Stonegate, 

When I think about our church family, there is so much to thank Jesus for! He has been so kind to us. We also have much before us for which we need much wisdom from Jesus. On Wednesday, May 9th, we met for a family meeting at the conference center to thank Jesus for where he’s been at work among us and to consider some of what Jesus seems to be doing in front of us. With that in mind, we’ve written a series of three blog posts to relay the content from our family meeting. This post will cover an update from All In and a potential land purchase. 

ALL IN UPDATE

In April of 2016, we had our Celebration Sunday, marking the beginning of a two-year season called “All In.” During that Celebration Sunday, we announced that our church family had committed over $11,100,000. What an extraordinary day! The end of April 2018 marked the completion of All In. And we have been so excited to share with you our total All In giving over the last 24 months. 

$11,084,503

That’s 99.5% of our total commitments. Every time I look at our new base for mission, I can’t help but think of the hundreds (even thousands) of stories of sacrificial generosity to Jesus. As one of your pastors, I want to thank you for listening to Jesus, being open to Jesus, and being willing to say yes to whatever he asks of you. It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life to have a front row seat to Jesus’ work in our church. 

POTENTIAL LAND PURCHASE

I want to preface this with two things so that what you read can be heard within the appropriate context. First, we desperately want people to meet and be rescued by Jesus! The eternal destinies of human beings keep us up at night — the thought of people spending an eternity away from Jesus haunts us. As we sit here today, we don’t know how many people we’ll co-labor with Jesus to reach, but we want our church family to be ready for whatever Jesus has in front of us. Second, part of shepherding a church well is thinking 10-15 years into the future. Knowing that we’re continually asking Jesus for clarity on this question: In 10-15 years, what decisions will we wish we had made right now? What steps of faith will we wish we had taken? And as we’ve sought clarity from Jesus for these questions, it has us considering the purchase of a 33-acre property adjacent to our current site property. 

WHY WOULD WE NEED ADDITIONAL PROPERTY? 

In short, it’s an issue of stewardship. To more fully explain, this question takes us back to the way we’ve laid out our 23-acre site (see graphic 1). We’ve set aside property for 9 pad sites (roughly 1 acre/site). And that’s been an intentional decision. By setting property aside for pad sites, we’re building into our church’s future the capital needed to fund future church plants and other ministry opportunities. In our current layout (phase 1), our parking fits within the 13 remaining acres of our site.   

However, if/when phases two and three occur on our site, we would need 6 of our 9 pad sites for parking (see graphic 2). Using those pad sites for parking feels like irresponsible stewardship to our elders. Adding the 33-acre property across Walnut Grove would allow us to fully steward our current site.

HOW WOULD WE USE THE 33 ACRES?

By acquiring the 33-acre site across Walnut Grove, we could set aside the back 8 acres for parking to alleviate the need to park on any of our existing pad sites on our main 23-acre site. By doing this we can also keep the front 25 acres of this site open to the Lord and whatever opportunities he brings.

This move makes sense to us for several reasons. First, by purchasing this property we keep all our pad sites open. The value of those pad sites (that otherwise would be parked on) will eventually pay for the new property. Second, tomorrow is too late to purchase land adjacent to our site. If we wait for the ideal time for our church family (1-2 years from now), we likely will miss the opportunity to purchase this site. Windows of opportunity open, then close. And when they close, they are gone. As we sit here now, the window is open and it feels like now is the time to act.

HOW TO PAY FOR IT? 

About 1 year ago, we got a $3 million line of credit with a local bank for the project. Whatever we spend of that line of credit then turns into a loan about a year after we move into the building. As of the end of April 2018, with the $3 million loan, we had enough to finish the building and put down roughly $600,000 on the $2.1 million thirty-three acre site. That would leave us another loan amount of roughly $1.5 million. After talking to our bank and working through our comfort level with our monthly payment, we feel confident that we’ve kept our expenses low enough to healthily absorb this additional payment. 

At the same time, if this is the direction the Lord continues to affirm, we’re praying we’d have enough money to pay cash for this piece of property by the time we’d be scheduled to close (mid-July). We aren’t doing another generosity initiative, we’re just praying that the Lord would put it in the hearts of the people who are willing to help. I’d love for you to begin praying with me for Jesus to work in that way. 

WHERE THAT LEAVES US

As of now, we have a contract on the land, we’ve done the due diligence of vetting the property, and our elders believe this is a good decision for our church family. We feel like the Lord is in it. So now we’re bringing it to our church family so you can do two things:

First, pray and seek the Lord with us. For the rest of May, we want to seek the Lord together as a church family. I’m asking you to fast a day a week and pray for our church family. 

Second, we invite you into this decision. We don’t want to make good decisions for our church family but great ones. If we’re missing something, we want to know that. So we’re inviting you into this decision. Our elders will be as available as needed to answer any questions you have.

The life of faith is one with many unexpected twists and turns. In many ways, that’s what this moment feels like. As a church, I hope we’ll always stay open to all that Jesus has for us. Let’s continue chasing after and enjoying Jesus together! 

pastor rodney

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