Q: What commitment you are hoping to get from people and leaders throughout the church?
A: We’ve met with some people, and we’ve had a few events where we are asking the leaders of the church to lead in making a commitment. We are asking our leaders to lead in the giving, so that we can show the congregation that the leaders are stepping up. It would be great to see half of the Beyond amount pledged right away, but we’re trusting that God will lead people.
Q: How does the church's current debt factor into the campaign?
A: Reducing debt doesn’t always free up operating funds, because a mortgage payment needs to be made each month regardless of how much extra is paid toward it. However, we are trying to pay off the land out front that we purchased. This is separate from the mortgage and it will free up funds that we can use toward ministry.
Q: Are you looking for people to make a 3-year commitment or a one-time donation? Can money be designated to certain areas?
A: We are looking for people to share the vision and partner with the church by pledging an amount over the next three years which would be above and beyond their regular tithes and offerings. We’d ask that people NOT designate their giving, trusting—it takes trust—that the Board and church leadership will use the funds wisely and where it is most needed.
Q: My work will match a pre-tax donation to charitable organizations. This church is on the list.
A: Many employers will match your charitable gift. If you have questions about how to make this happen, you can feel free to call the church office or speak with your employer.
Q: I've received a few commitment cards and so has my spouse. Should we each fill one out?
A: The commitment cards been given out a few times in the last six weeks, but you only need to fill out one card per household. If you and your spouse give separately, you are welcome to make separate pledges. If a teen or child in your household wants to make a pledge or give a one-time donation, they are welcome to fill out a separate card.
Q: How do I make sure my Beyond contributions are added to the initiative's funds?
A: Here’s what you need to know:
- When making Beyond contributions online: Choose the fund named BEYOND.
- When making Beyond contributions with cash: Provide your name and address, and write BEYOND on the envelope each time you make a pledge installment.
- When making Beyond contributions with online banking or personal checks: Include BEYOND on the check memo line each time you make a pledge installment. If you’d like to split a contribution between funds, include the designated amount for each fund. For example, a $100 contribution designating $75 to GENERAL FUND and $25 to BEYOND.
- NOTE: Beyond contributions will not be added to the initiative’s funds if BEYOND is not included on each pledge installment of your contribution.
Q: How do I make sure my commitment is accurately added as a pledge for giving statement purposes?
A: Complete both sides of the Beyond commitment card. Your name, address and contact information are all necessary to properly log your commitment. You can also submit your pledge online.
Q: What are the specifics about the areas that are being proposed for the youth?
A: We want to be the kind of church where student love to come. There are three main areas that we’d like to specifically address for our youth:
- Redecorate the upper kids’ floor, as was done with the lower floor.
- Remodel the gym to change it into classrooms, meeting/gathering space, and into a youth center. This area would include a place for games, studying, resources for students, a coffee shop. We’ll have proposed designs available soon, which we will share with the congregation. As our spaces are now, there’s not enough room for our groups to meet unless they use the gym, and that space isn’t the best space for groups to meet.
- The land out front would be transformed into some kind of field, which could be used for soccer, flag football and recreation. We also want to install some basketball courts in the parking area. These spaces would be for our youth and students, and could even be used by the community.
Q: You mentioned soccer, and basketball...are there other plans for the lot we purchased out front?
A: We felt we needed to jump on that property because it would inhibit our growth without a second exit/entrance. Whatever we do to develop that land as a field, it will help toward the future if we decided to put a building on it (drainage, surfacing, etc.) at some point. For now, though, we see it being planned as a soccer, flag football or recreational field.
Q: How does fixing our sound system and decorating our kids areas help us to be a city on a hill?
A: Fixing the environments helps us to be more welcoming.
- The sound equipment is more than 10 years old, and it is maxed out. Our tech and sound people do the best they can with what they have to work with, but we’ve had to remove effects to keep it from crashing. Some of you have probably been here when it has crashed. This makes the high and low tones sound harsh, and people complaining about it being loud. The loudness is not the issue; it’s the harshness of having to remove the effects.
- We also want to open up the possibilities of our church having a greater online presence. That’s not possible with the equipment we have now. We’d need updated sound and camera equipment.
- We want to be able to plant new churches. The Fairmont church (South Ridge Church) is expanding to the Bridgeport/Clarksburg area with a video venue. This option opens up the possibility of new church campuses without having to have a campus pastor who preps a message each week for each church.
- We need new carpet in the lobby. It, too, is over 10 years old, and it is beyond being able to repair. We’d like to update the lobby with new furniture, and sell or re-purpose the furniture that is there now.
- It’s our objective to increase the quality of everything we are doing and maximize each of our environments so that it helps people take next steps. Next steps change lives.
Q: With children’s ministry as it is currently, if it weren’t for the Beyond campaign, what would be the state of that ministry? With staff shortages, is the future of kids ministry secure without Beyond?
A: Those hires are a part of our regular budget. This money is now available for the future hires, and we are working on filling those positions. In terms of the church, there are different ways to measure success: Is the church growing? Are people giving? So far this year, the giving is up 3 percent from last year, and our attendance is up 5 percent. The church grew last year, and it is growing this year as well. The campaign is more about expanding those environments to meet the needs of our church, growth, future growth and community.
Q: Will you be hiring more staff through this? Will they be paid for out of the money raised? Or will you rely on volunteers?
A: Yes, as we are in need of more staff, especially in the youth and community areas. We have far fewer on staff as compared to other churches our size. It would be our desire to budget-in more hires by freeing up some of the other needs, expenses and debt. Volunteers are always appreciated and needed to help us do the ministry of the church.
Q: Only $150,000 is designated in Beyond for community outreach...What is your vision for outreach? Is it your desire that we’d partner with existing organizations or start our own? Why is outreach the smallest of the amounts?
A: For Beyond, $150,000 has been specifically designated to partner with other ministries that are already out there doing a great job at what they are doing. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel by starting new ministries, when we can partner with others who are already making a difference. We want to be a church who is helping others, and we hope to be a church who is able to give and support many people and partnerships in many ways. The campaign is all about ministry. Every bit of the money raised with help us to reach out and do ministry. There are huge opportunities that can come from this, and, ultimately, everything is about reaching out in ministry, not just the $150,000 we’d like to give toward outreach.
Q: Have you thought about affiliation with FCA?
A: We already do financially support Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the university and the high schools. There are some groups and ministries doing things very well, and we want to bless those who are already meeting the needs of our community.
Q: Are you open for ideas for this Beyond campaign? Is there a place to share these ideas that we might have? Is there a think tank set up?
A: We are open to ideas, but we do have some in mind already. We’ve been talking about a lot of this with the Board and staff for about a year or so. If you have specific ideas, please feel free to talk about them with one of the Board members or church leaders.
Q: Is this Q & A a place to discuss ideas? Have you thought of silent auctions or other fundraisers?
A: We are trying to raise funds to carry out the mission and vision of the church. We’ve not planned other fundraisers, as we’ve found that when approaching the congregation to let them know our vision and mission, people will come alongside us as the church to make a difference.Organizing a variety of other fundraisers takes a lot of energy and resources, and we’ve found that the time, energy, expenses and efforts often outweigh the resources that are realized from it.
Q: There are a lot of people who attend this church who are not from West Virginia. Will the outreach stop at the border of WV? Or, will the outreach continue into Pennsylvania and Maryland, too?
A: The needs in this state are excessive, but a big part of our plan is to impact the tri-state region—West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. It’s our desire to be advancing Christ’s kingdom all around us, and we do realize that also means Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Q: We’ve heard a lot about plans for this building and property, but we also have heard that Beyond is about reaching out into the state. There is a need for healthy, well-intentioned foster parents? This might be a need that the church could address. Would the church be willing to do something about making a difference in this area for the sake of West Virginia?
A: That is a very specific need, and the needs of this state are overwhelming. We have to ask the questions about how we would be able to do this in a way that makes opportunities available. We’d be willing to look at this or consider supporting what is already being done in the state. We get approached by so many organizations with needs…by those needing help or a platform for their need or voice to be heard. There are so many needs, so we are interested a holistic way of approaching strategic partnerships with groups in the community…to inform the congregation without overwhelming the congregation.
Q: Why are there no crosses in the building?
A: There are crosses all over the building, and if you look closely, you will see them; they are just more discreet—look at the windows when you leave. The “bell tower” is a cross. The reason we chose not to put crosses in the auditorium is because we wanted to be able to serve the community without coming across as overly religious. This is a neutral environment —the auditorium—not necessarily a church sanctuary. It’s an open facility for us to be able to use in a variety of ways. We love the cross and appreciate all that it means, but we don’t feel that putting it everywhere in the building makes us a more worshipful church. The church is the people; this is a building to be used by the people.