New Life Christian Fellowship has found themselves with a dwindling membership, a $380,000 building and a financial crisis.
â€œWe believe we can build a church to the point that itâ€™s self sustaining, but I donâ€™t think that will happen quickly enough to save us from the bank,â€ said the Rev. Ron Jonathan, pastor at the church.
The 25-member church is currently having trouble paying off the $380,000 building, which was originally conceived as a daycare.
â€œLetâ€™s just say that the administration that was in charge before I was elected as pastor and was overseeing
it evidently didnâ€™t see all that was involved in running a daycare and was losing money,â€ said Jonathan.
The building was built five years ago, and church members are unable to pay the mortgage.
The building, which includes daycare rooms, a gym, kitchen and upstairs offices, is no longer in use.
Church activities are being held in their older building, and electricity use is kept to a minimum in both.
Members hope to find a way out of their financial bind. Their current solution is to share facilities and merge with another church.
â€œI really do think itâ€™s going to pan out,â€ said Jonathan. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of people struggling financially in these last five or 10 years with the economy dropping, and itâ€™s caught a lot of people by surprise.â€
If two churches were to merge, they could hold services together in the main sanctuary, which holds 250.
New Life Christian Fellowship is also open to giving up the new building for another churchâ€™s use.
Although the church has taken out an advertisement, they have yet to receive interest. Members arenâ€™t worried, however. They believe the Lord will provide.
â€œIsnâ€™t that what faith is?â€ asked Carolyn Butler, a member. â€œWhen it looks like everythingâ€™s wrong, still believing?â€
Butler and members like her refuse to give up on their church.
â€œIâ€™ve grown up in this church,â€ said Anita Nagle, a member. â€œIâ€™ve been here since I was a little girl.â€
Theyâ€™re also not ashamed to ask for help.
â€œThe Bible says you have not because you ask not,â€ said Butler. â€œWeâ€™re asking.â€
The entire church is involved in finding a solution.
â€œRight now weâ€™re having business meetings every other Sunday night, and the whole church sits in and shares ideas,â€ said Jonathan.
No matter what avenue they end up taking, members refuse to give up.
â€œThis is my home church,â€ said Debra Smith, a member. â€œThis is my church family. Thereâ€™s no other place Iâ€™d like to be.â€
by Amy Wadsworth