $5,200 a month loan payments, and a $60,000 decrease in the annual operating budget. Choices were made based on the best available information at the time, but things have changed. It was understood that there would be debt, but the level of this debt and the ability to pay it month to month changed significantly.

Question: How can we get others involved in giving?

Answer: By leading the way.

  • Many have given very, very sacrificially to BCC. In three years 90 families gave $650,000. Those who participated cannot help but to wonder, “How can we get others to give?” This is a great question and the only answer is that those who have not given to a building or debt reduction project will only do so when they see others participating.
  • It is always tempting to look to others and speculate, “If they gave more we could accomplish our goals.” This is not how God works. He asks us each to give what we have decided to give and together we participate in something no one of us could do on our own.

Question: What if we fail?

Answer: The only way we can fail is by doing nothing.

  • There is always a chance that we may not meet or exceed our goal. That is OK. Whatever we do will reduce the debt we have and start a fund to help with future improvements. If we do nothing our ministry budget and staff will have to be significantly reduced. This is not meant as a threat, but as a statement of reality. Paying the mortgage out of general funds would send us down the path of 19 years of crippling payments which would most certainly keep us from moving our mission forward. It is important that we proactively engage the debt we have.

Question: Why are we using a capital campaign consultant?

Answer: We know and trust Michael Vilardo and believe that he has our best interests in mind.

  • In 2011 the BCC elders and staff chose to hire Michael Vilardo to advise our stewardship efforts. He worked closely with our church and has continued to reach out, encourage, and provide guidance. Most importantly, he serves as a resource for the Senior Minister and others to lean on. We know and trust Michael and believe that he can help us again as he did in the past.

Question: How likely are we to succeed?

Answer: We have a very high likelihood of reaching our goal.

  • With God all things are possible. We do not want to trivialize this fact. If what we were doing as a church required no faith it would not be worth doing. God has come through for BCC in both the far and recent past and we are confident that he will again.
  • Also, BCC has proven to be full of givers. We have accomplished a similar goal and can meet or exceed what is before us if we come together as we have in the past. BCC was founded during the Great Depression and God honored the amazing faith of a few. We know he can do this again.

Question: What is expected of me?

Answer: Prayer and sacrifice.

  • Pray and ask God how he wishes to use you and your household. Be bold. Seek God’s will by asking, “God what do you want to do through me?” Pray. God will make his will clear.
  • Sacrifice. Trust that God wants to leave a lasting legacy through you. Sacrifice to make the dream become a reality. Consider weekly expenses you can cut. A seemingly small amount can add up over the course of three years.

Question: What should I give?

Answer: Not equal gifts but equal sacrifice.

  • Each person must answer this question for themselves. What we do know is that God does not expect everyone to give the same amount but he does expect us all to sacrifice. For some this may be $1,000 and for others it may be $100,000. Not every person can give in the six figures but every single person can give sacrificially. We encourage you to grow in your understanding of proportional giving and biblical stewardship during this time.

Question: If I made a commitment to the MISSION>forward ministry should I keep giving this same amount for the next three years?

Answer: Maybe.

  • Many are in the habit of giving and it may not to be too tough to keep this going for an additional three years. This may be exactly what God is calling your family to. However, we know that the original commitment was three years and you should feel a real sense of accomplishment for making it. Moving forward, God may ask for a greater commitment. Perhaps you have received raises, had a child graduate college, or your retirement has increased with the market. Maybe what you gave to the MISSION>forward ministry is no longer feasible. Either way, please remember to pray. God will answer your questions through his Spirit.

Question: How was this campaign decided upon?

Answer: Through a process of information-gathering and prayer.

  • The MISSION>forward ministry was a success but left our church with debt. The BCC elders and staff consulted with Michael Vilardo, a stewardship consultant, and leaders from CDF {a church loan agency} and learned that there are three ways to deal with church debt:
  • The first approach is to pay the mortgage payment out of the church’s general fund. This approach encourages a monthly reliance on God for provision and forces a church to majorly tighten and trim the existing budget. However, it comes at a price. Often church partners grow tired of giving, ministries and staff members are cut in order to balance the budget, a large amount of interest is paid, and a cycle of building disrepair and debt is established. In the end focus can be shifted from ministry to debt payment. While many church’s chose this approach it did not seem like a viable option to the BCC elders and staff.
  • The second approach is to ask partners to extend their current giving. This approach gives the potential to pay off the loan in three years, protects the monthly budget, and avoids the work of another campaign. However, it does have challenges. First, partners committed to three years, not six. No one wants to be forced to give. Secondly, there is often giving fatigue and, thirdly, this approach does not leave room for prayer or involvement by new church partners. While this approach may have accomplished the goal it would have done so in a way that put the pressure on a few.
  • The third approach, and the one we chose, is to do another campaign. There are concerns which include the energy needed to complete a campaign, a possible decrease in general giving, and the risk of seeming building-focused. However, these seem to be lessened when the positives are considered: BCC returns to being a debt free church, the church is once again unified around the mission, stories of sacrifice and the provision of God are shared, hundreds of thousands of dollars are saved in interest, the cycle of building neglect and disrepair is broken, current ministry and staff is protected, and it is another chance to see God at work in the life of our church.
  • While these approaches can be quickly summarized, each was discussed in detail and prayed over. In the end the decision was clear. It is important that we proactively address the debt we have for the sake of our present and future ministry.

Question: Why does the church publish and mail so much information?

Answer: We desire to be forthcoming with information and want everyone to be informed.

  • BCC spends .6% of its annual operating budget on postage. This is small price to pay for the transfer of information. It is important that we are open with where we are as a church and that we clearly communicate about ministry opportunities. We do this via Community Life, Facebook posts, e-mails, and mailed documents.

Question: What if I would like to get involved now - after the initial commitment date?

Answer: Of course you can still participate!

  • We welcome you to make a 3-year commitment from this time forward or to jump in and make a commitment through May 9, 2018 when the MISSION>>ADVANCE ministry wraps up.
  • Either way, your financial contributions will be used to strengthen ministry through debt reduction and the establishing of a Building Fund.

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