Grace Community Church, later to become Grace Raleigh, was born in 2000 as the dream of dozens of our families with a shared desire to impact the Raleigh community with the beauty of the gospel for decades to come. For 16 years through seasons of growth and contraction, Grace occupied a large space that was not ours, but was intended to be a temporary location until a permanent home could be built. In January of 2017, we moved into our current space maintaining the hopes that one day we might finally have a place we could call our own. Although we could not be more grateful for our current space, we also recognize that this space is not the best long-term facility for Grace. It simply isn’t home.
When we dream about our permanent home, we dream of a unified children’s space all under one roof. We dream of a devoted space for students they could call their own. We would love to have larger children’s rooms to accommodate our burgeoning population of young families already attending on a Sunday morning as well as the families we anticipate reaching in years to come. We envision comfortable meeting spaces for small groups that aren’t just repurposed children’s spaces, but are intentionally designed to serve the needs of small groups, committees, and community members who need a place to gather during the week. Our hope is for these comfortable meeting spaces to further our vision of connecting people to one another as we seek to connect with Jesus. To this end, we dream of having a larger lobby with plenty of space to linger, meet, laugh, and pray. We picture a larger, more inviting auditorium (perhaps free of mid-room poles) so that Grace can feel inviting both to the long time partner and to the first time guest. We want Grace to feel like home.
Now as we sit amidst a church body that is growing and thriving, we believe it is the time to pursue these dreams initiated 20 years ago by our faithful partners. We believe that our season of wandering is over and it is time for Grace to go home.
**Updated February 2021**
Have any answers to the original FAQ from November of 2019 changed?
No. The goals and timelines of the capital campaign remain unchanged. Now, nearly a year after we kicked off the capital campaign, we wanted to update Grace’s partners. After all, it was only about 10 days after kick-off that a national emergency was declared due to COVID and Grace, along with the rest of the planet, entered the “new normal” we’re now living in.
So, what’s the latest on the campaign, given all we’ve been through since March?
As of December 31, 2020, Grace has raised over $860,000 for the campaign – well over halfway to our original goal of $1.5 million! And, as importantly, participation has been very broad with pledges being made on behalf of over two hundred individuals.
Is it too late to jump into the campaign and start donating?
Absolutely not! The more the merrier. We have said since day one that the campaign is a church-wide effort and we still have a long way to go. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact Tom Proctor at (919-630-0721) or email Tom LeDoux directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom LeDoux is Grace’s finance manager and handles all campaign donation activities ensuring pledge information is kept confidential.
Are there plans to communicate the status of the campaign more frequently in 2021?
Yes. We plan on providing updates in the Gracevine beginning in January. In addition, there may be occasional updates from the pulpit.
What is the big picture plan for the campaign and facilities search?
Beginning in March 2020, our goal is to raise at least $1.5 million over a two-year period . . . above and beyond our annual operating budget of approximately $750,000. We also hope that we will continue to grow as a community of faith during this period and that monthly giving will grow as well. Raising $1.5 million would allow us to borrow about $3 million, resulting in an available $4.5 million of cash and credit to acquire a new facility. According to the Building Committee’s estimates, we are looking for a building space of about 20,000 square feet, about 100,000 square feet of parking, and roughly 4 acres of land. An auditorium size adequate for about 500 worshippers is being considered. Finally, we are looking for a building or a piece of property that is as close to our present location as possible.
What is the current size of our church and are we seeing growth?
Grace had an average attendance of 235 in the Spring of 2018. In the first half of 2019, we averaged approximately 275 people per week. In February of 2020, right before COVID-19 hit, we were at a 5 year high of 335 people per week. Obviously, COVID-19 has made attendance and engagement difficult to track but based on the steady giving to both the operating budget and the campaign, we believe Grace is as strong as it can be.
What is our current financial status?
Grace Raleigh has paid off all legacy debt, both credit cards and bank-owed, so we presently carry no debt. We had an operating budget of about $750,000 for 2020 and anticipate a similar budget for 2021. Our current leased space of about 8,200 square feet costs us about $10,000 per month for rent and TICAM (taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance).
After years of financial uncertainty, we have JUST gotten healthy. Is now the time to do this?
This is a great question and a valid concern. The truth is that regardless of what we decide right now, we are still three to five years away from occupying our own building and entering mortgage debt. That is three to five years to continue to grow our financial health, grow as a church, increase our yearly budget if needed, and prepare to assume the responsibility of debt. Due to the fact that the timetable is so long, we need to initiate these decisions well in advance of actual implementation. If we waited two to three years to begin a capital campaign, that could result in a wait of five to eight years to occupy a new space. Given our present size and growth rate, we think now is the time to act.
Do we know the Rectors’ long-term plans for staying at Grace Raleigh?
As honestly and truthfully as they can state it, the Rectors intend to remain at Grace for the long haul. Of course, we have no idea what God could have in store and how He will choose to move the pieces of His Kingdom, but we can be certain that Nate, Jenn, and Lilly are happy in Raleigh, at Grace, and in the belief that they desire be here for many years to come.
What happens if, for some reason, we are not able to complete the project in two years?
If at the end of our two-year campaign we have insufficient funds to complete our goal of owning our own building, the elders reserve the right to extend the campaign for up to 5 years. After 5 years the continuance of the campaign would be subject to a vote by the partners. If the decision is made to abandon our goal of building ownership for any reason, the funds collected will be evenly distributed amongst the three international ministry organizations we support; Faith Ministry, Addis Jemari, and Ubuntu. For those donors for whom this solution is less than ideal, they will have the following options:
- To re-purpose the funds for the operating budget of Grace Raleigh.
- To re-designate the funds for a charity of the donor’s choice (provided the primary goal of the charity is to further the kingdom of God, the charity is a legal 501(c)3, and the charity meets elder approval).
- Grace Raleigh will work with the donor to facilitate a full refund of the donation.
Will my pledge amount and personal information remain private?
Consistent with our history, no individual giving information has been or will be used in the campaign. All donor and pledge amounts will be kept confidential, known only to Tom LeDoux, Grace’s financial manager for over a decade, who resides in Florida. It is our belief that if a permanent home is in God’s plan for Grace, then our partners will faithfully embrace that plan and give accordingly.
How will I know how much to give? What amount is appropriate?
Although the campaign obviously has a financial component, we also hope that this will be a time of self-reflection and prayer as we each ask God, “How can my giving and living reflect my commitment to your Kingdom?” As we continue to move forward in this campaign, it is important to do so in a spirit of remembrance and gratitude as we think back over God’s faithfulness to us as individuals and as a church. As you consider how you might best contribute or use your accumulated assets to help fund the campaign, we hope it becomes part of your spiritual journey. Finally, we recognize that God does not need or require our money, rather, He invites us into the process and joy of generosity.