Mark begins his Gospel by describing the call of John the Baptist as the one who announced the coming of Christ by quoting the great prophet Isaiah writing, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” John the Baptist gave us a great example to follow in the way he helped to make the work of God possible. As a church, we have the same calling, to prepare the way for God to move in our church and our community. For nearly 70 years, our faithful members have done just that, and through this campaign, we are continuing that legacy!
Prepare the Way
Capital Campaign Case Statement
For nearly 70 years, Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church has been preaching the Gospel, raising new generations, and serving the needs of Northeast Dallas, Lake Highlands, and beyond! That has been made possible by the faithful devotion and generosity of our members. Their diligence has resulted in our church becoming debt-free this coming April! Generations of church members have laid the groundwork and prepared the way for God to move in this place for almost seven decades. We are deeply indebted to their faithfulness, vision, and generosity.
When the pandemic shut-down hit and then continued to impact our world far longer than we expected, many of our members grew anxious about what that would mean for our church’s future. While things looked bleak at first, God showed up. Over the past two years as we have restarted ministries, we’ve noticed remarkable momentum and excitement brewing in our church.
In the last two years we have:
- Posted our two largest stewardship campaigns on record.
- Ended last year thousands of dollars in the black after a year of unexpectedly high expenses.
- Birthed a new missional identity in our Feed5000 program.
- Seen our worship attendance rise back to near pre-pandemic levels.
These realities are not present in many other churches. God is truly doing something special here at Ridgewood Park. When our leadership began to look at all of these things together; our recent momentum, our completion of debt payments, and the reality that parts of our building need some long overdue maintenance; they began praying about where God is leading our church next.
Mark begins his Gospel by describing the call of John the Baptist as the one who announced the coming of Christ by quoting the great prophet Isaiah writing, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” John the Baptist gave us a great example to follow in the way he helped to make the work of God possible. As a church, we have the same calling, to prepare the way for God to move in our church and our community.
For generations, faithful members have done just that. Every week we get to study, worship, eat, play, and serve in this amazing church facility that is the realization of their vision and faithfulness. They have prepared the way for who and what our church is today and paid for it in full. Many of you are a part of that group of faithful disciples and we cannot thank you enough.
But the work of God is not done at Ridgewood Park simply because we are done paying for the buildings that we have, in fact we believe that God is just getting started here! We are doing something new, but in a way, we are simply continuing to respond to the call of Christ to prepare the way for God to move in our church and our community. While we don’t need any new buildings, our campus is due for some upgrades, enhancements, and maintenance. Our leadership is envisioning a $500,000 campaign to provide for the following upgrades:
- Deferred Maintenance (Approximately $325,000) Our HVAC systems across the church have exceeded their lifespan. This is especially concerning in our sanctuary where we have our largest and hardest to reach units. We also have major plumbing and parking lot repairs that must happen in the coming years.
- Music & Worship (Approximately $75,000) From replacing our disintegrating hymnals and choir robes to adding exciting technology and physical upgrades to our sanctuary, we have a lot of items in this area you will love!
- Children & Youth (Approximately $25,000) Increased nursery security and convenience for parents, youth room AV replacement, and the full update of our upstairs classrooms.
- General Building Upgrades (Approximately $75,000) Renovating outdated bathrooms and offices, improving our dumpster security and appearance, new monument sign by our parking lot entrance, and more!
We believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to dream about our future and invest in God’s work. We hope that you will prayerfully consider joining in this vision as together we prepare the way for God to continue changing lives in and through Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church.
How was the total goal for the campaign determined?
The goal was determined primarily based on the feasibility study that we conducted which combined metrics from our church finances with the feedback we received from the congregational survey. We believe this goal is within our reach, and if we hit it, we can run a debt-free campaign!
Why can't these items be done over time within the current budget?
There isn’t a category in our current budget for new capital projects and some of the maintenance work is simply too expensive to afford. The sanctuary HVAC replacement would cost half of our annual budget. Our annual maintenance budget currently comprises 4% of our annual budget.
How does the congregation feel about this?
The survey we conducted in February returned an overwhelming 98% support for this campaign and included projects. It also showed that the vast majority feel that our church is moving forward.
Will we take out loans?
This depends on the results of the campaign and how we go about financing the projects. We could take out interim financing so that we can have enough cash on hand to get this work started, and then repay it as the money comes in over the three-year period leaving us debt-free at the end of that time. We could take out loans and retain a small level of debt after the campaign payment period is complete. We could pay as we go to avoid loans altogether. These decisions will be made by our finance and executive teams when the time comes. However, we hope and expect that this will be a debt-free campaign.
What about our current debt payments?
On April 16th, we will celebrate being a debt-free church with a Burning of the Note Ceremony. The remaining money we have budgeted for debt payments will be contributed to this campaign after April.
What will happen if we exceed our goal?
We will build a water park out back! Just kidding… There are extra projects that didn’t make the final list, we could dream of other projects, or we could increase our Trustee Contingency Fund that pays for large and unexpected maintenance. We have several options in the event that we surpass our goal.
What will happen if we don’t hit our goal?
There is some padding built into these cost estimates, so our projects might cost less the full $500,000. Also, we could reduce the number of projects that we do, or we could take out a loan.
How long will I have to payout my commitment?
This will be a 3-year campaign, so you will have until the summer of 2026 to fulfill your commitment.
When will all of this work happen?
The work will be completed over the next 1-3 years.
Will worship be disrupted when we replace the Sanctuary HVAC?
It will depend on where we can create an access point and how long it takes to replace the system. While we are hoping to avoid any disruption to worship, we might have to relocate for a short time.
How can I help raise money or work on implementing these projects?
Speak to Pastor Alex or Tom & Deb Pendleton if you have an interest in working on this campaign. Talk to Deanna Williams (Chair of Trustees) if you would like to help with the implementation of the work.
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