What about our current mortgage?

In 2004 we built our current facility at a cost of $5.3 million, including a $3.5 million mortgage with Thrivent Financial. Over the last 14 years, we’ve never missed a mortgage payment and have been able to pay down our principal balance to $2,137,569.24 as of January 31, 2018. It would be a wonderful blessing if we could expand our facility and pay off our mortgage all at the same time. Realistically, however, it looks like we will continue having a mortgage.

Our Finance Committee has been looking into options about what would happen with our current mortgage, and has been in contact with several banks about what our future mortgage could be. While no decisions have been made at this point, it seems likely that we would roll our current mortgage into a new mortgage and that lenders would be willing to give us a loan in the ballpark of the $3.5 million mortgage we have currently been maintaining. Our goal is to balance expanding our ministry with avoiding an excessive burden. If you have ideas, would like more information, or have a special interest in seeing us pay down our mortgage, talk to one of the members of our Finance Committee: Jim Buelow, Scott Filter, Dan Schmidt, or Mike Shiels.

What's the Goal?

Our goal is to give five million dollars over the next three years in addition to our regular offerings. More than you could give? Of course it is, because this isn’t just you or me. This is about all of us coming together to support and extend the ministry of God’s Word to Lake Mills for the future. It is a big number. But remember that we have a big God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Know, too, that we’re not just picking a number out of the air. That number is based in part on conversations with members who have already said they want to give toward this ministry, and in part on the advice from our consultant from Generis, Larry Ulrich, after he studied our finances and our giving. We’re praying that God will give us resources and willing hearts to reach that goal. 

That financial goal is written first here, since that’s usually what people have in mind when they ask that question. But honestly, there are other goals that are more important than funding a building project. They’re the goals that are part of our whole “connecting” theme … the goal that we would connect ever more deeply to Jesus Christ over the coming months … the goal that we would connect to each other as a congregation … the goal of finding more and more ways to connect with our community.

Because honestly, if we build a building but end up further from Christ, further from each other, and further from our community, what have we gained? That’s why our deeper goal is to engage 100% of the people of St. Paul over the next few months as we grow together around God’s Word.

What is the Commitment Process Like?

Perhaps the whole idea of making a commitment is new to you. We’ve been fielding some questions about what to expect. Here are a few tips. If these don’t quite get at your questions, contact one of the people in the box on the first page of this update.

  • A commitment is a promise. We hope that you take your promise seriously, since the plans we will be making together depend on it. At the same time, only God knows the future, and it could happen that someone needs to change their commitment down the road (either increasing it or decreasing it) because of some major change in life.
  • The commitment period is over three years. It could be that you spread your gifts evenly from 2018-2021, or perhaps you’ll give most up front or most toward the end. Each of our financial situations is different. But a commitment is not saying you have the resources to give it all right away.
  • Keep in mind both the new and the ongoing. Yes, a new building would be new and exciting. But remember that the building isn’t the end goal. It’s a tool to reach people with the gospel. The last thing any of us wants is to have a brand new building but to be unable to expand (or even maintain) our vital ministry that happens in the building. As you plan your commitment, include plans for how you’ll intentionally support our ongoing ministry with your weekly offerings.
  • Don’t just think through what you give; think through why you give. That’s one reason why we’re not scheduling the congregation commitment Sunday for next week. We’re hoping no one gives out of a guilt trip. Even worse would be thinking that your gift earns you something from God. Christian giving is different. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Similarly, we give because he first gave to us. Let’s spend this Lent and Easter marveling again at God’s love to us in Christ. May his love and generosity deepen our own love and generosity!
  • Return a commitment card on the weekend of May 6th. Unless you’re one of our elected leaders, you don’t have that commitment card yet. Those will be coming on the weekend of Palm Sunday (March 25th). You’ll write your commitment on the card and bring it to worship on the weekend of May 6th.

Why Can't I Find Everything on the Main Website Menu?

One of the main purposes of our website is to connect with people outside our church who are interested in learning more about who we are. With that in mind, the main church menu has a page titled “Expansion Plans” that has the basic information about our project and the renderings. But the details about our plans are on a separate part of our website because they’re meant for our members rather than for our whole community. People who are not members can still get there if they have the link, but it’s not the first thing they’ll find and read.

Whenever you want to see the newest posts, go to:


Are we really going to be able to complete the whole project?

That question has been on our minds, and we’re sure it has probably been on yours, too. At this point, God is the only one who knows our future and the answer to that question. Here’s what we can say at this point:

There’s a possibility that we could find a way to accomplish all of it at once (otherwise we wouldn’t have the whole project still on the table). It’s a big goal, but God has given us amazing people and resources here at St. Paul. We don’t want to sell ourselves short about what God could do through us at such a time as this. It’s also possible that we may need to prioritize some parts of the project over others. But there’s no way to know exactly what we can do together until we come together to pledge our gifts. We’ll be working toward that over these next three months. In the meantime, our Finance Committee is looking at the numbers of what we can afford for construction and is also looking at what a realistic budget would be to support our expanded ministry.

In the end there will need to be a decision made about what exactly we will build. That decision will be made by our congregation—not just by a few people or only by our leaders. Keep praying for our church—that God would give us the resources we need to take advantage of the opportunities he’s placing before us, wisdom to know what is best, and love for each other to work together in unity even when the decisions aren’t easy.