Q: How is the cost so much less than the original plan?
A: Thanks to some wise counsel, we involved a builder earlier in the process to help finalize the plans. Their expertise was invaluable in helping to find “efficiencies” that maximized our existing facility and improved functionality for what will be built. Additionally, we are saving money by completing the project sooner (and in only one phase) thereby avoiding the cost of inflation.
Q: How did we go from three building phases to one?
A: When building in phases, you have to be able to continue the operation of the ministry with only a portion of the project complete. By building all at once, we were able to reduce the total amount of square footage we needed to build, and accomplish the ministry goals for less money. The main purpose for the original three-phase plan was to spread out the financial weight of the overall cost.
Q: What is the timeframe for Funding the Vision?
A: You will have the opportunity to participate in funding the vision, beginning fall of 2017 through the end of 2020.
Q: Will this project involve longterm debt?
A: LEFC is currently debt free at the end of Phase 1 of Project Open Invitation. While paying cash is ideal, the overall size and scope of this project is likely beyond our ability to pay for it in a three year period. As such, we are working with lending institutions to be sure that we have funding in place to cover the difference between our cash & pledges and the project cost.
Q: When do you hope to break ground?
A: There is no specific time frame. Rather we will begin planning to break ground once we've received $3,000,000 cash in hand.
Q: Does it matter when I actually give the different portions of my financial pledge?
A: Yes, it does. The pledge commitment cards have 4 lines to indicate how much of your total pledge will be received each year. (2017 through 2020). Significant project decisions will be made based on both the total pledge commitments and the timing of when those gifts will be received. Consider how you may be able to front-load your giving to the project. The sooner cash donations are received, the sooner we will be able to break ground!
Q: "We support the vision of the church but how will the congregation be able to pay for this expansion when we are not meeting our operating budget on a week-to-week basis?"
A: The church leadership is very aware of this concern. We have been working with consultants and various lending institutions to glean their wisdom regarding appropriate borrowing capacity for a church of our size. There are two additional factors that typically accompany a project of this magnitude: 1) General Fund giving increases during and after a significant facility expansion and 2) Attendance and membership grows, resulting in additional giving resources. However, we will plan for very minimal financial growth to ensure we are not being too aggressive in anticipating what level of future giving LEFC can anticipate. A “Once in a Generation” project, will seem financially stretching or insurmountable at the outset. We are praying that God provides abundantly in helping us achieve the goals ahead of us.
Q:What is the maximum length of time that LEFC would carry long-term debt?
A:We plan on a term of 25 years. Christian Investors Foundation (CIF) has indicated that the average church pays off their 25 year term in 8-9 years. We would hope to pay off the mortgage earlier than 25 years.
Q: Is $6.5M the amount we need to have pledged or received to allow the project to go forward?
A:When we partnered with CIF on the capital campaign they indicated funds raised would typically fall between 2.0 and 2.5 times our annual regular general fund giving, equating to $4.2 million to $5.3 million. They indicated 3.0 times our annual budget ($6.3 million) would be an extremely favorable response. From the outset of the capital campaign we had prepared financial scenarios for anywhere in the range of $4.5 million to $6.5 million raised. Reaching $4.5 million in pledges allows the project to move forward even as we anticipate the final received amount will be higher. CIF also set combined short and long term debt capacity for LEFC at $8.5 million. We've set the campaign "victory" fundraising goal at the high end of the range at $6.5 million with a targeted long term mortgage of $7 million.
Q:Will the current building plans be adjusted if the total amount pledged is significantly less than the amount planned for?
A:The project has now been through substantial “value engineering” to bring the project budget down to $12.5M. This process leaves very little room for further project cost reductions. See the previous question and answer regarding the project finances. With a smaller amount pledged/received it is likely that the long term debt level will fall between $7M and $8M depending on 1) the final amount received at the end of the 3 year campaign and 2) the rate of regular giving growth during the campaign and particularly once we are in the new facility.
Q:Where will we meet during construction?
A:We expect to be able to meet in our current space until we open the new auditorium. The offices will need to move off site temporarily.
Q:Will we sell the Mill?
A:In addition to the ministry use, the mill property also houses our vehicles and maintenance equipment. Selling the Mill needs to do more than just pay for replacing that use on our main campus to be worth it. It is under consideration, but at this time we don’t know if the value is high enough to make this a wise move financially.
Q:What about sixth street?
A:We are still under agreement to sell some of our existing land that is on the other side of the proposed sixth street in order to fund our obligations related to building the road. Access from sixth street is crucial to the project due to the traffic load LEFC generates on Pierson road and Rothsville road. While a completed sixth street is ideal, it is not our only option to move forward. Our project can happen without sixth street if necessary.
Q:Will this affect the new parking lot?
A:None of the new parking lot built in 2015 will be affected by this plan, but the new auditorium building occupies some of our original lot which will need some partial regrading.