Bear Creek Church
The Freedom Plan
A Vision to Strengthen the Church In recent months, Pastor David engaged Bear Creek leadership teams regarding the church’s future. He believes one of our biggest hurdles is the remaining debt on our facility’s mortgage. With this in mind, Pastor David is focused to position Bear Creek to be the most effective in reaching our community, region and world with the gospel of Christ. Fourteen years ago, Bear Creek took a bold step to reach our region for Christ. We relocated and developed our present campus and facilities, constructing 125,000 sq. ft. of ministry space so far. Our church has more than doubled in size since the relocation, with thousands of salvation commitments through the years. Overall, this was an $18 million relocation and expansion mission. We presently owe $5.8 million in mortgage debt to fully pay for all completed projects to this point. But this debt impedes our ability to fund significant new ministry for our community. Presently, about 19 percent of our ministry funds go toward this mortgage – approximately $680,000 a year.
A Vision of Freedom We vision to take a huge step toward total freedom. Think of what eliminating this debt could mean for the gospel every year that follows. For example, this $680,000 yearly, multiplied by five years, equals $3.5 million that could be used to do bold new things. Our vision is to accelerate our elimination of debt and pour these strategic funds into gospel initiatives. According to Pastor David, this is our most challenging obstacle to our effectiveness in reaching our world for Christ.
A Five-Year Freedom Plan But how is this possible in the present economic climate? There are three parts to this plan.
A sale of a portion of our property After praying for an answer to this challenge for many, many months, an opportunity materialized. A community home developer agreed to purchase a 12-acre portion of our 36 acres for the development of single-family homes immediately behind our facility. Our lead staff and finance team are working with the developer in a preliminary way. We believe that we could execute a contract for approximately $1.25 million for 12 acres at the back of our property. The proceeds of this sale would primarily go toward reducing the principal of our existing mortgage. A strategic refinance of our mortgage Because of the present economic climate, we are in a position to refinance our mortgage on very favorable terms and significantly reduce our interest rate along with a 25-year amortization. The refinance could serve as a hedge against the uncertainty in a “COVID-economy,” coupled with a faster reduction of our mortgage. A giving challenge to our church family If our church family will take the challenge of giving $200-$300 thousand yearly, over-and-above present giving, we could eliminate the mortgage we’ve carried for the past 14 years. With even modest commitments to give toward this plan from core families, this could be accomplished in as little as five years. It could mean that in 2025, we are able to unleash $680,000 each year into bringing the gospel further into our community, region and the world. An incredible new day of freedom. Our proposed plan includes a sale of 12 acres, a strategic refinance of our mortgage, plus a challenge to our church family to give over-and-above for the next five to six years. This could completely eliminate our mortgage debt and unleash unprecedented resources.
Plenty of Space to Grow One question that remains is whether this potential sale of land would restrict our ability to continue expanding our facilities and reaching our community for Christ. After consideration, we do not believe it will suppress our ability to grow and reach. Our sports ministry will maintain access to five acres of outdoor fields. Additionally, the potential exists to add a second gym to our present facility, doubling our indoor sports ministry capabilities. We have room to add significant age-group space and expand our worship center as well. One recent architectural study showed that we can easily double in average attendance after the sale of 12 acres. Even with a potential sale of a portion of our property, we retain 24 acres in total on Fry Rd. Our visibility and access remain excellent.
Our Leadership Fully Unified
For the past few months our finance committee and lead staff have prayed, evaluated and worked through this plan. When we asked for feedback from our other leadership groups, we found unified affirmation. The Freedom Plan is unanimously recommended by our lead staff, finance committee, trustees, personnel committee, deacon lead team and deacons.
A Freedom Plan for the Future
This plan expands the possibilities for us. When we pay off our mortgage, Bear Creek recovers nearly $700,000 dollars annually to release into our community for Christ in brand new ways. We are reclaiming financial resources that our church family is already giving. We will be able to do incredible things for the gospel without raising any additional funds.