In 1998, People’s Church faced an enormous trial of survival. The congregation found itself unable to meet its financial burdens because of a failed bond program. Marilyn and I were leading a Bible School in Cordoba, Argentina, when we received a call to come and lead them during this crisis. We pondered the request and sought God’s guidance and thought how ironic to return to the Church where we had served as youth pastors 23 years earlier. God had blessed us, and we found ourselves in a fruitful time of ministry in Argentina. However, we also realized that People’s Church had been an incredible partner with us in Argentina, so now would be our opportunity to help them. Although it was a difficult decision to leave Argentina, we accepted the challenge of leading the Church forward. People’s Church assumed a new mortgage of almost 1.6 million dollars as part of the solution. This new mountain of debt would take 21 years to pay off; we all wondered whether we could do it, but with God’s help, we began an arduous journey that ended in June of 2019.
The financial arrangement afforded us one year to plan for monthly payments. Our yearly income projection fell way short of making these monthly payments. In 1999, in preparation for our task, we created an account called The Joseph Fund; this fund became our strategy to prepare for these intimidating payments. Like the widow in First Kings, chapter four, all we had were empty vessels—we desperately needed God’s provision. We began raising revenue by selling everything we could, the singing Christmas tree, farming implements, a radio station, and of course, we gave weekly offerings.
About 10 years into the loan payments, we applied to another lender to get a lower interest rate. They answered, “You are too big of a risk,” so they denied our application. Although we may have looked too small and insignificant on paper to climb this mountain, God never gave up on us. He helped each step of the way—all the way to the top. This has been our financial strategy this last 20 years:
- Keep missions front and center
- Stay current in our financial obligations to everyone
- Do not incur any more debt
- Keep giving to the Joseph Fund each month
- Keep everyone informed as to our progress
Our Vision Going Forward!
- To invest money and resources into ministry to people
- To implement effective ministries that reach our community
- To continue to improve our facilities with needed renovations
- To save for future projects
- To increase our missions giving in greater capacity