Just recently, in our December called church business meeting, the members of our church unanimously voted to approve next year’s Ministry Investment Plan (budget) which included an exciting new incentive: the 2013 Freedom Plan.
The Freedom Plan is an aggressive debt-retirement approach that will make us debt free in , you guessed it, 2013.
It is a simple but sure-fire plan that takes current budgeted money and temporarily reallocates it to rapidly retire our mammoth debt ($472,000) in a record amount of time.
We did not choose for our building to originally fall and cause this great debt. But we CAN choose to pay off this great debt and get back to ministering at our full potential.
Having thought about our debt for many years now, I must say that, for the first time, I am…
…truly excited about the financial future of our church. As we honor God’s biblical principles to getting out of debt as soon as possible, God will honor our faith-steps forward that honor, believe and obey His word.
For those that missed Wednesday night’s meeting, I want to highlight some of the tremendous advantages of this plan. Clearly, you will see that our church made the right decision. The Freedom Plan is a biblically prudent and fiscally responsible plan that is right for us and is right for now.
No Fund-Raising & No Extra Money Required
One reason the Stewardship Committee zeroed in on this plan (as opposed to others) was that it is completely budget-contained. There is no fundraising. There is no campaign. There is no extra money involved. In fact, our church budget could remain exactly the same for the next few years and we will still be debt free. We simply need to maintain our current giving patterns to do this.
It ‘s the most “painless” way to get out of debt without any extra burden on our membership.
All Current Week to Week Ministries Will Continue
While the plan is a budget reallocation, none of the money is coming from week to week church ministries. All of our ministries, such as nursery, children, youth, Sunday School and music, will continue exactly as they have been. The weekly culture of our church will not change one bit. That’s a great advantage of the 2013 Plan. We can pay off our debt as fast as possible while continuing the ministries of our church at the same strength – that’s a win-win plan in my book.
Debt Retired in 2013 instead of 2021.
One of the biggest advantages is the time this plan saves. There are 11 years left on our original note. 11 years!! That means I will be 40 years old when our bank obligations are met. (I know that, for most of you, 40 isn’t old…but for those of us in our 20’s, it sure feels old.)
11 years is too long for us to wait for financial freedom. 11 years is too long for us to be so limited in extra ministries and missions. 2021 is too long to wait. But the Freedom Plan gets us out of debt in 2013! Furthermore, as we get closer and closer to the goal, the momentum of the 2013 Plan may very well encourage extra gifts for paying it off even sooner. You do the math…2021 or 2013? I’ll take 2013 any day of the week.
Avoid Wasting Interest, Generate Expendable Income
One more tremendous advantage of the Freedom Plan is the amount of interest we will save. If we pay off the debt 8 years early, we will save $119,000! I think all of us would prefer to give that money to missions or ministry than to Bank of America (no offense, Bank of America). Additionally, paying off the debt early will free up nearly $100,000 a year in expendable income (that’s what we currently pay each year on our loan).
What can we do with an extra $100,000 a year? We can support the Cooperative Program more, provide more missions scholarships, buy new vans, save for future buildings, or even hire additional staff. No one in their right mind would want to wait 11 years to do those things. We need to do them sooner rather than later. With the 2013 Freedom Plan we will do just that!
Debt Plan + Good Spirit = Church Victory!
I must also say that one of the biggest victories of the night was the tremendous spirit and attitude of those in attendance. There was plenty of discussion (as there should have been) but there was also plenty of grace, respect, passion, and humility shown by all. For some churches, big decisions like this turn into a civil war. But not here. I have never been prouder as a pastor than to hear such a big decision being discussed and decided upon in such a Philippians 2 way. Furthermore, the amendment that was added, I think, even better reflects the heart of our church both pay off this debt while seeking to maintain our other priorities as much as possible. I’m thankful for that kind of dual passion in our church.
We may not have all been here when the church debt started, but with the 2013 Freedom Plan, we can all be here when it ends! As we continue to faithfully and sacrificially give to the general budget of FBC, we will be finally free from debt and finally free to minister for the glory of Jesus Christ and for the sake of the Great Commission.