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The Best Use of Our Grounds & Facilities

The Best Use of Our Grounds and Facilities – Expansion or Renovation?
 
Last summer the Planning & Development Committee began exploring the best use of our current facilities, and as part of that process, the P & D Committee presented the congregation with a three-phase plan that was discussed at a congregational meeting in the summer of 2021.  Phase One of that plan, which included relocating the mailboxes to the auditorium level, relocating and re-opening a scaled-back version of the cafe, and relocating the Main Office to a space just inside the Main Entrance has been completed.  All three of these changes have allowed us to use our space more wisely, and all three changes were completed with relatively minor expenses.  
 
Now that Phase 1 is complete, the Church Board would like to provide you with an update regarding finances that will allow us to continue moving forward with future improvements.
 
Our church sets aside funds every year for our Grounds and Maintenance Committee to use for various upgrades and improvements, however, the projects completed by Grounds and Maintenance tend to be minor in comparison to the size of our church complex.  One of the main sections of our church (The Chapel) is over 60 years old, and another section (gym/offices) is close to 30 years old, and as you can imagine, there are improvements-some minor, some major-that could and probably should be made in both of these spaces.  These renovations will be more expensive ventures and will cost more than we traditionally set aside for the G&M Committee.
 
In the past, our church has placed an emphasis on expansion/new building projects instead of improvement projects by encouraging congregation members to contribute to a building fund.  For a little background, Five Forks has had a Building Fund in place since 1959.  Over the past 60 years, contributions to the Building Fund have been used as down payments toward numerous expansion projects.  After each expansion project was paid off, our congregation would be encouraged to continue making contributions designated to the Building Fund so that money would be available for future expansion projects.  The most recent expansion project (which was the Auditorium and Children’s Wing) was paid off in January of 2017.  At the time of that expansion project, that goal was to continue raising money towards yet another expansion project:  A two-level addition built on the land that is currently the back courtyard.  The church envisioned this expansion consisting of a Student Ministries Center on the lower level, and a large, open gathering area tied into the Auditorium foyer on the upper level. 
 
Since 2017, however, many things have changed such as the overall size of the congregation, the expansion of online service viewing, and increased costs in construction.  Additionally, the outdoor courtyard area is a highly valued, well-used space by the Children and Student Ministries. The Pastoral Staff and Church Board now believe that rather than moving forward with another expansion project, it would be wiser and a better use of funds to begin exploring ways to improve our current space, which we believe will allow us to one day reach the original goals of a Student Ministry Center and a large, open gathering area.
 
Towards that end, the Church Board recently voted to begin placing greater emphasis on raising funds for major improvement projects rather than for major expansion projects.  There are specific steps that can be taken that will get this process started.
 
First, money that the church has received from renting the building/grounds or from undesignated memorial gifts has been going into the Building Fund.   Moving forward, money received in these two areas will begin going into a fund that will one day be used for major improvements to our church home; specifically, improvements that are beyond the scale of projects undertaken by our Grounds and Maintenance Committee.  Second, individuals may continue to designate contributions toward a future expansion product (Laying Bricks for Jesus).  However, moving forward we will be encouraging our church family to instead, make designated contributions that will go towards future Church Improvement/Renovation Projects.
 
The Planning & Development Committee, which consists of the Pastoral Staff, the Church Board, the Grounds and Maintenance Committee, and the Finance Committee, has met and will continue to meet with the goal of bringing into focus what we envision as the best use of our current facilities.  As these discussions come into focus, we will be sharing with you what we envision, in order to receive and weigh your input.
 
For now, we simply wanted to share with you what might seem like a small shift in where various contributions go, but we believe that by moving in this direction, we will be able to one day have a long-term home for Student Ministries, as well as a large gathering area, both at significantly less cost than what an expansion project would call for.
 
As always, be praying that those who sit on the Planning & Development Committee will seek God’s guidance so that any decisions that are made will be in line with His will.  He has been guiding us and showing us His favor, so let’s thank Him for that as we continue with our desire to know, love, and follow Jesus. 
 
-Five Forks Church Board