Paid In Full FAQs

Why are we undertaking this capital campaign?
St. John’s is an amazing church. Every week, we have the opportunity to receive Christ’s gifts in a beautiful sanctuary and interact with fellow churchgoers in a newly expanded facility. We’ve been blessed, but we’re facing a financial challenge: we’re still carrying a debt from the recent Luther Hall expansion. The Paid in Full campaign is aimed at wiping out that debt once and for all, so we can shore up our present ministry and move forward with new opportunities.
How much do we hope to raise?
The goal of the campaign is $1,000,000, which would cover our current debt (roughly $930,000) plus much of the interest that will accumulate over the 3-year campaign period.
How did we get into debt?
In 2006, St. John’s launched a capital campaign, That We May Tell the Next Generation, to support a new addition designed to provide much-needed space for educational and fellowship activities. The initial cost of the new addition, dedicated in 2009, was a little over $3.6 million. Over 60% of that cost was covered through contributions and special gifts given during the three-year campaign; the church obtained a loan of roughly $1,380,000 to cover the remainder. Two subsequent capital campaigns, Going the Extra Mile and Continuing the Journey, have reduced the loan balance to under $1 million. With the Paid in Full campaign, we’re aiming to erase the debt for good.
Why don't we just keep making payments on the debt?
We could just keep making payments according to schedule, but that option comes with a steep price. Currently, our monthly payment is around $6,800, which adds up to more than $80,000 a year. Roughly half of that is interest. Our current interest rate is locked in only until 2023; if the loan isn’t paid off by then, we’ll need to renegotiate the terms, which adds an element of unpredictability to the calculations.
Even if our new rate stayed the same, our loan wouldn’t be paid off for many years. (Using the present monthly payment amount, we’d pay off the loan in 2031). To maintain that course, we’d either need to a) be in perpetual capital campaign mode, or b) dip into our regular operating budget. In the process, we’d end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest.
Eliminating the debt as soon as possible will free us from the lengthy payment period, the unpredictability, and the big interest bill, all of which make Paid in Full a much better option than staying the course.
Can we raise $1,000,000?
We can and we have raised $1,000,000. In the original building campaign for Luther Hall, in fact, we raised over $1,000,000. With God’s help and the broad support of the congregation, we’re optimistic about raising $1,000,000 again.
What if we raise more than one million dollars?
If we exceed the million-dollar mark with contributions, we will a) rejoice that we’ve been so generously blessed and b) earmark the dollars for new projects that will help us do more of what we’ve been entrusted to do: preach and teach the Word faithfully and reach out to others with the Gospel.
How is a capital campaign different from the annual stewardship campaign?
A capital campaign is designed to raise funds above and beyond those pledged for the annual budget in the yearly stewardship campaigns. Thus, whatever you pledge for the capital campaign should be considered an additional gift beyond your regular annual giving. This will ensure that day-to-day operations continue to be adequately supported as we work to eliminate our debt.
Will I be asked for a pledge publicly?
No. Nor will your individual commitment be announced or published.
Am I going to have to ask other people to make pledges?
No. If you’re excited about supporting the cause and want to share your reasons with others, please do! But rest assured, you will NOT be expected to ask anyone else for a pledge.
I’ve already contributed to the previous campaigns. Will I be expected to contribute at the same level again?
Your contribution is between you and God. Many people have already given generously to previous campaigns for the Luther Hall expansion, and for that, we give thanks. We do hope to see broad participation in the Paid in Full campaign—whether that be with prayers, time, ideas, and/or financial gifts. The campaign team will point out opportunities to help; it’s up to each individual to prayerfully reflect and respond accordingly.
What does prayerful reflection involve? What should I be praying about?
Pray above all that the Lord would continue to be merciful to our congregation and secure to us the pure preaching and teaching of His Word and the right administration of His Sacraments. Pray that He would bless our congregation with a generous and thankful spirit for all the Lord has done for us. Finally, use 100 Days of Prayer, the campaign prayer booklet, daily. This will guide your prayer and conform your will to His.
What happens if I make a pledge and then can’t give that much?
Pledges are very important for budgeting and planning purposes (both for individuals and the church), but sometimes individual circumstances change during the multi-year campaign period. A pledge is a good-faith commitment, not a binding contract. If you need to modify your pledge (either reduce or increase it) during the campaign, please notify the Commitment Team.
How much is the campaign costing us? Are campaign expenses covered by campaign contributions?
In the fall of 2015, voters of St. John’s decided to hire Wittenberg Church Consultants out of Naperville, IL to help guide the campaign. The $21,000 consulting fee is being paid through existing funding sources. All of the money raised in the Paid in Full Campaign will be used for debt reduction/elimination.
What’s a Home Gathering?
During the campaign, everyone in the congregation will be invited to a Home Gathering, which will involve meeting at someone’s home for about an hour with 10-15 other people from church. Don’t worry—you won’t be asked to make a financial contribution at the Home Gathering. Instead, you’ll have a chance to talk to other members, participate in a short Bible study, and get a first look at the campaign brochure and video (where you’ll likely see some familiar faces—maybe even your own!).
What happens at the Pledge Event?
The Pledge Event, scheduled for Sunday, May 1, will be an after-church gathering in Luther Hall. We’ll have lunch and hear from a special guest speaker, Dr. Gene Veith, then everyone will have an opportunity to make a campaign pledge. We’ll announce the pledge total on Celebration Sunday, May 22.
Whom can I contact about the campaign?
If you have additional questions or would like to volunteer to help, contact Campaign Coordinator Dave Graversen at 785-354-7132 or davegraversen@stjlcms.org.