On behalf of all the elders, thank you for praying and fasting for us on Monday, May 7.
Every elder was present, as was the building committee. At midnight we voted unanimously and enthusiastically to recommend to the congregation that we move ahead immediately with the construction of a four-level educational building, plus basement, on the spot where the present "old sanctuary" stands, plus another level over the 1955 building at a cost of approximately $6.5 million. This is slightly above where our pledges (plus cash on hand) presently stand.
Our common consent was that the leveling off of the pledges near $6.5 million, after six additional months of waiting and praying, was God's signal to accept what he had moved the people to pledge and to move ahead with that, rather than continue to wait for another $2.5 million. This means that the multi-purpose-room/gym with its basement would not be built at this time. We do not rule out a later second phase, but that is not a firm plan or proposal now.
WE ARE CALLING A SPECIAL ALL-CHURCH STRATEGY MEETING ON MAY 30TH to give you all the details and to ask your vote of support for this plan. We will pray at 6:00 PM for one hour and then discuss and act on the building proposal at 7:00 PM.
We stand by the original commitments to enter the new building debt free and to have half of the money in hand before we begin to build, and the other half pledged (to be paid by the date of occupancy) before we begin to build. We are very aware that all the pledges were made toward a $9 million project that included a gym and basement. In view of the new scope of the project, integrity requires that we give all of you a chance to revise your pledges up or down. We pray that the great majority will agree with us that this plan is God's leading and will happily keep your pledges at the same (or a higher) level.
This means that, if you approve the plan on May 30, we will immediately instruct our architect, HGA, to do what they call "design and development" as soon as possible. This may take 2 months. Then about 3 months would elapse during the "preparation of construction documents." Then, it would take about 2 more months for "bid and award." At that point, assuming that the pledges are in place and the cost projections are in line with the plan, we would begin construction. So it is very likely that the "old sanctuary" would come down and construction begin near the end of this year, and we could be in the new building 12 to 14 months later, that is, about March 1, 2003, debt free.
We believe that there are local partnerships with other churches that can provide at least partial solutions to the (temporary?) loss of a gym in the plans. We also believe that the old plan to use the gym for an "incubator" of new churches may perhaps be fulfilled by using one of the present three services on Sunday morning as the "incubator."
Lest you feel that this present plan is short of a marvelous work of God, consider this: When I first floated a debt free idea before the elders in the fall of 1997 I threw out the wild number of $5 million as an "impossible" target with a $1 million line called "out of nothing" (referring to God's ability to create out of nothing). The reality today is that 775 pledges total almost $6.5 million which is, on average, over $8,000 per giving unit over a two-year period. Think of it. This average includes our teen-agers and those on fixed incomes. This is stunning. We will, in due time, take the occasion to corporately praise God in a focused and concerted way. He has been very good to us.
Your partner in the great work of EDUCATION FOR EXULTATION!