As disciple makers we can know Jesus, become like him, and point to him all while embracing our weakness.
STONEGATE, GOD IS WRITING AN AMAZING STORY
The story stretches over human history, starting in the garden of Genesis and ending with a new city coming down from heaven in Revelation. It’s an amazing story, the greatest of all stories.
AND CHURCH, JESUS INVITES US INTO HIS STORY
Like so many saints (and churches) before us, He’s written us in and given us a role to play (Ephesians 2:10, Acts 13:36). And now, the next scene in the story Jesus is writing with Stonegate Church lies before us.
Several years ago we made the decision to build our new base for mission on 23 acres on Walnut Grove and Hwy 287. After our first round of site planning, we discovered that to preserve nine pad sites around the edge of our property, we needed additional property for parking and future phases.
The ideal solution, was to purchase 40 acres of the 145 acres (the dark green and orange below) connected to our current site for additional parking. From the outset, we felt that purchasing this piece of property was critical for our upcoming decadesof ministry. So we aggressively pursued 40 acres, offering as much as $3.8M. However, the owners were unwilling to sell.
So we moved to plan B, the 33 acres across Walnut Grove from our current site (light green below). This property preserved our pad sites by securing parking on the back 8 acres, while also giving our church a potential asset (the front 25 acres). But the 33 acres remained a plan B, because it’s disconnected from our current site on Walnut Grove. To utilize the 33 acres for parking was doable, but difficult, requiring us to shuttle across what will soon be a four lane road. But because it was the only option available, our church family purchased the 33 acres in August of 2018 for $2.1M.
PLAN A REVIVED
In August of 2019, the owners of the 140 acres became motivated to sell. So we began negotiations on roughly 40 acres connected to our current site (part of the 70 acres in dark green to the west of our property, see below), finally getting to the price of $3.8M for the 40 acres. However, at the last minute, the seller declined (as they signed a contract for the north 70 acres, in orange).
In November, we re-engaged with the sellers, and the entire deal changed. They wanted to sell the remaining 75 acres, not just 40. Negotiations began at $4.8M. Jesus intervened yet again.
We recently contracted the 75 acres at $4M, adding 35 acres for only $200,000.
WHY SHOULD WE PURCHASE THIS PROPERTY?
The short answer is: for the the sake of stewardship. Our elders are in unanimous agreement that purchasing this property perfectly positions our church family for decades of faithful ministry.
First, it gives us space for future parking and growth that’s connected to our site (so we don’t have to shuttle across Walnut Grove).
Second, it keeps all 9 pad sites available to sell, which could be worth as much as $1M per pad site.
Third, it makes the 33 acres across Walnut Grove available to sell, which we estimate the value to be between $5.5-$8.5M.
Fourth, this new property gives us additional assets (as much as 35 acres, along with 8-10 pad sites ) to sell in the future.
WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THE 75 ACRES?
We’ll connect the adjacent 40 acres to our site for parking and future building phases, creating the space needed for the church for the upcoming decades. The remaining part of the 75 acres, we’re inclined to sell, but we are opened handed before the Lord. We want to seek the Lord with you for what Jesus wants.
HOW WILL WE PAY FOR THE 75 ACRES?
The long-term plan is simple. We’ll sell some of our assets (probably the 33 acres across Walnut Grove) to pay for the remaining balance of the property. The short-term is more difficult. To purchase this property will require another step of faith for our church family. We are scheduled to close on April 12, and that will require $800,000 down.
HOW MUCH DEBT WOULD THAT LEAVE US?
Moving into our new building in October of 2018, we could have been debt free. However, we felt the wiser move was to secure plan B - the 33 acres for off-site parking. So in August of 2018, we purchased the 33 acres, which left $3M of debt on the new building. Purchasing the 75 acres could give us an additional $3.2M of debt, which we have room to cover in our 2020 budget.
WILL THE 33 ACRES SELL SOON?
We believe so, but ultimately only Jesus knows.
WHAT’S OUR NEXT STEP?
To purchase this property, we're entering a 3 month generosity initiative (January 12 - April 12). This is a crucial season in the life of our church. Although we need a minimum of $800,000 by April 12th to close, but we’re asking Jesus for $1.5-$2M to put down on the property. Here are 3 things to note about this 3 month season of generosity.
First, if someone were to write an $800,000 check today, we would celebrate (with tears of joy), as we thank God. But we would still enter this 3 month generosity initiative. Why? Because the goal is not a final number, but a church full of people willing to walk by faith in Jesus. Jesus has wonderful things awaiting each of us over the next 3 months as we come to Him with open hearts. Let’s explore it together!
Second, the ask is simple.
For every person in our church family to come to Jesus with an open heart, asking Him to show you a number that represents extraordinary generosity over the next 3 months.
We use a one-fund approach. That means our entire church gives to one fund (the same fund we’ve been giving to), and everything above our operating expenses is set aside for this opportunity.
And lastly, can you imagine what God will continue doing with a church that stays open handed and ready to say yes to Jesus? Stonegate, let’s press on toward what lies ahead, as we enjoy Jesus together.
grace & peace -
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