New Providence Presbyterian Church - Maryville, TN
Monday, April 24, 2017
I love a good fire. Not a natural gas or propane fire, but an honest to goodness popping, crackling, smoking fire. I have two racks of East Tennessee’s finest oak stacked in my backyard waiting to fight off winter’s chill. I don’t even mind cleaning up the ashes and soot in the fireplace or the smoke smell on my clothes after sitting around a campfire.
One of my favorite events at New Providence has become the Ash Wednesday burning of the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. We use the ashes from that fire to remind us from where we came and where we all end up. I’m imagining another fire ritual at New Providence: burning our mortgage. During the month of November, you’ll be hearing a lot about this possibility. We’re starting our third capital campaign to retire our debt, and we’re calling it Live the Vision.
Live the Vision is not just about eliminating the church’s debt, it’s also about renewing our focus on what happens in the space we’ve created. The Share the Vision campaign raised the money to lay the groundwork for what we wanted our church to become. The Follow the Vision campaign continued that work, allowing us to build our larger, more functional meeting space that is home from everything to quilting shows to the
Welcome Table. It also paid for a new roof, sound and lighting improvements in our sanctuary, and more classroom space for our youth and other groups.
These previous campaigns also allowed us to have a capital campaign fund that is being used to pay our monthly mortgage payment. When this fund is exhausted, our monthly loan payment will have to be paid out of our normal operating budget. That would be a $175,000 annual hit to our budget that would have to be made up by cuts or increased giving. It also means we could have the possibility of someone standing before the congregation every Sunday saying, “We need another $5,000 today in order to meet Monday’s payment.”
The good news is that we have 18 months of payments saved. This means your contribution to the Live the Vision campaign will go directly to reducing the principal balance of the loan, not bank interest. As an example, a $100,000 principal reduction saves $139,454 in interest on our original loan amount. Our Congregational Survey showed how important eliminating our debt is to most of you. This is your opportunity to make that happen, but it can also lay the groundwork for the future.
What if we are able to raise more than we need to pay off the debt? We could make plans for renovating our children’s ministry areas, or add to our reserve maintenance fund, or renovate the rest of our building, or create ministries we haven’t even thought of yet. Please prayerfully consider your pledge to the Live the Vision campaign. I look forward to seeing what God will do through our congregation, and I look forward to standing around our mortgage burning fire celebration with you!
Peace in Christ, Andy Luttrell,
Live the Vision Co-Chair