“You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3
This past Sunday after church the elders met with Malcolm Puckett of Christian Financial Resources. He is the one who spoke briefly this past Sunday and “CFR” is the company that is financing our purchase of the Chuckatuck property. The purpose of our discussion was to discuss how we can raise the resources necessary to build on the land.
When I left the conversation I have to admit that I saw an enormous task ahead of us to accomplish this goal. I immediately saw some concerns or red flags about this project. For example, in most capital campaigns in churches the majority of funds do not come from giving out of income, but from assets. Here is the problem: Generally speaking, those older in life have more assets than young families. Young families are busy trying make ends meet and generally have few assets or if they do they are just beginning to build them. The majority of our church is made up of young families and so I naturally thought, “Where is the money going to come from?”
I also thought about our own fundraising in the Make Room for More campaign. We did awesome in raising a little over $100,000 to help us move forward, but in this meeting we were talking about raising three times that amount in about the same amount of time. Where was the money going to come from? Plus, we have the pressure to start some kind of building within two years since the Conditional Use Permit is only good for two years. How are we going to accomplish this task? Short on time and short on money. Not the best of positions but is that where God wants us, perhaps?
Right now, the fundraising might look like this according to our consultants. Phase 1 would be a 1-2 year campaign and its goal would be to raise approximately $300,000. These funds would go to the required site improvements and to pay off the land loan. Approximate site improvement costs will be around $200,000. Site improvements include the sidewalk, curb, turning lanes, parking lot, septic system, et al.. Our loan for the land is $90,000. I just rounded up for the $300,000 figure. Why? For example, the city stated we have to pay property taxes until we are physically meeting in the building for religious services before our tax exempt status applies. Prices always seem to rise.
Phase 2 would be to raise money for the building. Then we are planning to build a 15,000 square foot building. Commercial buildings cost about $130 per square foot to build. Multiply those two numbers and you get 1.95 million dollars. Again, I simply rounded up the last 50 grand. This gives us a total cost of 2.3 million dollars! I know we can do things to make things a little cheaper, but even if it was $115 pr. sq. foot it would $1,725,000.
Phase 3 would be a campaign to pay off the debt.
On top of that, God has not put our ministry on hold while we work to go to Chuckatuck. He has plenty of ministries for us to do right there in the YMCA. We will still need resources for this happen. Our giving so far this year is off from last year’s effort. It’s not a startling amount but it’s not the momentum you seek when buying property.
So I asked, “God, what are you doing?” First, I felt confident that we were following God. I never wavered in that. Secondly, I read a story that set me in the direction I need.
In 1936, in the middle of the Great Depression an evangelist named John Rice went to speak at a church. When he arrived the crowd was small. When he inquired why he learned that no money was spent on promoting the revival. He came with his salary only coming by love offering and only $25 was given that night. He was depending on this offering to pay the bills and needed $920 (a large sum in 1936!).
So Rice told God the bills were his because they incurred while doing His work. He pleaded to God to pay the bills. The next morning, when he was getting on the train home, a porter came to him with a telegram from his secretary that read, “You have just received $1000 for your work!” The money was from someone Rice had never seen, never written, nor communicated with in any other way!
That’s when the above verse James 4:2-3 comes to mind, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
We do not have because we do not ask. Well, it looks like we need 2.3 million dollars to get this job done. It’s the Lord’s house we are building isn’t it? It is his fame that we are pursuing on the property, isn’t it? We’re not doing this for our pleasure, but for His glory. So why don’t we ask him to help pay for it? In all reality he has all the resources anyway.
So join me in asking God for 2.3 million dollars. This is the first phase of our capital campaign. That’s the bill for building in Chuckatuck. Let’s be persistent in asking too. Jesus taught that the persistence leads to prayers being answered. So let us not give up of our faith in God. I know he has 2.3 million and I know he likes to bless his children. So let’s be like children and keep asking Him for it! Who knows, he may choose to grant our request.