OUR VISION AND MISSION
As we look back over the history of FBCG, we see God continually at work in our midst, working in and through us to expand our impact in our community and around the globe. You can see how He has provided consistently through the generosity of our people, in good economies and during more challenging times, in supporting our growth. From FBCG’s start in the small building on Anderson Boulevard, to the development of what is now the East campus when the membership could all worship in the Chapel, to the addition of the sanctuary, to the move to the West campus, all of these bold efforts were stair steps along the journey to who we are as a community of faith today.
And God continues to work! He is impacting lives every day. We are equipping our people to serve near and far, we are experiencing in large and small ways the ripple effect of making the Gospel known. God’s economy operates from a different paradigm, and from different perspectives, than does ours. Since He owns everything, our role is to be trusting, faithful, obedient, and available.
This is our exciting call. It is the very nature of the Gospel to expand and grow. The Gospel is the power of God and there is no greater mission in life than to make his power and glory known. This is what Growing to Serve is all about.
Over the past few years we have continued to expand our worship capacity, and in the process added alternative forms of worship. This expansion has touched both campuses. We have added a Saturday evening service on the West campus, and a more recent Worship Café experience in the Student Ministry Center on the East campus. We now have six worship services each weekend. This expansion was the reaction to increasing attendance at our West campus services and feedback that seating was feeling tight. And yet, during some weekends, and certainly for special services like Holy Week, that sense of crowding can still exist.
As we look at the movement of God and the mission to grow and go, we believe our higher priority is to add flexible classroom and meeting space to accommodate ministry growth across the FBCG spectrum. Conservatively, we have over 60 ministry-focused groups (not counting adult worship) that use our facilities on a weekly basis, covering over 2000 participants. We have another dozen groups covering over 600 participants that use our facilities one to three times per month. Some of our larger ministries can feel constrained; for example, our Women’s ministries have evolved to multiple days and times to accommodate participation. Even modest annual growth of five percent will raise those numbers by over 800 participants over a five-year horizon. Capping our capacity means capping our growth, which results in stifling the growth of our impact.
We need to be planful, to anticipate continued growth, and to be ready to accommodate the impact. Our mission calls for us to continue to meet needs and equip God’s people for service, locally and around the world, and this is now a seven-day per week endeavor.
Throughout the history of FBCG and the faithful service and generosity of its body, we can see how investments enabling ministry and impact growth have delivered a fruitful return of many times the initial investment. This return comes in many forms: increased giving of time, talent and treasure locally and globally; new and renewed commitments of lives to Jesus; deepening faith; discovering and using individual spiritual gifts, just to name a few. It is like the power of compound interest—the return is magnified many fold over time. Consider just the bold and visionary moves from a small building on Anderson Boulevard to what is now a vibrant and growing two campus congregation.
In contrast, a single investment in our community, while powerful at the time, lacks the multiplying impact of generations of believers equipped and prepared to use their time, talent and treasure to serve others for the sake of the Gospel. Our call is to balance both forms of investment—near term impact through meeting vital needs in our communities, and paving the way for expansion and growth of the Gospel. It is exciting to be a part of FBCG at this unique time in history!
THE ROLE OF DEBT
There is no desire to add to our existing debt. Our people continue to be faithful and generous, and the original $4.1M debt on our West campus expansion has been reduced to under $900,000 (as of August 31). Our goal is to raise the entire sum of Growing to Serve through commitments over the next three years. That said, prudent planning requires us to develop alternative plans should achieving that goal be delayed. Those plans may include re-evaluating the scope and timing of elements of the project.
We are hopeful that all of the resources needed to complete the project will be provided. We will never compromise our commitment to being wise stewards of God’s resources. Our history and current financial condition demonstrate consistent execution of sound financial practices. We will not impair our on-going ability faithfully to carry out our ministries.
We are a financially healthy church. By way of comparison, a decade ago we built the West campus for approximately $8M, the same cost as the project we are undertaking now. At that time, our church was much smaller; for example, the General Fund budget had just reached $2M and our attendance was nearly 40 percent less than today. Yet the church was able to complete the expansion project and take on a 20-year mortgage debt that reached over $4M in August of 2006. As always, we have more than met our commitments in eliminating that debt; in just seven years we have less than $900,000 left to pay. And we have never had to reduce funding to our ministry programs to fulfill our commitment.
Our church today is much stronger. Our debt is being reduced well ahead of schedule, and our General Fund budget for this ministry year is $3.5M. We have 1250 giving units, and the generosity per unit increased nine percent this past year. We have nearly $12M in equity in our properties. We are moving strategically to accommodate ministry growth, and doing so from a position of strength.
Our goal is to raise $9M and emerge completely debt free. If we fall short and need to borrow within the $4M limit approved by the membership to complete the ministry expansion, fruits from the fund raising process could be used to eliminate the existing debt (and we may be required to do so if we use a different bank). But what if the interest rate for new debt is higher than the current 3.5 percent? Then it may make more sense to reduce the amount of the new loan and continue to aggressively pay down the current loan, as we have been doing. Wise financial stewardship must be used to determine and choose the lowest cost option.
We have a strong sense of God’s call to move forward now, not only to address current constraints but to prepare for continued growth as we work faithfully to be obedient in our service. While we hope to raise all the needed funds as part of Growing to Serve, there may be a role for manageable debt to complete the project in time for the 2015-16 ministry year. Delay may also invite increasing costs of construction and see increased costs of borrowing should interest rates rise as expected. For several reasons, then, we see current timing as optimal for investing in Kingdom growth.
Our goal is to achieve commitments of $9M for this ministry expansion project. The work on the West campus will cost $6.1M, the work on the East campus will cost $1.5M, and the architectural work will cost $0.5M. We have also included debt elimination of $0.9M in our project goal, so that we emerge from Growing to Serve completely debt free. (As of August 31, the debt has been reduced to less than $900,000.)
We are hopeful to begin construction on both campuses in the spring of 2014, following completion of the building permitting process and awarding of subcontracts. If that schedule holds, the work on the East campus may be completed by September of 2014. The schedule has the West campus work being completed before the launch of our fall ministry season in September of 2015.
Yes. The project will not impair our ability to continue to carry out our various ministries, including weekend worship and the wide variety of nearly daily equipping and serving work such as Bible studies, Wednesday evening Adventure Club, our Food Pantry ministry, our outreach to moms, support and recovery groups, and many other on-going activities.
The East work is designed to substantially improve the functionality of the existing space. The lower floor has been remodeled only twice since it was built 50 years ago, and it is showing wear and lacks the features of effective space use. The classrooms and meeting space will be enlarged and improved for both children’s and adult ministries. The area known as “The Quads” will be transformed into office space to enable the staff to consolidate six disparate areas into one, enhancing collaboration and effectiveness. Much improved safety and security measures will be part of the design for nursery and children’s ministries. We will also relocate our Food Pantry ministry to the lower level, with direct access from the parking lot, to make access easier for those we serve on a weekly basis.
On the main floor, consolidating office space to the lower level will allow us to take another step at making our lobby much larger and more welcoming. This will include an expanded resource and study area that will feature some of our more topical library materials.
Finally, the plan includes an exterior upgrade as well. We will remodel the entry way to make it larger and more welcoming, and add a cover over the driveway to improve the experience for those passengers being dropped off in inclement weather.
There will be work on both levels at our West campus. The main floor or top level will be expanded to the south (toward the parking lot), which will improve access for our people. This new area will include a substantially enlarged entry way and welcome center; office space to the west to accommodate more frequent pastoral presence; a conference room for meetings; and enlarged nursery space to the east. The area that is now used as our lobby and nursery will be transformed into a 300+ seat venue that can be used for worship and large group meetings, with the ability to divide the space so that multiple groups can meet simultaneously. The east half of the main floor will also be expanded to the north (toward the open field) to enlarge classroom and meeting space, allowing us to move the middle school programs to the main level and thereby dedicate the lower level to children’s programs. We will also add and improve age-appropriate space for ministries like Masterpiece, which serves children and youth with disabilities.
The lower floor on the West campus will be modified to enlarge the space for children’s ministries. This will include an expansion of the rooms now known as Alpha and Omega, and the addition of many larger breakout rooms for smaller group sessions. The existing classroom space on the west half of the lower floor will not be changed.
In total, the size of the West campus will increase by 40 percent to nearly 67,000 square feet.
Our original plan, developed at the time of the West campus expansion, was to consolidate both campuses as part of “Phase 2” at the West campus. The second phase called for construction of a 2000-seat sanctuary among other amenities. Since that time, churches like ours have recognized that spending $25 million or more on that type of single-use facility may not be the best investment of God’s resources, since use is limited to once per week.
A few years ago FBCG leadership engaged the Aspen Group, a leading church design+build firm, in a dialogue about how we might accommodate the work God has called us to do. Our focus shifted to flexible classroom and meeting space in order to address the needs of a wide variety of ministries and uses. This collaboration with Aspen led to the design that is now Growing to Serve. Your Executive Council has played an active role in identifying ministry requirements and reviewing proposed features of the design.
We are using the Aspen Group, a highly regarded firm that specializes in church architecture. Aspen has done work with a large number of churches our size and bigger, and has spent the past few years getting to know us so that the design will support our unique mission and reflect our values. Aspen worked with us on our remodel of the interior space on the West campus, and on the improvements to the lobby and Student Ministry Center on the East campus.
The Aspen Group will serve as General Contractor for the project. In turn, Aspen will competitively bid a number of subcontracts to perform such work as excavation, drywall, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and so on. The project will be managed to meet quality, budget and schedule requirements.
OUR ROLE AS PARTICIPANTS
The number one priority for any of us is to deepen our relationship with the Savior, living lives pleasing to Him. Pray and ask God what He is leading you to do. Listen as he responds. Joyfully follow Him. Stretch your faith. God will reveal His desires for you. He wants to lead each of us, step by step.
With regard specifically to Growing to Serve, beginning October 20 the FBCG family will be asked to engage in a five-week teaching series designed to encourage reflection on community and individual growth. Attend each service, expecting to learn about insights God has for your personal growth. In addition, there will be written materials related to Growing to Serve, both online at fbcg.com and in print that will be provided to you. Participate in the 40-day prayer initiative, using the devotional available on our website and also woven into our Ten Minutes with God series. Explore the resources to make sure you understand the scope of the project. Talk with your spouse, family, and or friends about what a commitment to Growing to Serve could mean for you and for the church’s future.
All of the FBCG family will be asked to follow God’s leading by bringing forward a three-year financial commitment on Sunday, November 17.
We will have an all-church commitment gathering on Sunday, November 17. You will be asked to make a commitment on faith—a good faith estimate of what you believe God is leading you to contribute to ministry expansion. This commitment will cover special giving to the ministry expansion project over a three-year fulfillment period—December 2013 through December 2016. The commitment can be met in a variety of ways: one lump sum, through designated weekly giving, monthly giving, annual giving, or any other manner that is convenient for you. Online giving options will support Growing to Serve.
Gifts of property or stock are welcomed. Our Finance Team can help you with facilitating these types of gifts. You can contact Fred Morris at email@example.com and he will be happy to assist you.
Our goal is 100 percent participation from everyone who calls FBCG their home church. Even if the amount is small, every gift makes a difference and is important in God’s economy. God will show His faithfulness through our collective generosity.
Following a multi-year assessment, it became clear that consolidating into one campus would be prohibitively expensive, given the need to add a very large worship center estimated at $25+ million. Our study also revealed that the likely sale price of the East campus would have generated a fraction of its value to us. This led us to begin a multi-step effort to improve the functionality of the entire East campus. Phase One included upgrades to the entry and to the Student Ministry Center, and improvements to an already beautiful sanctuary. Phase Two is part of Growing to Serve, and covers remodeling of the lower level to enhance its usability for ministry expansion. We are confident that the East Campus will remain a central part of our FBCG home base, and add viable and effective space for equipping our people to serve our community and world.
We are excited about our expanding opportunities to make God’s power and glory known in our communities. As our ministries and impact grow, we have need to utilize not only existing space at both campuses, but also to expand to accommodate growth. Our current worship venues are serving our needs, so Growing to Serve is designed to support ministry growth in additional ways, primarily through enhancing the functionality of open spaces such as lobbies and welcome areas, classrooms, and meeting spaces. We will continue to work at ensuring the integration of both campuses so that we can maximize the collective impact of our diverse body.
Since building the West campus nearly ten years ago, FBCG leadership has re-assessed the viability of the original plan to consolidate campuses and build a large sanctuary that could seat 2000 people. We know that the cost of adding a new sanctuary would probably exceed $25 million. We have concluded that such a sum simply isn’t realistic. Moreover, given the limitations on its use, a sanctuary building would not be the wisest investment of God’s resources. This has led us to re-think how we can better use existing space at both campuses, and to develop a thoughtful plan to improve the space to meet current and growing ministry needs. This plan has been presented to you as Growing to Serve.