In December, we brought you the news that our expansion project was going to be delayed due to the appraisal on the project (including our current building and land) coming back significantly lower than anyone expected. Over the past few months, we have been working diligently to figure out the best way to move forward and where we should go from here. Due to the timing of the news, we did as much work as we could before the Christmas holiday, and then we were able to pick up where we left off in the early part of January. Our goal has been to move forward as quickly and with as much prudence as we possibly could. As the last few months have unfolded, I continue to be encouraged by how our church has responded and the overall direction of the “Our Turn” campaign.
The unforeseen benefit of this delay is that it has allowed us to regroup and revisit the banking conversation altogether. The reason this has been a positive development for us is that the delay has given us more time to put money away into savings, which, in turn, has made us more attractive to lending institutions. A few banks that were unable to lend to us because of the scope of the project and the amount of cash we initially had on hand have now been able to rejoin the conversation. These discussions have led us to focus on two banks that have a strong local presence and a better understanding of our congregation (due to their local presence). At this stage, we are still in discussions with both banks and determining which one is the right fit for us moving forward. We hope to gain further clarity sometime in the next 30- 60 days on this front.
In the meantime, we have ordered a second appraisal to help us get a better idea of the true value of our project. We believe this will be helpful to the process, no matter the results of the appraisal. Much like someone getting a second opinion from a doctor before moving forward with a major procedure, we see this as a way to get even more accurate information so that we can make wise decisions that are best for our congregation in both the short and long run.
While this is happening, you continue to do an incredible job of giving faithfully and sacrificially in order to make this project happen, and I want to say thank you for doing this. We had a strong close to 2016 and an equally strong beginning to 2017, which was so encouraging to see. Here are a few giving trends we thought might be helpful and uplifting for you to know:
- 44 giving units reached 100% of their pledged amount in December 2016
- 69 giving units reached 100% of their pledged amount in January 2017
- $227,605 has been received in excess from those who have already met their pledged amount and continue to give sacrificially beyond their pledge
- 61% of expanded giving has been received ($1.4 million of $2.3 million pledged)
- $332,121 was given in December 2016
February 16, 2017
- $220,717 was given in January 2017
$116,286wasgiveninJanuary2015(forcomparison) o $158,625wasgiveninJanuary2016(forcomparison)
- $1,301,135 in unrestricted cash (as of January 31, 2017)
- $1,101,135 can go towards “Our Turn” due to needing to keep ≈ $200,000 for cash reserves on hand
Hopefully, you can tell that giving trends are heading in the right direction and you are encouraged by what you see on the giving front. Year two of “Our Turn” is off to a great start! On top of the positive trends in giving, our staff continues to do a great job of managing expenses while appropriately funding ministry to make sure the work of the church continues as we build up our cash reserves.
To summarize: we have banks that are interested in partnering with us on this project; we are in a much stronger position financially than we were in November 2016 thanks to your continued generosity; and we are working hard to get us to the construction phase in a timely but prudent manner. I ask you to continue to pray over this process, particularly for wisdom when it comes to the banking conversations over the next two months. If we are able to move forward with construction before our next quarterly update, we will obviously break the regular rhythm of communication and let you know as soon as we can. Again, thank you for your continued generosity and faithfulness. I am honored to get to work alongside you in the work God has given to us!
On Sunday, we had a quarterly update on the “Our Turn” initiative to help keep you aware of the progress. This update is unique because we are nearing the one-year anniversary of the “Our Turn” campaign and have some significant updates across the board to share with you. In this update, I will share an update on giving and the construction timeline regarding the Sunwest Campus expansion project. I also want to share some news concerning our Training Institute: United Kingdom.
SUNWEST CAMPUS EXPANSION (GIVING UPDATE)
We are nearing 10 months of giving data when it comes to how we are trending on the giving front. If you read our monthly publication called “Keeping You Current,” you already know that our monthly finances are doing well right now. This means we are covering our operating budget on a monthly basis and managing costs really well. To put it another way, our proportional giving seems to be on track and healthy.
When it comes to expanded, or sacrificial, giving, we are seeing a little lag with a sizeable number of people. There are 105 “giving units” (families or individuals) who have fulfilled less than 35% of their pledged amount. As we near the halfway point in this two-year process, we really need everyone to revisit your commitments to see how you can stay on track. We are approaching the time to close with the bank on the construction loan and needing to make some significant financial decisions based on the pledges that were made. If you can revisit your commitment and let us know if anything has changed, this will help us update our records and make fiscally sound decisions. The easiest way to update your commitment is to email Kelly Merritt (email@example.com) and let her know of any changes in your circumstances.
SUNWEST CAMPUS EXPANSION (CONSTRUCTION UPDATE)
On the construction front, you will see a new rendering of the expansion project at the entrance of the Sunwest Campus. We have received 100% of our construction documents from our architects and are now getting final bids from our general contractor. The goal is to break ground on the project within the next two months, sometime in November.
On a related note, we will have an opportunity to revisit the vision behind this campaign and celebrate all that God has accomplished over the past year during our morning worship services on Sunday, October 16. We will also host a special gathering that evening for everyone in our congregation from 5-7p at our Sunwest Campus. This event will provide some unique ways to envision the future and spend some time in prayer as the beginning of the construction phase gets closer on our Sunwest Campus expansion project. It’s going to be a great weekend and an important moment for our congregation that you won’t want to miss!
Finally, the last quarterly update included a request for prayer regarding the outdoor baptistery. I wanted to let you know that we got approval from the City of Waco to move forward with the design, and we are thrilled! We have some amazing people helping us with this portion of the project, which we see as a gift from God. We also knew that it would take a certain amount of divine favor to make this happen, so we are grateful for your prayers and for the good news.
TRAINING INSTITUTE: UNITED KINGDOM
The “Our Turn” campaign has been about far more than a building from the outset, and part of our expansion strategy included starting a cross-cultural equipping opportunity in the United Kingdom. Our first team from Harris Creek returned from the Training Institute in the UK in August, and they had an incredible experience. The team worked with a church in Brighton, England, for the summer. The experience was extremely fruitful, and we’re looking forward to expanding the Training Institute in the coming year by sending more people and adding more partner churches/para-church organizations. Our entire congregation will also have a unique opportunity in the coming months to connect with the work going on in the Training Institute: United Kingdom when Dave Steel, the pastor of One Church Brighton, preaches at Harris Creek on Sunday, November 6.
In closing, I would say there is a ton of positive momentum and groundwork being laid across the board right now, so be encouraged! I hope you will continue to pray about how you can take more steps to contribute to all that is happening through the “Our Turn” initiative. It’s clear there is a fresh movement of God in our city, and the work He is doing through Harris Creek is part of this new chapter being written. Exciting days are right around the corner!
If you missed the update on Sunday, check out the video below.
Any trail that I have hiked (granted, there have only been a few in my life) has always contained at least two vivid realities – a hopeful destination and undoubtedly a painful switchback or two. We all have the idea of the destination firmly in the forefront of our thoughts as the journey begins. Legs are strong. Lungs are good, and confidence is high. But as the elevation climbs, and the trail gets more difficult, the prize at the end seems to be a distant goal at best.
This past Sunday, I started my message with a quarterly update on our progress regarding the “Our Turn” initiative. Like last time, if you want to watch the video of what was said, we have that available online as a resource for you to use in order to stay informed. As I said during our first update in March, we will include a quarterly statement with these updates so you can track your progress based on your commitment made last year. Each update will continue to focus on two key areas of interest: giving progress and how things are developing on the construction timeline. There have been some exciting and important developments that we’ve been waiting to share with you.
“Our group signed up through For The City: Waco to partner with Arrow. […] The beauty of this service opportunity for our group is that we do not have to organize every person’s schedule to line up for one big event, but instead, one of us or a few of us at a time can respond to Arrow and offer to take a meal, clean up a house, install a ceiling fan, or join a family at the park.” Continue reading “For The City: Waco (an update from intern Caroline Thornton)”
If you weren’t with us in corporate worship on Sunday, I began by spending a few minutes giving a quarterly update on the progress of the “Our Turn” initiative. If you want to watch the video version of the update, we have that available for you online to watch when you get time. We are going to build quarterly updates into our natural rhythm and routine as a way for you to stay informed and track the progress of the campaign. Every update will be accompanied by a quarterly statement, which is included in this letter, for anyone who made a commitment to the campaign (some of you have likely received this before the update on Sunday, which is great). Each update will focus on two key areas of interest: giving progress and how things are developing on the construction timeline (we will also include any other noteworthy developments in these updates, so please make sure to stay informed and aware of how things are trending).