More Questions on the West Campus Expansion Proposal

What exactly is being proposed?

You can read the original post about the west campus expansion here. The proposal from Peska would include a new 400-seat (~5000 sq. ft.) worship center and new nursery space to be built on the currently undeveloped land to the south of the existing west campus building (see the revised layout). The current worship space (~2000 sq. ft.) and foyer would be remodeled into classroom space for a total of 7 classrooms. Additional restrooms and a small, but functional, kitchen will also be included. Peska would build the addition to suit at no up-front cost to Faith Baptist (compared to the $125K that Faith paid upfront for the current building). Peska is proposing the church sign a new 7-year lease with terms comparable to the existing lease, replacing the current 5-year lease. The proposed completion date for the new addition is March 1st (Phase 1). The remodel completion and start of the new lease is June 1st, 2021 (Phase 2).

Revised layout as of 8.5.20

Does this proposal really meet the needs of the West Campus?

The West Campus ministry leaders and exploration team have spent considerable time looking over the above layout and are confident that the additional space will greatly increase the ability to serve the growing congregation and reach more people in west Sioux Falls. The additional worship and classroom space will allow for Faith University, Sunday School, mid-week ministry activities, VBS outreach, weddings, funerals, etc. This will be a great step in trying to serve those who are continually coming and wanting to be fed biblical truth and establish Faith West as their home church. The mission is to make, grow, and equip more disciples of Christ. This proposal presents an opportunity to take a big “next step” in fulfilling that mission.

Will Faith West become a stand-alone church? If so, when?

This is a HUGE question that the elders continue to wrestle with. It was one of the main topics on the agenda for the 2020 spring retreat that got canceled due to COVID. The elders and pastors have said from the beginning that the West Campus will likely become a stand-alone church someday. The elders chose to not predetermine a timeline or lay out a detailed plan. We believe that God will make it clear when and how to “release” the West Campus. The commitment was to remain “yoked” for now and see how the Lord worked. And he worked! Now this opportunity is here, causing the elders to prayerfully ask, “Might this opportunity be part of God’s plan for the future of the West Campus?” This expansion proposal may or may not lead to Faith West’s eventual “release,” but we believe it will put Faith West in good position to be a healthy, vibrant, cohesive, self-sustaining congregation when and if the time comes to find its permanent home and possibly move to full autonomy if that’s what seems best.

Are we sure there is enough parking to meet the needs of a facility of this size?

Sioux Falls requires 1 parking space for every 4 seats in a place of worship. A 400-seat auditorium would need 100 spaces. Faith West currently has 30 designated spaces. There are another 20 shared spaces in the immediate vicinity of Faith West and over 50 more spaces in the entire parking area owned by Peska. In total there are over 200 spaces in the entire complex today with another 100+ parking spaces planned to be developed in the future. There is also street parking along Mary Beth Avenue behind the church. To date, parking on Sunday mornings has not been an issue for Faith West.

What is actual attendance at WC?

The graph below shows the average monthly attendance for Faith West since opening in September of 2018. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance has been “trending up.”

West Campus average attendance since September 2018

How much giving is coming from the West Campus vs. South Campus?

Here is the general break down of the giving between the two campuses for 2019 and 2020 so far:

West Campus giving vs. South Campus giving

What are the financial implications of this proposal? What might the budget look like in 2021 and 2022?

The chart below shows a preliminary overall budget that includes this proposal. This assumes that the new West Campus lease starts in June 2021. The annual budgeting process will produce more changes. The West Campus team is working on an initial furnishings budget. Right now, the estimated cost of furnishing the additional space is around $40K. These would be one-time expenses that the elders would consider funding with either Stepping Forward funds or possible 2020 excess. Currently, that added one-time expense is included in the “WC Other Mgmt” 2021 line item in red.

Preliminary Budget Impact for 2021, 2022, and 2023

What is the reason for the short time frame for a decision?

It was in the course of almost a year’s worth of research and discussion that the team learned of Peska’s intention to continue development as soon as a suitable tenant was found. Peska presented Faith Baptist with this “no money up-front” proposal in June because he has been happy with Faith West as a tenant. If Faith chooses not to expand at this time, he will look for another tenant and develop the property with someone else as soon as he can. Because of city permit lead times, the August deadline was given so that construction could start this fall. Peska would like to honor the rates quoted in the proposal if possible but waiting until spring would mean revisiting the proposal and costs. Peska has been very understanding and wants to ensure the church feels good about the decision. He’s offered to give the church a few more weeks to consider the current proposal as is. It is not the intention of the elders to make anyone feel pressured. This is an opportunity that we have felt the duty and responsibility to present to the church for consideration. We continue to appreciate your thoughtful and prayerful feedback!

Fundraising has been a miraculous ministry at Faith Baptist in the past. Why are we hearing now that this a choice between ministry and fund-raising?

God has done miraculous things through the generous giving of Faith Baptist, both in the past and now. Yes, and amen! We do not see this as an “either/or” but a question of timing, opportunity, and “What is the best focus right now to maintain momentum and further the mission?” Faith West is still in the crucial “building” phase as a congregation and has the momentum and opportunity to grow, not just in numbers, but in commitment to Christ, to one another, and the greater mission of Faith Baptist. We’ve been advised that young churches that pivot too soon towards building programs and large fundraising campaigns end up facing serious challenges and quickly lose sight of their mission. This additional 7-year investment in the people of Faith West will put the West Campus in a much stronger position to raise funds for a permanent location when the time is right, and the opportunity presents itself.

More thoughts on leasing vs. buying property.

The “$2M over 7 years” lease number includes lease payments, utilities, common area maintenance, taxes, and insurance (these are “NNN” fees). The $5M building estimate does not include utilities, maintenance expenses, taxes, insurance or mortgage interest. In order to build, the church would need to raise $1M-$1.25M as a down payment in advance and then take on a long-term $3-4M mortgage to complete the project. The interest payment on a $4M loan at 3.75% per year is $150,000 per year. Combine that with the costs listed above, the church would pay approximately $237,000 per year just in interest and other property expenses before any equity is built in a property. All of this is being prayerfully weighed against the value of the opportunity to expand the ministry of the West Campus sooner than later.