What would happen to the FEC without CSF?
The short answer to that question is pretty simple: less than is happening now. Without the Christian Service Foundation (CSF), FEC would experience less expansion, fewer church plants, less ability to respond to opportunities (such as the sudden availability of property), and more stress on congregations to pay for major repairs. Unfortunately, most banks won’t make loans to churches. The good news is that you can help, just by investing in CSF! When you make that investment, CSF will pay you from 0.75% up to 1.5% annually on money that you invest. You choose the length of time, anywhere from “on demand” to the maximum investment period of three years.
Here’s just one example of how CSF is expanding FEC’s reach. Meet Alex Ruhter, who is planting Wave Community Church in Deshler, a small, rural Ohio town. The only viable meeting location they could identify was the gym of a three-story school building that they could rent. In order to meet their start-up budget of $75,000, they raised funds from various FEC churches and the FEC denomination. After raising most of the funds from other FEC churches and the FEC denomination itself, Wave Community Church still needed $25,000 to complete the purchase of a “church in a box” (CIB). With a CIB, church attenders can set up a church in about 90 minutes and repack it in about the same time. CSF met this need by providing a loan to this start-up church, enabling them to launch successfully.
Attendance the first Sunday was 96 people, with an average of 70-80 regular attendees. The church settled in for about a year, preaching the gospel, baptizing and meeting the needs of the community. In the summer of 2016, the school district told Wave that as of August 8 they would no longer be able to rent the school because the district was going to tear it down. Wave pursued every option they could think of, including trying to buy the school building with a looming eviction deadline.
In November of 2016, God came through in a big way, opening the door for Wave to purchase a hardware store from a local investor. The building still needed a considerable amount of renovation, but the size of the space and the location were excellent. Wave’s goal was to try to close on the building in time to meet in it for Christmas. This gave them only about three weeks to do due diligence on the building and title, put the funds in place, close on the building, and prepare the building for a service. Because of the support of our CSF investors, CSF was able to respond quickly to this need by providing both advice through the purchase process and then the funds to purchase the building by December 15, to meet their Christmas goal.
Since that time, Wave has learned that they could be eligible for up to $20,000 in grant funds to help renovate the building. Wave just needed a $20,000 short-term loan to purchase the materials in order to receive the grant reimbursement.
At the same time, a local farming family was looking for a building to disburse donated food to those in need. Rather than purchase a building, this family made a donation to Wave with enough funds to purchase a building just a few doors down from the new church location. The city grant program, announced in January, would apply to the second building as well, providing another $20,000 for refurbishing the second building.
Wave now has two buildings, both requiring extensive renovations, a small body of attendees, no funds, and a grant opportunity that would require them to spend $40,000 in order for the grant to reimburse them the $40,000. This is where investors’ funds at CSF were able to have another role in God’s work and provision. CSF is providing a short-term loan to Wave of $40,000 to purchase remodeling materials that will then be repaid by the grant funds.
God is truly amazing in the ways he has answered Wave’s prayers—above and beyond what they were seeking. If you’re committed to more people learning about Jesus, like the people in Deshler, Ohio, a CSF investment is the perfect option. Together, we can impact many more communities for Christ.
See future blogs for updates on the progress that Wave is making toward renovation of these two properties.