Dear Church Family,
I am so excited to begin this Capital Campaign journey with you as we begin Moving Forward in Freedom. The campaign is based on Galatians 5:13, where Paul writes, “You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
To serve one another in love. That’s what we’ve been about here at Central throughout our history, and it’s what we strive to be about for years to come. In order to fully serve and to love, we need to be moving forward in freedom by paying down our building debt and taking care of our facility. Just think about how the resources we are currently putting toward our mortgage could be so better served when put toward mission and ministry, both inside our building and beyond our walls.
This is a critical time in the life of Central, and I hope you have been praying the prayer we shared with you in the introductory Vision Brochure earlier this month: “Lord, what do you want to do through me?” Prayer will be the foundation of this entire campaign, and I want you to know this prayer has been on my heart for months now. If all of us will commit to praying for Central and the Moving Forward in Freedom campaign on a daily basis, I truly believe God will take us to a place where we are truly free: free to serve, free to care for, free to love, and most of all free to connect people to Jesus Christ.
Together on the Journey,
In 1997 the people of Central United Methodist Church, responding to God’s call to reach a new generation with the Gospel, relocated from downtown to New Hope Road. In the years since the move, God has honored that response and blessed the church with incredible growth, both spiritual and numerical. What started as a step of faith out to the “edge” of the city has become a firmly-planted beacon of hope in the center of Rogers, with the potential to reach thousands with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As Central’s campus has grown, it has become a place for people to come so they can worship fully, grow deeply, love unconditionally, share passionately, and give freely. Our congregation has faithfully supported Central as a place where nearly 300 children receive weekly childcare, youth come for Scout meetings and music lessons, and adults come for assistance. Our church is a place where many community meetings are held and the love of God is offered to all who come in.
God has continued to pour blessings on us as we do ministry in Northwest Arkansas. As we Move Forward in Freedom, we know there are additional blessings we can offer others through this wonderful church and people God has called to be His disciples.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. - Galatians 5:13
What is a Capital Stewardship Campaign?
A Capital Stewardship Campaign is a church program that seeks pledged donations from people within the congregation over a three-year period to be used for a major project, or, in our case, major debt reduction.
What is Moving Forward in Freedom?
Moving Forward in Freedom is the theme for our campaign. We truly believe we are called to keep moving forward, taking steps of faith as we seek to fulfill our mission of connecting people to Christ, and this campaign will allow us to do that.
Why are we doing this campaign now?
Our current campaign, Moving Forward in Faith, started in June 2013 and is concluding in the next few months. While we have made progress in our debt reduction from $6.9 million, we are now having to use operating income just to pay the note, with no opportunity to pay down the principal. While the current campaign has been very successful, there is still much to do.
What is our total debt?
Over the course of our time on New Hope Road (beginning with a capital campaign in 1993), we have spent just over $14 million on the campus of which we have paid down $8.3 million and still owe approximately $5.5 million.
How much are we hoping to raise?
We are hoping to raise $2 million over the three years of the campaign.
What are the different ways I can give, and how long will my commitment be?
You are asked to make a three-year commitment. Your gifts can be made on whatever frequency you choose: weekly, monthly, annually, or as a one-time gift. The different ways to give include cash, check, credit card, automatic draft, stock, IRA distributions, or real estate.
Will this campaign be entirely for debt reduction?
We know the importance of debt reduction to Move Forward in Freedom, so 90% of what we raise will be for servicing the loan and paying down the debt. However, we also have some major improvements and deferred maintenance that need to happen in the coming years. We have a wonderful facility here, but parts of it are now almost 20 years old and are in need of attention. The most pressing needs are portions of our room and our aging HVAC operations. So, 10% of what we raise will be set aside for Capital Needs and improvements, to be used at the direction of our Trustees and Church Council.
What are the main benefits of this campaign?
This campaign will benefit Central in many ways. It will continue to free up significant dollars that can be allocated toward mission and ministry to our children, youth, and adults. We will be able to reach out into the community in greater ways by expanding what we do in missions, both with our existing local partners in the community and beyond. It will also allow us the chance to support ministries around our state, nation, and globe as we meet 100% of our shared-ministry responsibilities to the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. These dollars go to start new churches, support campus ministries around the state, and partner with missionaries around the world. As we faithfully move toward freedom and pay down our debt it brings us another step closer to one day finishing out one of our major shell areas for adult Christian education. It also moves us ever-closer to not needing capital campaigns to service debt, but instead freeing up those resources for mission and ministry.
How many pledges will be needed?
Our hope is that every family at Central will participate in this campaign. Our goal is to have 375 pledges.
Will I be pressured to make a pledge?
No. Participation in the campaign and how much you will give will be entirely up to you. All members and guests will be given the opportunity to contribute if they wish to do so. Your pledge will be confidential.
If I can’t give a large amount, does my pledge really matter?
Absolutely! All pledges matter, regardless of the amount because every gift to God is an act of obedience to him, and we honor God with equal sacrifice, not equal gifts.
Church Repair and Upgrades
We will be putting 90% of what we raise in this capital campaign toward debt service and principal reduction, but there is another component to Moving Forward in Freedom. Our campus, which has served us so well since we took a step of faith and moved here in 1997, is beginning to show its age. We have some major roofing problems and HVAC issues that will need to be addressed in the months to come. For example, we are operating with the original chillers and boilers for our HVAC system, making them almost 20 years old. In those first years being here on New Hope Road, we were unable to financially support having a reserve fund of any kind. In the last few years our Board of Trustees has begun such a fund, but it alone will not meet the capital needs and improvements that are coming in the next 12-24 months. To help make these needs a reality, 10% of every dollar that is raised in the Moving Forward in Freedom campaign will be set aside and put in our reserve fund. This money will be used for the necessary repairs and upgrades to our facility so that we can continue to be a place where people are getting connected to Christ. We know that the church is not a building, but we give thanks to God for the mission and ministry that has happened, and will continue to happen, as we give proper stewardship to our facility.
Our Debt Reduction
Nineteen years ago, the people of Central United Methodist Church, then located in downtown Rogers, responded to God’s call to reach a new generation with the Gospel. Taking a step of faith, we purchased 28 acres and relocated to New Hope Road. God has honored that response and blessed the church with incredible spiritual and numerical growth. Our current campus, built in two phases with continued growth in mind, has provided a home for the many blessings God has bestowed. However, with the campus came debt. Over these last 19 years, we have worked hard to pay down that debt while keeping up with our growth. The first phase of the building project started with a capital campaign in 1993 in anticipation for the move with a cost of $6,600,000.00 (including land purchase and the building). In 2000 a shell area was finished out which cost an additional $400,000.00 and in 2006 the second phase (north part of the current building) was finished with a cost of $7,600,000.00, which included a carryover of approximately $1.5 million from previous debt. There was a campaign, Journey to the Heart, which was completed in December 2010. Our most recent campaign, Moving Forward in Faith, is scheduled to end May 31st of this year. This campaign was extremely successful, allowing us to pay down our principal by over $1 million in addition to making our payments. We also finished out Rm 107, a children’s ministry and multi-use space. In other words, we have spent just over $15M on our campus, and, of that $15M, we have paid $9.4M and still owe $5.6M.
This is where Moving Forward in Freedom comes in. We are excited to embark on this $2 million campaign to continue to reduce the debt and free our resources up for mission and ministry. If we are successful and reach this goal, our loan is projected to be just over $4 million in three years. At that point it is hope that we will only need to have one additional campaign to put us in a position where our debt service can be folded into our operating budget. What an exciting time that will be – we will be truly free to hear from God on how he is calling us to move forward next!
We have prayerfully established the following benchmarks for the campaign. We realize that every campaign is different, so while it is our hope to raise $2 million, we certainly want an opportunity to celebrate if we can move past this goal. Every dollar raised is another dollar we can put toward debt reduction and capital repairs, so we will rejoice each benchmark we are able to reach!