Questions & Answers
- What are the present challenges and our need?
The Lord is bringing many new people to Calvary Sawgrass. Our adult and children's attendance has more than doubled over the past few years and all of our weekend services are at or approaching maximum capacity. Our average weekly attendance (over 1,500+) is the highest in Calvary Sawgrass 20-year history and continues to grow. This past Easter we reached 3,500 people in a single service. Every area of ministry needs additional space, and our office, children and youth areas are in serious facility deficit already without factoring for any additional growth. We are inviting hurting and needy friends, and every week we are seeing lives being changed. There is a clear sense of momentum and excitement, and we need to be good stewards of the people and opportunities God is sending us now.
- How much property do we have to expand?
Right now CCS sits on 10 acres of prime property with only 1/2 developed. We are reaching our community, our world, and every generation for Christ, and we need to maximize the opportunities that God has given us and respond responsibly to this opportunity.
- How much will this cost?
The early professional estimates we have at this time tell us it will cost approximately 4 million dollars to complete our ministry expansion project and develop our 10 acres of land. This will max out our property and enable us to reach up to 5,000 people every weekend for Christ! Our current plan is to do this in a 3-year, 3-step process outlined in our "Steps of Faith" brochure. In our 20-year history as a church we have seen that we serve the God of the improbable and the impossible, and we would love to see God accelerate this time-table and make room for Him to miraculously provide and surprise us yet again.
What is the 3-year plan?
- Year One - Capital Campaign to raise $250,000 this year. As soon as funding allows, hopefully by January 2012, we will engage the services of one of several nationally recognized professional church design and architectural firms we have already researched. We will update our site plan, design every aspect of the expansion, and complete all construction and engineering plans for submission to the Town of Davie. We will report final design plans and details back to our congregation and obtain permitting and bids for every aspect of the construction.
- Year Two - Capital Campaign continues to raise $750,000 in year two or sooner if God helps accelerate the process. Complete all design, bidding and permitting issues. Obtain necessary financing to begin actual construction, hire contractors and purchase necessary materials.
- Year Three - Break ground and complete entire construction process in one to two years maximum. Dedicate new facility and move into our new 1,500 seat sanctuary, youth and children's center, classrooms and fully developed property and begin reaching up to 5,000 people each week for Christ locally and increase our capacity to reach even more of our world globally!
- Have you considered just staying the way we are? Is this worth it?
It all depends. If our mission is to be a church that's perfectly designed for the people who already attend, then we can just stay the way we are and we don't need to build. But if we want to continue to be a church that reaches our world for Christ, then yes, it is not only worth it… it is mission critical!
- Have you considered delaying? Why now? Why not wait?
We have. However, delaying or doing nothing will result in something: delaying the inevitable, resulting in less opportunity to minister to people and families who are coming now and eventually turning people away or just turning them off because of crowding issues. We believe that we have a spiritual obligation to respond to the opportunities that God is sending our way and begin the process of completing phase 2 of our overall site plan now, before it is too late.
- Have you considered the impact the economy has on our building plans?
That is a question that is on the mind of every one of our pastoral staff, and it is a major prayer point for us. We live in uncertain times, and we recognize that many people even in our own church are still struggling in this difficult season. Our church has operated on a much tighter budget for several years now, all of our staff has voluntarily accepted salary reductions, and we have taken the challenge of good stewardship very seriously as a church. This is also a reason why we have already waited two years to officially launch the start of our Phase 2 facility expansion project. Our need is clear, but the economy has caused us to approach this very carefully and cautiously.
However, we feel that the spiritual needs all around us and the clear calling God has given us outweigh the current challenges we face in our economy. We will undoubtedly miss a God-given opportunity to minister to more people by failing to fully develop our property and facilities.
We see the need to address the issue sooner rather than later for the following 5 reasons:
- When is it ever a convenient time for sacrificial giving? We do not take lightly the real financial challenges some people are facing, but we also dare not lose sight of eternity and the opportunities and priorities we are called to live by. People generally give to their priorities, both in good and challenging economic times. We feel this is a God-given, mission-critical priority.
- Starting now allows us the opportunity for an earlier completion date, which is on our hearts as we care for our church family and reach out to our community. It allows us to reach more people for Christ and for eternity sooner
- There are significant cost savings to building right now (i.e., 30% reduction in construction, material and costs).
- There is a strong possibility of hyper-inflation beginning sometime in the next two years. This is when certain markets try and recoup the steep price reductions they offered in the past and try to realign with their previous budgets, revenue needs and profit margins.
- There is an opportunity now to secure guaranteed pricing and protect the church against cost inflation.
- What is the church's current financial situation?
We provide an annual financial report every year and quarterly and periodic updates to our entire congregation. Our past financial reports are also always posted on our website. While the church has more than doubled over the past several years in attendance, average total giving has remained relatively the same. This is both good news and not so good news. It is good, because we have not had a major loss of income through the recession. We have broken even every year since 2008. Not so good, because we are reaching twice as many people and doing twice as much with far less.
We believe God is leading us now to challenge our congregation and ignite a church-wide spiritual revival to reach even more of our world for Christ!
- Have you considered adding more weekend services?
Yes, we have. In fact we had 5 weekend services in 2010 but chose to consolidate them into 3 in January 2011. We believe this is a valuable approach to handling church growth, but we found it to be a short-term solution that was not sustainable for the long-term. At present we are not convinced that this is a good solution for us for three reasons: 1) the rush to move people in and out quickly had a negative impact on our core value of fellowship and the ability of staff and leaders to spend time with church family between services, 2) it did not reduce the size and growth problems in our Sunday morning services because the vast majority of people still prefer Sunday mornings as the prime time for worship, and 3) the demands on volunteers and staff are very significant. In our experience and research, the churches who moved to many multiple weekend services found that it solved some problems, but it created some big new ones, and ultimately they needed to build. Therefore, adding additional weekend services again is an option we will continue to consider, but it is not our preferred option or ultimate solution.
- Have you considered church planting?
Yes, we have twice engaged in church planting; in Deltona, Florida and Providence, Rhode Island.
However, we do not believe church planting is the best response to the current situation. Our view is that church planting should be pursued based upon a philosophy and strategy to reach a particular region of our county, community or world. "Mother churches" still face attendance pressures since planting a church doesn't change the fundamental reasons why a church is growing. Therefore planting another church – a worthy pursuit – will not solve our present and future challenges. In addition, new church plants require significant funding and the ability to send and give away senior leadership, neither of which we are currently in a position to do. Church planting is something we are interested in philosophically, but not to address our present need.
- What about multi-site venues?
We do not believe this is a viable option for us at this time for several reasons: 1) multi-site venues require significant leadership development (e.g., worship leaders, pastoral oversight, youth and children's staff, volunteers), 2) For now, the typical design for satellite and off-campus video venues does not support our identity as a family and fellowship-oriented church, 3) there is a significant financial investment required for facility and audio/visual support, and 4) most churches consider launching multi-site campuses after they have fully developed and maxed out their existing property and facilities. We do not have a philosophical problem with multi-site venue options, but we do not believe this is the right next step for our church at this time.
- What is our best option?
Based on all the options considered and input from our Board and staff, we have prayerfully concluded that the best option to pursue is facility expansion.
- What will be the guiding philosophy behind facility expansion?
Any kind of facility expansion will be based on our governing values for growth. These were addressed in our "Steps of Faith" brochure and highlighted in Pastor Gary's "Steps of Faith" sermon series.
Our Governing Values for Growth:
- Making the most of what God has given us – we are committed to be the best stewards of the people, ministries, and resources that God has given us.
- Make a Big Church Small – we are committed to maintain our family identity as we connect people from the crowd to the core.
- Preserve Our Core DNA – we are committed to protect the unique and helpful distinctives that make Calvary Sawgrass who we are today.
- Flexibility in our Future – we are committed to plan and think in such a way that we allow God to define our future.
- Reach Our World for Christ – we are committed to increasing our capacity to relieve suffering in the name of Jesus on a global and local scale.
- How do we deal with growth without compromising our core DNA as a church?
That is a question that we all wrestle with deeply. Calvary Sawgrass is a special place and we want to be sure that we don't lose our core DNA as a church. Clarifying our vision, core values, and our strategy is all part of that process, but so is the management of growth. In other words, we have to work harder at helping a big church feel small and being very intentional in building relationship and making lots of room for fellowship and Small Groups.
- What effect would a facility expansion project have on our current commitment to missions and other ministries?
While we will need to focus on our vision to "Build the Future" and make some short-term sacrifices for some long-term gains, we will continue to remain deeply committed to all of our ongoing missions and ministries. We actually will increase our capacity to reach even more people locally and globally as a result of our facility expansion project. For example, when our church met in an elementary school with about 100 people, our annual giving to missions was about $3,500/year. When we expanded and moved to the warehouse (Baghdad), our church of about 400 people was able to commit about $35,000/year to missions. And now that we are in our own building on Flamingo Road, our church has been blessed to commit in excess of $200,000/year to missions. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches that "there is a time to gather and a time to scatter." Gathering our resources and people together now for a season of intense focus will allow us to scatter even more in the years ahead and increase our impact on our world for generations to come.
- What can the congregation do now?
First, we would ask that you pray for God's help and that we would all take a step of faith together as a church family. Please pray that this would be a unifying experience and a catalyst not only for our future growth, but the spiritual maturity and growth of our current church family. Pray that our entire congregation catches the vision and develops an unquenchable passion to reach our world for Christ. Pray also for wisdom and strength for our staff and leaders, and for everyone involved in the project.
Second, we invite you into the joy of giving for a cause that will outlive us all. The greatest cause on earth is the cause of reaching our world for Christ. We are asking every person in our church family to take a step of faith and make a financial commitment to this project, no matter how large or how small. Our goal is 100% participation.
We will have 3 Step of Faith offering weekends between now and Christmas.
- Conclusion of Steps of Faith Series, October 8th and 9th – On this weekend we will be receiving everyone's Commitment Cards expressing their intent to participate monthly in the Campaign. We will also receive our regular offering and invite everyone who would like to make a special one-time gift to help accelerate the time-table of the project.
- Thanksgiving Weekend - We will have a second Step of Faith offering weekend as we give thanks to God for His great blessings in our lives.
- Christmas Weekend – Our third and final Step of Faith offering for 2011. Our hope is that God surprises all of us, and we actually complete the year 1 Capital Campaign early and celebrate! This will allow us to accelerate our time-table and build even greater momentum and excitement as we reach our world for Christ.
Third, you can periodically check on our Web site (calvarysawgrass.org) for information and supporting documents. You can also submit any question or ideas there as well. We will send periodic updates via e-mail; to ensure you are receiving those updates, please subscribe to our e-mail updates.
As always, feel free to talk with any of our Pastor's if you have questions or concerns.