September Project Update


Here’s a recap of what has been happening since the last update was published on July 26th.

Building Committee Meetings with Excel
After our voters’ resolution on July 22nd to go ahead with the sanctuary, our building committee has been regularly meeting again with our architect from Excel. We have had four meetings with the architect to work on the floorplan, and one meeting just us as the Building Committee.

We worked through the details of the contract with Excel, which was signed on September 7th. Throughout August and September we’ve been working on the revised site plan and floorplan, taking into account all the feedback we’ve received over the last year. We’re ready to share those with you now.

Mission Statement for the Building Program

On September 19th, our Church Council adopted the following mission statement as recommended by our Building Committee:

This church building is to be a declaration of faith by the members of St Paul Lutheran Church.  This building is an affirmation in wood and stone, steel and glass, of our steadfast resolve to believe, teach, and confess the saving truth of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.  Therefore we as a body of believers resolve:

To offer our very best to God by designing a distinctively Lutheran sanctuary in appearance and architecture which will aid us in sharing with all people the Biblical truths on which our Christian faith, life, and hope are founded.

This resolution is to guide us in the entire planning and construction process so that we build a beautiful and deliberately Lutheran Church.  May our merciful God bless the house we build, to his glory, so that long after we are gone, our children’s children may here encounter the Lord who graciously comes to his people in Word and sacrament.



Revised Site Plan and Sanctuary Floor Plan
Along with this update we are presenting an updated floor plan and set of renderings for our new sanctuary. You’re welcome to take a copy and spend some time reviewing it for yourself. Any of our Building Committee members (their names are listed in the box on the front page) would be happy to answer your questions or record your suggestions. Here are some of the main differences from what was in the renderings a year ago:

The Main Changes

  • The size. The voters’ meeting resolution in July set our budget at $5 million. We estimate that will allow us to build about 20,000 ft2. The design presented a year ago was 26,836 ft2 for the sanctuary expansion. We kept the sanctuary the same size and reduced the square footage in other areas to come to the current design at 20,220 ft2. An example of a space reduction is that we plan to keep the fellowship hall the same size as it is currently (where we currently worship) rather than expanding it.

  • The direction. The sanctuary has been rotated 90° counterclockwise so that it now faces southwest rather than northwest. This allows us to fit more parking to the north of the expansion, which was the single greatest concern members had with the design last fall.

  • Design details. Among other things … We removed the dormers from the roof, since many members felt they looked too “residential.” We increased the height of the steeple of the bell tower. We changed the wall configuration in the chancel to allow for a larger area for projection. We expanded the cryroom and got rid of the basement mechanicals room. We carved out a dedicated area for music storage.


The next step is to start working on the details. For that, we need a lot more help. Below is a list of the subcommittees we need. If you are interested in serving in one of these areas, talk to one of the Building Committee members or fill out one of the yellow forms in the St. Paul gathering area.

  • Music (including the sanctuary acoustics, music area, organ reinstallation, piano, handbells, music storage layout)

  • Liturgical Furnishing and Artwork (including altar/pulpit/font design, chancel design, artwork)

  • Seating/pews

  • Kitchenette (layout, furnishings, seating)

  • Chapel (layout, furnishings, decoration)

  • Other Furnishings (Cry Room, Mother’s Room, gathering area, meeting room/library)

  • Interior Design and Finishes

  • Technology (AV booth, sound system, video display, video recording, integration with other building systems)


Now that we’re working with the architect again, we have a firmer timetable. Here is the pace at which we would like to move if God so allows:

end of September    Congregation feedback on floorplan; Form subcommittees

October                      Begin work on the details; Provide schematic budget

mid-December          Design development complete

January-April             Updated budget, construction documents, local & state approval, bids

April or May                We begin construction.

Our project finances

Loan status
Our finance committee is in the process of finalizing a “Commitment to Lend” document. Interest rates have been rising and are projected to continue rising, so we think it would be wise to fix our rate now. That document would be approved by our Church Council. Our voters will be able to review the details before we sign the official loan.

Commitment Status

From May-July of 2018 we made commitments to give $4,177,080 toward this work over the three years from August 2018-July 2021. We also need to keep supporting our ongoing ministry. Let’s all work together to complete the work we said we would do! Here is a snapshot of where we’re at so far:

   “Building Connections” gifts in July & August:     $85,365

                          8/31 building account balance:     $194,023  

       “Bountiful Blessings” gifts in July & August:     $38,320    ($13,695 needed each month)

      8/31 “Bountiful Blessings account balance:     $100,016  



Check the previous project updates for other FAQs:

I just got a new packet of offering envelopes in the mail. Can you explain the envelopes?

Envelopes help us to be careful in how we record your giving. If you use the envelopes to give, then we can provide you with a giving statement for your tax purposes, or just to show that your offerings have been received and are being used to serve people with God’s Word here at St. Paul. We also hope the envelopes will help you to be purposeful & intentional in your generosity. But using the envelopes is only one way to give. If it doesn’t matter whether your gift is on your giving record, you don’t have to use an envelope. You’re also able to avoid cash and checks completely and give digitally through PushPay. Offerings through Pushpay are also recorded on your statement.

  • Many of the envelopes (one for each time we worship) are to support our ongoing ministry through our general budget. While perhaps not as exciting as a new building, these gifts are the heart and core of our ministry support here at St. Paul.

  • Some of the envelopes are for specific gifts, for example helping with tuition assistance for our families.

  • There are two kinds of envelopes that tie in with our sanctuary building project. “Bountiful Blessings” envelopes have been included for a number of years already and will continue to be in your envelope packet until next spring or summer (read more below). “Building Connections Fund” envelopes are new. They’re the ones that tie in with the commitments we made last May. Use those as you fulfill your commitment (otherwise your gift would go toward our general budget). You should find two “Bountiful Blessings” envelopes and two “Building Connections Fund” envelopes in your packet for each month. You don’t have to use every envelope. We want you to have the right kind of envelope available when you need it.  

What about “Bountiful Blessings”?

 “Bountiful Blessings” is the name of our fund to pay our current mortgage. Our accounting practice is to keep our mortgage separate from our general fund for ongoing ministry, and that’s reflected in the fact that there are separate Bountiful Blessings envelopes whenever your offering envelopes come in the mail. Many members give generous Bountiful Blessings gifts to pay for the building that supports our ministry. Over the last 14 years, those gifts have allowed us to pay down our $3.5 million mortgage to just over $2 million today while never missing a payment.

We need to keep supporting our mortgage through construction and beyond. Therefore, Bountiful Blessings will continue until our current mortgage is paid off, either through gifts received or as part of the initial draw on the construction loan. So, if you have been giving toward Bountiful Blessings and want to continue, by all means, keep doing so! The more we can pay down our current mortgage, the lower our future mortgage will be after we construct our new sanctuary.

On the other hand, we’ve heard from people who are passionate about supporting the new sanctuary construction. If that’s you, then by all means, join with us in building up funds for construction!

“Bountiful Blessings” gifts will go toward mortgage repayment. “Building Connections Fund” gifts will go toward building expansion. You should find both kinds of envelopes in the next packet you receive in the mail, and both options are available for PushPay gifts as well. In the end, both kinds of gifts serve the same purpose—providing the building we need to carry out gospel ministry here in Lake Mills.