Elevate Life Church, an ARC Church located in Oak Leaf (Jacksonville), FL, was the 6th Fastest Growing Church in America in 2017, according to Outreach Magazine. The church had grown from a few hundred people to over 2,000 people within a 3-year period, and was in desperate need to move out of the high school they were leasing into their own permanent space. Elevate contacted us at the beginning of 2015 after trying to engage the local banks in the area to work with them, but had not found a partner willing to help them make the necessary steps towards their goal for project.
We quickly created a financial forecast based on the the adult and family capacity needed to justify the cost of the relocation and project expense. We knew that a potential project would cost $7MM to $8MM. At that time, Elevate did not have an income or giving base who had been with the church long enough to support the capital requirements and debt load at that level. Shortly thereafter, we created a comprehensive financial strategy as a result of a one-day, on-site Clear Path Analysis, which included working with them for a year to create strategies for top-line revenue growth. This resulted in an 85% increase in revenue for 2015 over 2014. We worked with the architect and general contractor to develop a budget based on the needs of the ministry and the financial strategy created in the Clear Path Analysis. We also worked with Elevate to engage with Generis to establish a capital campaign strategy based on the same financial plans for the project.
During that time, the original price for the building came in at over $8.8MM, and we had to work with the architect and contractor to find value-engineering opportunities in the plans to bring the total project value back down to the $7MM range, which we (as a team) effectively did. Thankfully, Elevate did not have to sacrifice any seating or square footage during that time.
Ultimately, we assisted Elevate in long-term financial strategies, the CPA Review of their financials, the engagement of a capital campaign consultant, the design and budget process with the project team, and ultimately the funding for the project on a 10-year fixed rate at 4%, with options to re-amortize the debt based on principal pay-downs.
Within one year of starting this process, Elevate went from not having a banking partner to having 4 different offers to lend. In February of 2016, not only were they putting their first shovel in the ground on their new property, but they were also in the throes of opening their 2nd and 3rd multisite locations, which are now in place and thriving. They were also able to make several key hires related to the growth of the church. On top of getting the project funded, the selected banking institution also created a Letter of Intent for future projects, allowing them to move into expansions and/or new multisite locations without having to disturb the debt structure they put into place in this project.
Without their commitment to an intensive project, this project would not have happened. This is an amazing church led by an incredible team.
Our team at Ministry Solutions has assisted dozens of churches like Elevate and have helped them navigate the hiccups and hurdles of expansion projects, saving pastors like you millions of dollars in time and resources.
We would love to offer your church a Clear Path Analysisto help you understand the best pathway to eliminate the guesswork, accelerate the process, and say yes to growth!