Friday, June 18, 2021

Should a church borrow money?

Some churches are totally against going into debt. They will cite Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

On the other hand, in the parable of the talents, the master praises the two servants who had invested his money, while rebuking the unfaithful servant who buried his allotment. “You ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest” (Matthew 25:27).

Sometimes, loans are needed for a church to continue or expand its mission. When our air conditioning system failed, we learned that it would cost $300,000 to replace the broken parts. The decision to secure a loan was easier to make because Baptist Temple had begun to reverse its decline. The building was being used daily and our forecasted income would cover the loan.

The Baptist Church Loan Corporation (BCLC) granted us the loan based on their understanding of the history our church and our prospects for the future. BCLC is a ministry of Texas Baptists with whom we are affiliated. Their ministry focused calculations are different than a bank’s, but they can only loan money when there is a reasonable chance of repayment.

Without this loan that three story building would have been unusable. Too many urban churches fall into disrepair because of deferred maintenance. However, mission must come first. If a church is on mission for the gospel, God will supply the needed resources. In fact, this loan was paid off early thanks to an unexpected financial blessing.

We secured a second loan based on capital campaign pledges. Members and friends of Baptist Temple pledged a certain amount over a three-year period for the replacement of our roof systems and other needed repairs. The loan (again, from BCLC) allowed us to get to work right away; before we experienced any more rain damage. The generosity of our folks was extended for a few more years and we have reached the end of that obligation.

A third loan was secured to replace all of our existing lighting with more energy efficient fixtures. While the matter was less urgent, we needed to act in order to take advantage of a CPS grant. The loan will be paid from the savings on our energy bill.

Loans should not be sought for foolish reasons but, if it is clear that the church’s mission can be expanded or sustained, then a loan is a sound ministry strategy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Baptist Temple sets fast pace for summer

Summer has reached the Baptist Temple Campus. Jubilee Academy is out for the summer but things have not quieted down. Care Warriors have begun their summer program to help young people with developmental disabilities build life skills that lead to greater independence. The program includes music and crafts and working at the thrift store. During the summer, the thrift store will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays and run by Care Warriors. Our usual Tuesday/Thursday schedule will also be maintained.

Our Early Learning Center is hopping as well with 110 enrolled. Summer day camp has filled in the gap created by the end of after school care.

Crosspointe Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps people reintegrate into society, was here on the first Saturday of June, moving a large mound of mulch into the community garden. The mulch is a beautiful way to suppress the weeds on the pathways. A crew of BT folks cut down the dead citrus trees around our Long Mission House. The trees were victims of the recent freeze.

A mission team from First Baptist Church of Tulsa arrived this week to lead to VBS for our Early Learning Center and at Highland Park. They also brought a construction team to work on a couple of projects. One was to seal 17 of our first story windows, providing increased security and insulation. Another was to prepare a space for, soon to arrive, Fletcher Seminary. They built bookcases, ran electrical and computer network wiring, painted the walls. They helped to set a fast pace for our summer.

We do not have any more groups scheduled for the summer. COVID fears discouraged churches from making summer plans but many are starting to venture out. Past experience and flexibility will allow us to maximize opportunities as they present themselves.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Spiritual and physical health make stronger disciples.

Installing the gym floor in 1967
 

The Baptist Temple gym was completed in 1967 as a way to provide physical fitness opportunities for our community. BT has a long and storied history of sports activity. Our oldest trophy is dated 1936 for a softball championship. Since then, there have been numerous championships in multiple sports.

The gym has been used for a variety of activities including basketball, volleyball, badminton, martial arts and more. However, as the membership of BT aged, gym usage declined. By the start of the 21st century it was rarely used.

When the church resolved to increase its community involvement, things began to change. A new charter school used the gym daily during the school year and our summer day camp used it when school was out. In the evenings, we had karate. On the weekends a variety of recreational activities.

As word got out, youth basketball teams started using the gym for practice in the evenings and, occasionally, for tournaments. Additionally, mission groups that stay on our campus overnight use our locker room showers.

Today, the gym is used day and night, seven days a week all year long. Along with the youth basketball clubs, four adult recreation groups use it as well.

San Antonio has a higher than average number of diabetics and its related problems. Fighting childhood obesity, a nation-wide problem, is key to preventing “lifestyle” diseases, including diabetes. Organized recreational activity is not only improves physical health but, also, provides a healthy after school environment. In fact, studies consistently show a connection between activity and better school performance.

As to be expected, the years have taken their toll, so we are launching a fund raising campaign to renovate the gym. The highest priority is repairing and re-striping the gym floor. Beyond that, we, also, need to repair the surrounding tile, remodel the restrooms and update the showers. As funds allow, we will also renovate the back staircase.

The fundraising effort began with a special Mother’s Day offering and will include a variety of events and grant applications. We want to partner with as many people as possible who want to invest in the physical and spiritual health of our community.

You can contribute online here or send a contribution to Baptist Temple, 901 E Drexel, San Antonio, TX 78210.