WHY DOES THE CHURCH NEED TO PURSUE A PROJECT LIKE THIS?
There are two primary factors driving our plan to develop our campus.
Ministry Values: Because we value children being able to both worship with their families and participate in age-appropriate small groups of their own, this necessitates the provision of on-campus small group space for children, as well as some portion for our adults. And, because we value connecting with others through meaningful community, we desire to provide space that fosters fellowship and creates an environment of hospitality.
Facility Needs: The modulars outside our main building, the exterior wall of our lobby, and our front parking lot were all intended to be temporary. After many years, they have long outlasted their expected lifetimes. Additionally, we lack space in our main building for fellowship and community. We also have a growing list of deferred maintenance items that need to be addressed.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROCESS TO THIS POINT?
The broader discussion of addressing our facility needs began with our Administrative Elder Team three years ago. Specific work related to this project began about two-and-a-half years ago. In the fall of 2016, the elders approved the formation of a team that would begin exploring options to address some of our most pressing facility needs. This team consisted of various ministry leaders who visited a variety of churches in metro-Atlanta and Birmingham to get an idea of how others were effectively and efficiently developing their campuses for ministry. Brook Hills also engaged the Live Design Group, the architectural firm that developed the design and plans for our current campus, to help us think through possibilities and develop potential concepts.
Once we estimated costs on an initial conceptual design, our elders determined that the cost proved too high. From there, church leaders spent several months exploring different alternative solutions and eventually landed on a new plan, which then began to be presented early last Fall for consideration by the faith family. As part of our budget process for 2019, a formal campus development recommendation was presented, considered, and then voted on in late 2018. On Sunday, December 2, 92% of members present voted to affirm the following Campus Development Recommendation presented by our Elder Council.
WHAT WAS THE CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT RECOMMENDATION THAT WAS AFFIRMED?
The recommendation read as follows:
The Elder Council recommends that The Church at Brook Hills proceed with the development and execution of plans for a campus development project consistent with presentations made to the church in the Fall of 2018. Included with this recommendation are the following:
That the project include the construction of permanent ministries space for children and adults; a permanent and expanded main lobby and commons area; and a permanent parking lot adjacent to the main lobby, including all related site-work.
That the project also include the completion of various deferred maintenance items and other improvements to the existing facility.
That the church authorize up to $14 million to fund this project, with a limit of $9 million for the amount that may be financed.
- That the church authorize the Stewardship Ministry Team and Administrative Elder Team to secure appropriate financing under fair and favorable terms.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THIS PROJECT?
The proposed project will include the construction of...
Permanent ministries space for children and adults
- The current footprint of our modular complex is 26,000 sf.
- The proposed two-story building would be approximately 27,000 sf.
- The preliminary cost estimate for this space is $4,500,000.
A permanent and expanded main lobby and commons area
- The current footprint of these spaces is approximately 11,600 sf.
- The proposed lobby and commons area would be approximately 20,000 sf.
- The preliminary cost estimate for this space is $4,000,000.
A permanent parking lot adjacent to the main lobby, including all related site-work
- The current temporary parking lot has 269 spaces.
- The proposed parking lot is projected to have approximately 267 spaces.
- The preliminary cost estimate for this part of the project is $1,500,000.
Some of the other expenses associated with construction are...
- Architectural fees
- Engineering fees
- Tap, sewer impact, and utility fees
- Materials testing
- Fixtures, furnishings, and equipment
- Removal and disposal of modular buildings
- A contingency allowance of 5%
- A preliminary projection for these types of expenses is approximately $2,235,000.
Additionally, some of the the deferred maintenance items and improvements currently under consideration to be included with this project are:
- An update and repurposing of the 3rd floor for adult small groups
- An update and refreshing of the 1st floor Preschool Ministry area, including security enhancements
- Improvements to the preschool playground
- A new roof on the existing facility
- Replacement of the fire alarm panel in the main building
- Upgraded HVAC controls throughout our existing facility
- New carpet in the worship room
- A preliminary projection for these items is approximately $1,265,000.
HOW MUCH WILL THIS PROJECT COST?
There is still some essential work to be done (i.e. detailed drawings and construction plans) before we can know what final costs will be. However, our current preliminary estimates put the cost between $12-14 million.
HOW WILL WE PAY FOR THIS PROJECT?
The Elder Council and Stewardship Ministry Team have developed a three-fold approach to funding the project.
- Available Undesignated Cash: Your generous giving and our staff and elder’s good fiscal stewardship has resulted in us ending each year receiving more funds than we spend. This means we have a savings of available undesignated funds. Even while still retaining a healthy cash reserve, we believe we could have $3.5 million (or more) available by the project’s completion.
- Church Budget: By God’s grace, we were able to pay off all of our prior debt this past summer. Moving into 2019, we would like to keep approximately 10% of our general budget allocated for campus development and debt management. We believe this would allow us to finance over half the cost of the project, if needed, with reasonable borrowing terms.
- Additional Gifts: Our desire is for every member of Brook Hills to prioritize giving faithfully to our general church budget and sacrificially to our Global Offering. Beyond these two priorities, we would like to ask our faith family to consider if/how God might lead you to make a special investment in our church’s campus. We prayerfully anticipate that some will make an early contribution in 2018, while others may look to do so in 2019 or 2020, as the project progresses. These additional special gifts will directly impact the amount that will need to be financed and/or the length of the borrowing term.
WHY WOULD WE CONSIDER TAKING ON DEBT TO PARTIALLY FUND THIS PROJECT?
Several factors have contributed to our willingness to borrow wisely and responsibly to finance a portion of this project.
- By God’s grace, we have arrived at a place where all prior debt has been paid off.
- We have a general budget that is already structured to accommodate a conservative percentage (10%) of debt service. As a result, there is a good plan in place to make debt service payments without adversely affecting our other ministries.
- We have a substantial “down payment” of available cash to put toward the project (likely more than 25% of the cost of the project).
- Our healthy financial position as a church should allow us to receive the most favorable borrowing terms from banks.
- We will be borrowing to fund an appreciable asset, which will ultimately increase the value of the church’s property.
- We are committed to paying off our debt early, if/as resources become available.
- The amount that is received in additional gifts toward this project will be proportionate to the amount financed and/or the length of the borrowing term.
- We believe the ministry value of building this space sooner rather than later is greater than the monetary cost to finance.
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT OUR BUDGET?
As far as funding this project is concerned, our goal is for it to not impact our budget in any significant way. We will simply maintain our current line-item for debt service.
At the completion of this project, we do anticipate some impact related to increased utility costs and facilities management due to the increase in square footage. The impact will be somewhat limited, as we have already been maintaining the modular buildings, as well as our current lobby.
WHAT WILL WE DO IF WE RAISE MORE MONEY THAN WE EXPECT?
First of all, we will obviously praise God for His provision and thank Him for your generosity. More specifically, we do not anticipate a generous provision of funds to change the scope of the project, but rather it will reduce the amount that will have to be financed and/or shorten the borrowing term.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS AND TIMELINE MOVING FORWARD?
While a great deal of work has gone into getting us to this point, there is still much to be done. With so much work yet to do, it is difficult to say with certainty what will happen when. However, a general overview of the project timeline could look like the following:
January-May 2019 – Prayer and Planning
We will spend additional time as a faith family praying for this project, considering if/how the Lord may be leading us to support the project, and making plans for ministry adjustments that may be needed during the construction phase.
Summer 2019 – Construction Begins
Summer/Fall 2020 – Construction Complete/New Buildings Open for Use
HOW WILL MINISTRIES BE AFFECTED DURING THE PROCESS?
We're still a little while away from having firm construction plans and timeline. However, we are diligently working to prepare accomodations for what this transition period will require. Our desire is to limit the impact as much as possible, especially when it comes to Wednesday night ministries and Sunday gatherings. However, this process will require some measure of flexibility and compromise from each of us.
More specifically, the greatest impact will likely occur with the removal of of the modulars outside our main building. These will most likely be removed sometime in June. This will affect primarily adult small groups as well as some groups that meet throughout the week. When possible, we will accommodate these groups with other space on campus. However, we will also need to explore some alternate solutions. John Butterfield and Jay Gordon are currently thinking through those considerations and will work with small group leaders once we know more.
HOW WILL PRESCHOOL MINISTRY BE HELPED?
Though a new space for Preschool ministry is not in the current plan, we are confident we can significantly enhance our ministry to families with preschoolers. We have already begun making some cosmetic improvements and changes to our current preschool area and will continue to do so. Additionally, we plan to renovate the playground areas, including a shade cover that will make it more useful during the warm weather months. We also anticipate being able to improve security in the preschool areas with the addition of new parking and entrances to our main building. This will allow us to restrict hallway access as we redirect the traffic flow on Sundays and Wednesdays.
HOW WILL WE USE THE FELLOWSHIP (CAFÉ) AREA?
The proposed cafe/fellowship area will provide us with a new and improved environment for practicing hospitality on our campus. It will include a serving area for food/drinks and also provide a casual seating area for people to gather both informally and for organized ministry events. The space adjacent to this area is designed such that a mid-sized meeting room, smaller breakout classrooms, and a set of bathrooms are all in close proximity, This combination will allow for a wide variety of ministry uses. There is no current plan for this space to operate as a working “cafe.”
HOW WILL WE CONTINUE TO PRIORITIZE MISSION?
Over these many months of discussion, planning, and prayer, our elders have remained intent on preserving our commitment as a church to mission. We will continue to prioritize mission in many of the same ways we currently do. We will continue to call members to give sacrificially, over and above their regular tithes and offering, to our annual Global Offering. In addition, we will continue to send members on Short-Term, Mid-Term, and Long-Term mission, and also challenge them to engage locally through initiatives like Rock the Block and Love Oliver. In fact, our hope and prayer, is that this project will help us solidify a healthy base for ministry here so that our work might ultimately become stronger there.
HOW WILL WE ADDRESS OUR SPACE NEEDS IF WE GROW?
We don’t want to be presumptive regarding any future growth that the church might experience. However, our prayer is certainly for the Lord to add to our number those He is saving here at Brook Hills, in our city, and around the world.
While the proposed project does allow for some degree of growth, we wanted to be careful not to over-build or unwisely outpace our financial capacity. There are various ways to address the challenges that come with growth we may experience, such as increasing the number of sessions or gatherings, schedule adjustments, multiple uses of space, and sending out members to help plant churches here in our city.
If, in the future, it is determined that additional space is needed on our campus, our elders will lead us to consider how we might best address those needs at that time.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THIS PROJECT?
- Pray for our elders and staff as they begin the work related to this project.
- Pray for our body to be unified around our call to love Jesus, grow in Jesus, and make disciples of Jesus in Birmingham and among the nations.
- Pray for God’s provision of resources.
- Remain connected to the life and ministry of Brook Hills.
- Find a place to serve and invest during this unique season in the life of our church.
- Be flexible and adaptable during the construction process.
- Give faithfully and generously to the church’s general budget.
- Give sacrificially to the Brook Hills Global Offering.
- Give additionally to invest in the development of our church campus.
For more information on giving, visit brookhills.org/give.