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Congregation Lending Solutions

How Good Stewardship Can Build a Timeless Church Legacy

The design of Immanuel's new building in front of the original church, closer to the street for community visibility.

Simpsonville, S.C., hosts natural beauty, where residents enjoy local parks and lakes just an hour from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The community values God’s creation, so when the plans for Immanuel Lutheran’s new sanctuary required cutting down two large beloved oak trees that sat at the front of the property, the design team needed to craft a unique solution.

Rev. Jeffrey VanOsdol, senior pastor at Immanuel, worked with the congregation’s building committee and an architect on several options of spacing for the new sanctuary, but to make good use of the land, the trees needed to go.

“We worked with the architect to try to incorporate the trees and decided to take the wood from tearing them down and make building materials, possibly some flooring,” VanOsdol said.

“It’s not going to be green and leafy anymore, but it will serve another purpose: to house our worshipping community.”

Creative use of resources
This is just one example of Immanuel Lutheran’s creative tenacity in discovering ways to repurpose and resource the growth of their church. Another idea came from selling off part of their three-parcel property that hosts the original house where the congregation met when it started.

“The developer is going to take some of the beams from that original house and incorporate them into the build for new condo units,” said Dana Emberton, building committee chair. “This sale is also going to help us ultimately be debt-free after we finish the build and receive all the commitments from our church members.”

In addition to selling part of their property, they also acquired $783,000 in funding from the John C. Lasko Foundation, a trust established to provide grants for the construction of sanctuaries.

“It really is amazing how God is putting together all the funding with the help of an LCEF bridge loan, so we can have a stable financial future.”

What is a construction bridge loan?
Construction bridge loans provide short-term financing to fill the gap between construction completion and the collection of building fund dollars. LCEF’s construction bridge loans have just one closing, saving your congregation time and money.

A key partner
In fact, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has served as a partner with Immanuel from the beginning. LCEF financed the original building loan in 1991, which the church paid off a few years early due to a growing membership and began to save toward a future build.

They then turned to LCEF for ministry clarity in 2018. Through that process, they discerned what they thought they needed: a new sanctuary and church space and to turn their current building into a preschool. That move paid off.

“We have one of the largest LCMS preschools in the state,” VanOsdol said. “It is a major aspect of our ministry to the local community.”

The church is also growing rapidly as families from other states relocate.

“Many of us are not from here and our church community becomes like an extended family for those without family nearby.”

Cramped space problems
This growing family needs a bigger house to worship in.

“There are things that get missed when you don’t have enough space to host your church family,” Emberton said. “When we can’t worship together because there is not enough room, we miss the value of being one community.”

The new sanctuary will facilitate a traditional liturgical worship service, with vaulted ceilings, a stained glass window with the image of a Lutheran rose and their beautiful pipe organ, elevated in the air to see the pipes.

“It is my hope that the new sanctuary and ministry spaces will help build a foundation for our future, as more families continue to become members and the youth grow up in a building that can serve them for many years,” Emberton said.

“It really is amazing how God is putting together all the funding with the help of an LCEF bridge loan, so we can have a stable financial future.”

– Dana Emberton,
Building Committee Chair

Vibrant outreach
In addition to the sanctuary, the new building will allow ample space for a few anchor ministries, such as the vibrant quilting ministry that just sent more than 100 quilts to help those in need. They also host an active braille resource ministry, Lutheran Braille Workers, which gifts the blind or visually impaired with Bibles, devotionals and other Christian materials.

“It will be wonderful for our church family to have the space we need to continue all kinds of ministry for years to come,” VanOsdol said. This project, like many others, is made possible through LCEF’s financial products and services.

“LCEF has always been a part of our story and will continue to be.”