We have some exciting news to share. Substance is going to be launching a brand new campus coming up this August. For some of you this doesn’t come as much of a shock. After all we keep setting new attendance records at each of our locations. But, as we announce this joyful expansion, I thought it’d be helpful to give you a quick recap regarding all of our upcoming facility plans.
Facility planning for Substance has always been a bit nightmarish. Our church tends to reach a demographic that is altogether unique. We always say that Substance targets the unchurched…but, based on our congregational surveys, thus is actually true. Very few of our attendees had any sort of consistent attendance before Substance. Thus, concepts like tithing are incredibly new. Couple this with our youthful median age and the result is that we tend to have a lower income per attendance ratio than most churches.
But despite the tight financials here at Substance, we’ve still managed to be one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S.. (& i attribute part of this to our dynamic volunteer leadership core : ) But I liken us to being an unfinished orphanage that keeps getting 15 new babies dropped at our doorstep each week. We desperately need to expand our orphanage; yet, the downpayment for expansion is still a bit more than we can handle as we take on new babies.
For example, a suitable building for a church our size would probably cost around 10 million dollars. (And I realize that it sounds like a large amount of money… but, it’s actually a pretty conservative building and projection for a church of our size). Yet, banks won’t even look at us until we’ve got around $4 million in the bank. It’s just a different economy than it was five years ago. But, by God’s grace, we will navigate this dilemma with flying colors. In fact, in our first catalyst offering, we raised over $303,000 dollars (which is pretty stinkin’ amazing for a singular offering – especially when we don’t even know where this building is going to be!)
But the Big Question that Remains is this: What do we Do in the Meantime? After all, we’ve functionally outgrown our current configuration already. In fact, last Sunday we set our highest attendance record ever – and it wasn’t even a holiday! However, barring a miracle, we’re still, at least, 15 mo. away from breaking ground. And even once we break-ground, it’s probably another 17 months before completing the construction.
So initially, the trustees & I thought: Let’s just launch another venue in a high-school auditorium. But, launching another portable venue costs money (usually about $250k) & we need every dollar to stay moving towards this down-payment. But recently, Spring Lake Park high-school came to us & asked: “Would you ever want to launch a location with us?
And you’ve got to understand: This is unheard of! I’ve spent years begging public schools to be open to renting. So, when Spring Lake Park came our way, we just felt like it was an opportunity that was straight from heaven.
So Here’s the Big News: Starting August 21st Substance will be adding 2 More Services at SLP! This means, 7 services in 4 locations! If you haven’t been to the auditorium before it basically looks like a nicer, newer Fridley with a bigger foyer. Obviously, we’re still trusting God to help us acquire the down-payment for a permanent campus. We also believe that we’re going to be launching new campuses on every side of the city. (In fact, we’re already looking at high schools on the south side.) And at our current rate of growth we may have to launch another venue or two before we complete our building.
So here’s what you can do: (1) be praying for us. This is a fun time of expansion. But all expansions have a spiritual cost, right? (2). If you want to be a part of our Spring Lake Park Launch team, we already have about 270 people signed up. But we could always use more. Remember: We’re starting with two services there. And we will need to replace many of these leaders at our other campuses. So, email email@example.com to enlist. But, no matter which campus you attend, we’re all “moving upward.” And lastly, (3) Tell your friends! Did you know that Blaine, Coon Rapids and other parts of Anoka County are some of the most unchurched counties in the state of Minnesota? (Less than 5%). I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. But, spread the word. Stay connected! And get ready for a fun summer!