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Exciting Times At GfBC

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Compiling a report of recent events for our congregation usually isn't necessary.  Weekly announcements are sufficient for upcoming conferences and our yearly location shift.  However, events during the recent months leading up to and including our family business meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 warrant an official GfBC news report.

Our string of recent notable events begins on Sunday December 20, 2015 when our deacons and elders received a signal from our landlord church that heightened the awareness that we were not in our own building: when we arrived to begin setup for our Sunday School and Worship Services, we discovered the locks had been changed. Thankfully, we were let in the building by 9:45am so our regular church service was not cancelled and we had enough time for some impromptu hymn singing (our Sunday School class was not an option as it was almost 10:15 before setup was complete). 

After this date, the whirlwind really got moving.  Here is the string of events that followed:

  • The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) leadership informed us that they wanted to meet with us.
  • Pastor Stephen Bratton did a random search for churches that were for sale (we have been doing this on a relatively normal basis as we were waiting for our land to sell).  While doing that search, he noticed a recently listed church building on the market.  However, it was well out of our price range (priced at $1.8m with a $2.21m appraisal) as we had a large sum of money tied up in our land and had received no offers on it since listing it months ago.  
  • The elders, along with the chairman of the building committee went and viewed the building. After meeting the realtor for the new facility, we discovered they were very motivated to get out of the building.  The thought occured that perhaps GfBC could lease to own. 
  • The next Sunday, we received notice that the SDA leadership was asking for a rent increase of 22% while eliminating our storage space in the building. They asked if we could put up a shed behind the building to store our tables and sound equipment.  

At this point, it became clear that we were going to need to leave the SDA.  But with much of our money tied up in a piece of property, we were in a bind to figure out where to go.

  • GfBC RECEIVES AN OFFER ON THE LAND! The VERY next day! We were contacted that a cash offer had been placed and negotiations began.  Over the next three days, this offer was completed and the church and buyer settled at $855,000.  The property was purchased less than three years ago for a price of $531,000.  That is a 61% increase in property value in less than three years.
  • The GfBC building committee viewed the facility that was found weeks earlier and scheduled a meeting on January 13 to discuss our options for this facility. 

Prior to the meeting, the general understanding of our financial picture, even with the sale of our land, still put us about $200,000 short of where we needed to be to purchase this property.  

  • A little over an hour before the scheduled building committee meeting on January 13, Pastor Stephen was informed that GfBC WOULD RECEIVE AN ANONYMOUS DONATION OF $200,000
  • The building committee approved of making an offer on the building contingent on favorable financing (it was generally understood that we needed a minimum of 5% APR with 20 year amortization), inspections, and a church vote during a feasibility period.
  • An offer was made and the price settled at $1.7m. Let the feasibility period begin.

All of this took place in the space of one month at GfBC.  It happened in time for our normal fourth Sunday Q&A with the elders after the service.  The elders informed the body of all the things that had taken place and scheduled a time the following Saturday for GfBC members to have access to the building to view it.

The following week several important questions were answered: 1) Our finance committee had estimates on costs for maintenance and utilities; actual numbers are now being filled into their figuring,   2) a general commerical inspection was completed with no unexpected high dollar problems, and 3) GfBC received a written offer from a bank for a loan with 4.75% APR and 25 year amortization! 

Located at 106 Bammel Westfield Road (basically the intersection between Interstate 45 and FM 1960) our prospective new church building is surrounded by 260,000 diverse people within a five-mile radius.  Statistically natural growth for the population and access to outreach opportunities make this building a potentially powerful resource for GfBC to "proclaim the supremacy of Christ to all men with a view towards biblical conversion and comprehensive discipleship."

Bridging the gap between our current income and our expected costs for maintaining the building and paying the note are conservative estimates on generating income from growth, facility rentals, and conferences.  These things make this purchase not just exciting, but financially reasonable for our body.  

To purchase this property we will use our profit from the sale of our land and other available cash. From the point that we walk into the building, we will actually own over 60% of it.  And the church will maintain a cash reserve as a cushion in the bank.

Specific detailed inspections of the roof, AC units, and electrical systems are already scheduled and closing is contingent on those findings and our church vote for approval.  Our next step is a congregational church vote scheduled on Sunday, February 21, 2016, during a special-called business meeting at 2:00pm. The ballot will include two propositions:

  1. GfBC approval to purchase the property listed at 106 Bammel Westfield Rd, Houston TX 77090, as long as all other contingencies are met and approved by the building committee.
  2. If the purchase of the property listed at 106 Bammel Westfield Rd, Houston TX 77090, is finalized, the GfBC Charter, Constitution, and Bylaws are to be amended from "Grace Family Baptist Church of Spring" to "Grace Family Baptist Church of North Houston".

If all goes according to plan, GfBC will be able to celebrate her 10th anniversary (April 3) in the new facility. This will be an exciting day in the life of the members of GfBC.