Frequently Asked Questions

Seaforth Baptist Church – Renovation Fundraising 2015-6

click here for a PDF version of these FAQs

What is going on?

Our desire is to further establish SBC as an important place of renewal and restoration within the community, to build on the legacy that previous generations have left us, and to fully cooperate with the work that the Spirit of God is doing in our midst.

Why now?

The church has been, in some places, in a serious state of disrepair for many, many years. It’s now reached a point where we not only need to conduct repairs to fix those faults, but to modernise and enhance the appearance of the building, both inside and out, to tell our local community that ‘we care’ about our presence here. We also need to create greater accessibility for persons with disabilities, and to address the growing needs of families in the area.

What’s happened so far?

For the past 12 months or so the church has been thinking about how we engage with our community, both now and in the future, as we share the message of Jesus’ gospel. A design taskforce was established to determine how to best use our existing infrastructure, consider renovation options and think about how we might fund any changes.

Who’s been involved?

We’re blessed to have Doug Sewell, a leading Sydney architect, and Karina Knox as members of our congregation. Doug & Karina, together with a few others, have generously donated their skills to develop plans that will deliver on our desire to improve accessibility, modernize our spaces, and create that feeling of a community of faith that is a “light on the hill”. Doug and others on the design team created a vision for us to consider, including the enhancement of the exterior of the building, landscaping, providing ceiling fans and improved heating and lighting, more storage, upgraded toilets, new furniture, reconfiguration of the internal space, and improved access for disabled persons.

What do those plans mean in terms of cost?

Doug has a lot of expertise and his initial estimates suggested somewhere in the vicinity of $250,000 (plus GST). This was shared at the 8th March Church Conference and at a special church conference on March 25th.

So then what happened?

At the instruction of the Conference, a funding taskforce was established (Paul Jaques, Susan Milne, Kim Randle, Cathy Wright, David Clark). Its remit was to consider options, including loans, and to recommend financial strategies to fund the proposed SBC building upgrade project. The proposal was submitted to the church for discussion at the June conference.

What’s the essence of the taskforce findings?

The taskforce submitted that a minimum of $100,000 be raised from church members through direct donations either now or a pledge to give on future dates.  The remaining funds would be sought from interest free loans from members and commercial sources.   Any possible government grants would be applied for.

But why then are we aiming for $250,000?

Ideally we would like to see all of the $250,000 raised directly from the church members. Raising this amount allows us to proceed with all the works as one project without the need to obtain loan funds which may impact the future mission direction of the church.

What happens after the money is raised?

Once the funds are raised, we will need construction drawings and approvals, followed by builders’ quotes and contract before construction – approximately 12 months from start to finish.

What happens if we don’t raise the $250,000?

We are targeting end of 2015 to raise this amount with funds in bank.  If a minimum of $100,000 in donations and pledges is raised then the remaining funds for the project would need to be obtained from members’ interest free loans or commercial loans.

Several members of the funding taskforce met with our current bankers CBA, as well as Baptist Financial Services (BFS). There is a strong preference to align with BFS as they have a deep understanding of how churches run, and an expertise in providing funding and advice for situations such as ours. This would require us to move our banking away from CBA to BFS, which the leadership is giving due consideration.

Are there any other options then?

The taskforce did consider multiple options but frankly most were not worth pursuing for reasons of complexity. Please refer to the taskforce findings paper for details.

What happens if the building quotes are in excess of the $250,000 cost estimate?

Any decision on whether to devote additional funds to the project would be subject to approval by Church Conference based on a recommendation from the Leadership.  We would expect that any significant departure from the current cost estimate would result in a scaling back of the project based on members’ priorities expressed in the responses to the surveys undertaken by the Building Upgrade Design Team in March.

OK, that helps. So how can I get involved?

  1. Pray! Above all, please go before God. This is something that will require each and every person to have given much thought and prayer before committing. For many of us, this will be sacrificial giving perhaps on a scale as never before.
  2. Talk! Talk to your family, church friends, church leaders….people you know and trust – knowing how others are thinking might give you a different perspective to how you see things today.
  3. Act! There is no time like the present. Why delay? If you see this as your church home, a place that you want to see others come to know and grow in the love of Jesus, then do something about it.

Nice. But what are the mechanics and options?

Fair question!

  1. Give – this is as simple as it gets. There is no lower or upper limit. You can do this now by simply depositing funds into the SBC church account and notating “building fund” in the comments section. Done! The SBC church account is CBA Seaforth, BSB 062-251, account number 00901638.
  2. Pledge – As soon as you can over the four weeks of the campaign. You may need time to get finances in order to give, but by pledging we know if we’re on track to hit the target. You can give any time after you’ve pledged.

Who will know what I donate or pledge?

Due to the confidential nature of giving, only two key people will have access to this information – the treasurer and the bookkeeper.

If I commit to pledge, but I change my mind – what happens?

We hope this never does happen, and it’s why we’re asking you to make your first port of call with this decision to be prayer. But if it does please give it strong consideration, as it will likely have significant implications to the plans and budget. You’d need to discuss with the treasurer and church secretary.

How will I know what progress is being made?

There will be regular updates each week in the church bulletin, on the church Facebook page, and signs around the church showing how we’re doing. During the campaign period of four weeks, a weekly update will be provided at both services.

What if I don’t want to give anything?

That is entirely up to you. No one will be made to feel guilty if they don’t want to or simply can’t give.  But please remember even the smallest amount will make a difference. Everyone will need to sacrifice something for this to happen. Be praying constantly, ask God to challenge you and reveal His will for you in this.

Where can I find more information?

For anything related to the plans themselves, please talk to Doug Sewell doug.sewell@tpg.com.au . For questions related to fundraising, please contact either Kieren Strain kierenstrain@me.com or Cathy Wright sbc.office2092@gmail.com.