“So, what’s going on with the building project?”
This is a question that I have been asked a few times recently, so I thought it would be good to put my answer down here so that those of you who have thought of asking it, but just haven’t had the chance can here it first hand as well.
First, as you all know we have accomplished several things so far:
- A complete survey, sampling, and analysis of the property to prove that the site is safe and buildable
- The complete reconstruction of the drive through
- The exterior work on our current building
- Repaving and widening of Emerson Rd (this was in cooperation with the Arbor Homes subdivision across the street), yes we did that, the City of Greenwood required it as a stipulation to building
- Reconstruct all of the drainage ditches and water runoff areas
- Expansion of the Infant Nursery
- Began the expansion and moving of the pond
- This part has been sporadic because of the rainfall and the wetness of the ground. Part of the process is building up the pad for the building with the dirt that will be removed, and wet dirt does not lead to solid compaction. So, pray for a dry spell so that this work can be finished.
All of this has been paid for with cash on hand, and has not required us to get any type of loan. However, we have been working diligently over the last 12+ months in getting ready for this next phase where a substantial loan would be necessary.
In fact, before we even began the MOMENTUM process we sat down with several financial people and presented our numbers (attendance, giving, childcare income) and we were told that our finances looked great, and that getting a loan for the size we were talking would not be difficult at all, especially given all the growth opportunities around us. So, our plan was to get the loan at the outset and then do everything at once, but as we began that process we were made aware that our financial books needed some significant work so that they were ‘bank ready’. At that point we hired an accounting firm to come in and work with us on getting everything set up, and actually go back a couple of years to make sure everything was up to speed.
This process started last Spring and just wrapped up in late 2014. We certainly did not want to move forward with any major financial obligations without making sure that everything was accounted for down to the last nickel. We now have pristine looking, bank approved financial books that will help us do an even better job of stewarding all of the resources that God so generously blesses us with through your faithful giving.
As 2014 was wrapping up we felt confident to allow the firm, who was working with the banks on our behalf, to re-engage the banks with our loan package. We began to receive responses from the banks in February, and continued until late March. Although their responses were enthusiastic, and positive regarding our financial position, they all want to see another 9-12 months of this trend before they are willing to consider it. In laymen’s terms, the banks want to see 24-36 months of what we have experienced over the last 18 months financially before they are willing to even consider giving us the full loan amount.
This of course puts us in a difficult position. If we wait another 9-12 months and then re-engage the banks there is no guarantee that even at that point they will approve the loan, but if they did, that would mean it will be almost 2 years from now before we could get into the building. At the rate of growth we are currently experiencing we just don’t have that much time. Not to mention what will happen once Worthsville Rd is opened back up…whenever that may be! So, needless to say the Elders and I have been praying, talking with people who know more than we do, and meeting together to try and determine what our best course of action will be.
Here is what I can tell you with absolute certainty; this whole process began because we wanted to see more people and families experience the life changing reality of Jesus Christ; because we believe that God is far from done using Friendship as an effective and influential church; and we don’t want a building, or lack of one, to hinder the MOMENTUM that God is building. All of those things are still true today, and I’m still committed to seeing God do great things through us, the only question is how that will look given some of the hurdles that we are currently experiencing.
So, two things: First, as we get more information we will set up a time to bring the entire body into the conversation for what we should do next. Second, be praying for God to give all of us an intensely clear direction and protect us from moving out of His plan.
I’m not exactly sure what God has up his sleeve…but I’m pretty excited about it!!!