Q. Why are you trying to buy a building?
We know that the Bible teaches that a building is not a church. But we also realise that a building is a great tool for a church to use for worship, discipleship, and outreach. Since 2008, Northwest Baptist Church has used various rented facilities including hotel meeting rooms, houses, office space, and community centres. Owning a church building would enable the church to have a more permanent home from which to more effectively evangelise and reach out to the community. It would also save the financial expenses of paying rent each month – those moneys could then go toward a pastor’s salary and evangelistic outreach.
Q. What type of building are you trying to purchase?
Here are some of the things we are looking for in the type of building we hope to purchase:
- Located on the cityside of Derry/Londonderry (BT48 postcode) reaching out to the 75,000+ people there without any Baptist church
- Around 1500-2000 square feet
- A ground floor meeting room that will hold about 40-50 people
- A ground floor toilet and sink/kitchen space
- At least one or two other rooms for office and Sunday school space
- Places for cars to park nearby
- In a fairly accessible and safe area where people from all backgrounds might feel comfortable attending
- Possibly a space for accommodation for the pastor to live on-site
Q. How much money are you trying to raise?
We are hoping to raise $150,000 which we feel will go along ways toward purchasing the building. If the cost of the building supersedes this amount, we will attempt to get a small mortgage to cover the remainder. But ideally, we would prefer to pay cash for the building, so that the church has no rent/mortgage payment, can more fully support their own pastor, and do more outreach into the community.
Q. What will the money be used for?
All moneys donated to the building fund will be used for the purchase of the building and any other expenses associated with the purchase (i.e. legal fees, planning fees, etc.). The current building fund moneys are kept either at Macedonia World Baptist Missions or in a special bank account managed by Northwest Baptist Church and carefully notated. As a registered charity (NIC101124), the funds given to the church for the building are deemed “restricted” and can only be used for the building. The church also has an independent account that audits its books each year.
Q. Where have the current funds come from?
We first began raising funds for the building in October 2015. Since that time, God has blessed with various churches and individuals giving sacrificially. Several have given as much as $5000 at a time, and others have given amounts of $20, $100, $300, etc. Northwest Baptist itself is also trying to put the entire offering given on every 5th Sunday toward the building fund as well. As you can see, God has provided for this project in amazing ways through all sorts of people and churches who gave as they were able. So, we are continuing to trust God to provide through His people the needed funds.
Q. How is the building search coming along?
Since we started raising funds for the building, we have been looking and praying for the right property. In April 2016, we identified the first building that we thought might be appropriate. After making many inquiries with planning (zoning) authorities, solicitors, and architects as well as making offers on several different buildings, we have learned a lot more about what type of building might be most suitable and what planning (zoning) issues are a factor. Though we have not found the right building yet, we have not been inactive. Nearly every week, Pastor James and I discuss the building search. We are keeping abreast of any new properties on a regular basis. Pastor James continues to view properties, and we are making offers as appropriate properties come available. We believe that in God’s timing, the right building in the right location at the right price will come available.
Q. Why has the building search taken so long?
Fundamentally, we must concede that it is not yet God’s timing for us to find and purchase a building. But, there are other factors that have probably contributed to the long search.
- We have never done this before. We are learning more about where and how to look for buildings, but several buildings that we really liked and pursed for months had underlying issues that did not come to the surface until later. We have learned from these experiences and hope to identify any prohibitive factors sooner.
- There is a limited amount of areas/buildings that will realistically work for a church. Not every building is in the right area and not every good area has an appropriate building that is for sale at the right price.
- There are mostly likely some historical factors that play into this. Admittedly, Northern Ireland has had it share of political upheaval. One side effect of this could be that not everyone is excited to help a Baptist church purchase a building. We have to accept that as at least a possibility that has closed the doors on some potential buildings.
However, we are not discouraged. We have learned from this that we must have God’s help. And we are looking to the Lord and expecting Him to do great things that will bring glory to His name. Please pray with us.