Nearly 17 years ago, I packed up my car and headed to Waco for what I thought would be the next four years of my life. As I started my senior year, I remember a close friend (and now Covenant Member of Harris Creek) first suggesting the idea that staying in Waco after college was a great option and was something I should consider. I quickly dismissed the idea, and even scoffed at it. Through a series of incredible events, I have now lived in Waco almost as long as I lived in my hometown, where I grew up. While the “detours” that kept me in Waco certainly weren’t planned, and some of them were incredibly frustrating, hindsight now allows me to see that each circumstance led me to where I am today.
In a similar way, it can feel like it has been ages since we launched the Our Turn campaign. There have been setbacks, detours, and surprises throughout this entire process. Yet last month, we celebrated as a church the fact that we have officially entered a new phase of the campaign. A few weeks ago, we partnered with a strong local bank (TFNB) to get the funding we needed, in part thanks to a second appraisal that was more favorable than the original one we received. This great news helped us begin the construction phase of the Sunwest Campus expansion almost immediately, with our general contractor (K4 Construction) beginning their pre-construction preparations the following week. I’m happy to report that site work has officially commenced and dirt has started to move this week. It’s so exciting to see these dreams begin to become a reality!
Now that we have signed a loan agreement and begun construction, we have entered new territory when it comes to being able to fund this project and meet our commitments. As it stands today, we have received 63% of the pledges that were made in 2015 as part of the Our Turn campaign. We plan to conclude the official fundraising portion of the Our Turn campaign in December 2017 like we originally promised, even though construction will continue well into 2018. I would encourage you to look at your statement included in this envelope and consider how you can help us meet our goal by the end of the year. We believe that if we receive even just 85% of the pledged amount, then we will be able to meet our financial commitments by the end of the construction period. This means we need to receive an additional $515,000 of expanded giving between now and December if we are going to hit that 85% mark. Obviously hitting 100% of our goal would be ideal and incredible, and I believe this is still possible because I have seen the generosity of our people over the years.
There have already been so many families who have gone above and beyond what they pledged to give, and those stories are both humbling and inspiring. I also want to thank those of you who continue to tithe faithfully, which helps sustain our operating budget as well as maintain cash reserves. Both regular giving and “above and beyond” gifts are crucial at this stage. I know that this two year journey can feel daunting at this stage, but I don’t want us to lose perspective in seeing how far we’ve come and how close we are to achieving our goals.
With each step we take, there will be more excitement, more perspective gained, and more that is going to be required of each of us. But what I have learned by experiencing the ups and downs that come with rooting yourself in one place is that the hard work required in order to reap the benefits of being able to call a place “home” are absolutely worth it. It’s not always easy. The “how” is not always clear-cut. But that’s what makes it worth it. If it was easy, everybody would do it. The rewards of taking the narrow, more arduous path in the name of Jesus always leads to a perspective and a story we wouldn’t trade for the world. I hope that will be my testimony when this is all said and done, and I hope the same for you! I love you and am honored to be on this journey with you.
Brady Herbert, Lead Pastor