RAISE UP VISION
In partnership with God, Red Mountain is called to raise up committed followers of Jesus, and this calling includes children. Kids have a unique value to God. They are an important part of his plan and their development is of high priority to Him. Our culture is confused on this, often celebrating certain compartments of growth like education or sports, but failing to value and celebrate their spiritual maturity. Our culture also tends to de-value kids. They are often “in the way” an “interruption” or left behind. We are seeing the carnage of this in their hearts and minds. At Red Mountain, we want celebrate and value kids. We want to raise them up in the Scriptures and in a relationship with the Holy Spirit, so that they can be sent out as representatives of Jesus to their world. In raising up this next generation, we know they face a spiritual battle everyday as they experience the evil in this world and the evil in their hearts. Our calling is not to remove them from the experience of evil, as if they can just exist along side of the darkness in the world. Our calling as a church family is to help them be used by the Spirit to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness. And so, this building is an attempt to physically demonstrate our conviction and celebration of kids as valuable in the kingdom mission of Jesus. Just as Yahweh celebrates their growth, so we also want to celebrate their growth. As we engage in this type of Children’s ministry, we believe it will affect every aspect of our church. Not only will we seek to raise up children, but we will seek to grow our effectiveness in discipleship of students and adults. We believe that as we grow in this conviction to disciple children, it will affect how we make disciples across the board in our church.
So...Why a children’s building? And why now?
There is a practical reality and a spiritual reality for this building. The practical reality is that we have to do something with our faithful-but-falling-apart-20-year-old portables: either build a building in their place or replace them with new portables one by one. To replace all six would be somewhere between $1.5 to $2 million, and to invest that amount of money into something that is far from providing quality environments for the formation of children seems unwise. And so the question is: when should we tear them down and build a building?
After a few years of processing, praying and seeking wisdom, the Elders sense from the Spirit that now is the time for this project, especially as we consider the spiritual reality of our children’s ministry. We are wanting to step more into being a sending church. As a sending church, everyday we are sending our kids into this increasingly dark and hostile world not to just exist along side of it, but to be used by the Spirit to shine light in the dark places. At the same time, the prince of darkness seeks to destroy them. And so, our conviction is that “Sunday School” and other children’s programs are not just a free hour or two of babysitting for parents and caretakers. They are intentional times of training, equipping and developing children and students, in partnership with parents, to trust in Jesus no matter what comes their way and to declare his salvation to their world. Are we training them well for this mission? Is Sunday preparing them to be sent on Monday? Are they equipped to trust God in this moment in history? Will they be ready for all the unique challenges that await them in adulthood brought about by the technology revolution we have experienced? The need for discipleship in our children is as urgent as ever.
While we understand that a building won’t automatically make our children’s ministry successful, the space in which we seek to mature our kids matters. We believe that building this building, as well as completing the rest of the campus will help us equip children, students, and adults in our changing environment. It will help our children see that they matter, and that they have a role in the advancement of God’s kingdom.
What is wrong with the portables?
How much time do you have? No, seriously, there’s actually a lot. For one thing, they are going on 20 years old; we are limited in what technological additions we can make to them. The rooms are too small and provide no room for growth or changing the set-up; there is no space big enough for large group activities with all of the kids. Speaking of which, the kids are separated all the time so they don’t get to know any of the kids outside of their own age group. Size and age aside, the portables break down constantly. Whenever it rains, a leak (or a few) inevitably creep in through the doors or ceiling. The door latches break randomly and lock people out (and lock people in). You have very limited control of the temperature in the portables; when it’s hot in the summer, it’s like an oven in there. When it’s cold, it’s like an icebox. Did we mention the animals? Skunks and recently, foxes, have been noticed living under the portables and like to make a raucous. Lastly, they just plain smell weird.
If kids are so important here, why haven’t we built a children’s building already?
Over the last 30 years of Red Mountain’s history, our commitment before the Lord was to maintain focus on the mission of making disciples of Jesus in our children and students. In the midst of our steadiness, God seems to lead Red Mountain to a few big moments along the way that require us all to move to a greater level of sacrifice. The key motivator in each of these big moments was the need for more classroom space for our children and students. In 1993, it was the purchase of land and the construction of the gym building. We had outgrown Anzio Landing restaurant in every way, with kids meeting in the kitchen and RV’s in the parking lot. In 2001, we felt we couldn’t tackle the large cost of a dedicated children’s building and so we decided to construct the current portables for classroom space and the current administration building (in 2003) to free up needed classroom space in the gym. In 2008, it was a new Life Center, which would also give more space for students and children. Now, God is calling us to another big moment, perhaps the biggest one yet. It’s time to update our space for student and adult areas, and to give our children a permanent setting. Now is the time for a big push that will help for the next 30 years of ministry. We need to raise up a new generation among us and send them into the world of the 21st century.
Why this builder and architect?
After looking and speaking with several different companies, we chose these two companies because we had the best chemistry with them. Both are companies we’ve known about but never worked with. We felt the architects understood our vision of the campus and came with good ideas to capture it. Both understand the big picture of children’s ministry, and have a lot of experience designing schools and churches.
What percent of the budget is the Church’s current debt? Why do we have debt?
Currently, we pay $392K toward our debt each year, which is about 10% of our current budget. The overall debt amount is $3.8 million. This debt came about as a result of the construction of the life center building. Our by-laws set the debt limit at 20% of our overall budget, and so we are well within what’s allowable and financially wise. The Elders think that some debt is okay, but that it should not be excessive and that it needs to be payed off as quickly as possible. Debt can be enslaving to a church. Our hope is to be debt free by 2028.
Why build when we still have debt?
Our goal for the project is to not incur any new debt, or only a very small amount of debt, that would keep us well under the 20% income to debt ratio. We will not build if it means large amounts of debt. Our policy documents prevent this as well as the priority to be wise with our finances. Because our interest rate on our current debt is so low, the Elders think it’s better to keep that debt there, and put all of our efforts toward contributions to a new Children’s building and the completion of our campus. The need is too urgent to wait until we can pay off our current debt.
When do we hope to start construction?
We hope to break ground in the end of summer 2021. It will take 10-12 months to complete construction.
What will we do if we don’t raise all the money?
There are several different options, but what we do will depend on how much we’ve raised and what we sense the Holy Spirit telling us in the midst of those circumstances.
Why not raise money for other things that are more focused on missions or local outreach?
Since our beginnings as a church, we’ve believed that prioritizing children and student ministry will increase our discipleship in all other areas of ministry in our church. So, increasing our effectiveness in children’s ministry will actually serve to increase our missions and local outreach, as well as many other areas in our church. We also feel a cultural shift away from valuing children and their spiritual growth, which is a shift away from what the Bible teaches. We want to make sure we are obedient to God’s call to pass the gospel on to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25). But as we invest in our kids, that is supposed to lead to an investment in missions and local outreach.
Why not build the building in smaller, less expensive phases?
To build in phases is actually more expensive in the long run. And we feel that we as a church are capable by God’s grace of raising this amount of money in three years.