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An Unexpected Change of Direction



Last week, the elders shared the following letter with the members of Redemption Church. As we get ready to celebrate our 5-year Anniversary, we thought it would be also helpful to share this update more broadly, since we will likely be discussing it -- at least briefly -- during Sunday services in the weeks and months ahead.


 

Dear Redemption family,


Around this time last year (Spring 2023) the elders shared a letter with the congregation titled, “Why We’re Not Adding Another Service (And What We'll Do Instead).” In that letter, we laid out a number of plans that we’ve made quite a bit of progress on since then. First, we shared about the need to make some changes to maximize our use of the space we have. And it seems like that has been a success. Just last Sunday, we had almost 350 people in the building ─ with more than 60 people worshiping together in the barn overflow area. Suffice to say, we are doing a much better job using the space we have available to us. Thank you so much for your flexibility and understanding as we’ve made some of these changes!


The other two plans we shared that required specific action steps were: (1) “To identity a church planting resident to be sent out with a team” ─ praise God for the Alles’s and the members of our still-forming church plant team ─ and also (2) “To begin planning for a sanctuary addition.” Based on some information we’ve received, we felt it would be wise to share an update regarding the addition planning process in advance of our March 17th members’ meeting.


An Update on our Building Expansion Plans

As you know, we’ve contracted with RINKA+ architectural firm to determine the scope, design, and cost of a future addition project. We have now completed that process. We developed specific plans for an addition that would suit our quickly growing needs; we have even received bids from multiple contractors to determine the overall cost of the project. However, as a result:


The elders are not going to recommend that we move forward with plans to build an expansion to our current facility. 


For context, here's what we’ve discovered: Our lender has confirmed that, at the moment, we would likely qualify to borrow an additional $800K-$1M toward this project. The generosity consultant we’ve contracted with estimates that, at this time, we could also conservatively hope to raise another roughly $1.5M based on our current giving trends, church size, etc. That brings our total funding capacity for a project like this to roughly $2.5M. Meanwhile, the two lowest bids we received for this 400-seat sanctuary addition, with all the necessary children’s space and parking, would cost roughly $6M dollars. One bid came in as high as $7.4M. For these reasons, there is unanimous agreement among the elders that a building expansion will not be the most wise or financially responsible way to address our space limitation issues.


To some extent, it may be possible to make changes to this design or reduce the scope of the project to try and lower the cost. However, since this funding gap is quite large and we already have such a pressing need for more space right now, we don’t feel that simply cutting costs or reducing the scope of the project would be the right solution.


You might be wondering, “How were we this far off? What made us think we could afford an addition to begin with?” Those are understandable questions. And maybe we missed something there; that’s possible. But it’s important to remember that early last year, when we began this process, we weren’t using any overflow seating at the time, our services weren’t quite full yet, and we had just over 100 members. Simply put: Our church has grown more in this past year than it did in the first four years combined. We also weren’t even sure how large of a sanctuary we wanted to build. So, all that to say, a lot has changed over the course of this year. And ultimately, the cost and scope of the addition we would now need wound up being larger and more expensive than we ever could have known at the beginning of this process.


So, where do we go from here?

Needless to say, this will have quite a few implications for the future of our church. As an elder council, we have already been prayerfully considering what it may mean and how we can move forward. For instance, at the very least, this probably means we will begin searching for a larger property to purchase. In some ways, we feel that is just the logical conclusion. We are already operating at maximum capacity; there is not a clear path to expanding our current facility; but we still need more space … as soon as possible. By God’s grace, we do feel we have some clarity about a number of crucial next steps we hope to take, which would likely help us to address our space limitation even sooner than we could have by building an addition.


But one thing at a time! It will take a while for us to discern all of this. For now, we just want to (1) inform you of this new development prior to our 5-year Anniversary Weekend, and (2) ask for your patience and prayer between now and then. We realize this is very unexpected (and likely disappointing) news. We feel that too. But our God is faithful. He has proven that to us time and time again these past five years, and we are confident He will prove it again in this situation. We’re excited to see how He does!


As always, the three of us are all here to process this with you if that would be helpful. However, we do hope to devote a good portion of our March 17th members’ gathering to prayerfully considering these things together. And we feel that may be the best, most fruitful way for us to begin processing it ─ namely, together, as a congregation. In the meantime, thank you for all the ways you continually give of your time, talents, and resources so that God can be glorified through the life and ministry of our church. Steady on!


In Christ,


The Elders of Redemption Church

Danny D’Acquisto, Greg Alles, and Carl Dernell

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