Unless we change the way we fund new church plants and construction and upgrades/reconstructions of existing church facilities, we will fall behind the population growth projected in the Diocese. As a result, the Growth Corporation is reviewing existing funding sources and looking at new, more sustainable investment sources to enable us to catch-up with the church facilities required now, and then accelerate to meet the future needs.
There is already a significant funding gap for existing churches that is limiting ministry-related property enhancements. This funding gap means that parishes defer initiatives that could result in more effective ministry and evangelism. Money is currently raised from parishes for use across the Diocese, predominately for new churches. However, the amount being raised is significantly less than what is required to meet the future population growth projections. As a result, if we try to build churches in greenfields areas to keep up with demand, we will incur a significant debt. Essentially, the way we are funding new churches is not sustainable. The Growth Corporation is modelling this issue and investigating alternative funding mechanisms to see how the gap can be closed.
There is significant potential to establish an investment fund similar to the Federal Government’s “Future Fund” for use to facilitate greenfields and/or urban renewal property developments. This will require substantial management and will be a significantly different way of funding ministry-based property developments.
The Growth Corporation will prepare an options paper for the establishment of funds and work with institutional investors to build funds over the next two years.
There is the potential to allocate some funding from the Property Receipts Levy Ordinance, 1998, once other Diocesan funding commitments are addressed. This needs to be modelled, along with the receipts from future existing urban area developments to determine what proportion of the funding gap will be addressed through the major projects receipts levy.
Parishes currently contribute 2% of offertories to assist in the funding of new church developments in greenfields areas. To meet the population projections over the next 20 years, we will need to be building around one church per year for the next 20 years. Due to the limited funding raised by the 2% levy, we can currently afford one church every four or so years.
We are considering a number of options in consultation with the Property Trust and partner banks to see if this money could be utilised more effectively.
It is important that church plants take ownership of the ministry required, but also the asset they are receiving. The way this has been done in the past is to require church plants to contribute 10% of their offertories for an unspecified period. This has raised questions from the Parishes about what their total debt will be and how long they will be paying off that debt. The Growth Corporation will work with MPC and NCNC to provide a policy position for future church plants to clarify what the overall parish contributions will be.
Anglicare, Anglican Schools and the Diocese currently use similar consultants and construction contractors for property developments. These are usually on a project by project basis. Parishes sometimes use these external providers while at other times they use smaller local providers.
As a Diocese, we are potentially missing dollar savings and improved levels of service by not leveraging the buying power of the Diocese. We could also achieve better value-for-money results by packaging up multiple projects under one contract to enable service providers to provide economies-of-scale savings.
The Growth Corporation will work with Anglicare and Anglican Schools to investigate greater collaboration in property-related procurement.
The NCNC continues to work diligently to raise funds, through donations, for the provision of new churches in new communities. An initiative that would assist NCNC is to develop high quality communication materials for use with potential donors.