On February 9, 2005, our church purchased the six acres of land on which our facility now sits. God had already graciously given us the $60,000 we need to finalize the deal.
We began to pray and plan as a church for the next step we should take. The Lord partnered us with just the right architect, site engineer, and project management company.
We were out growing the location we were renting at 340 Hwy 90. The search for other lease options demonstrated that construction rather than renting was the wiser approach. The call to arise and build was confirmed by the congregation.
God provided 40% of the money needed through the giving of members and friends from outside. The entire project for site work and building would be $2 million. That was an immense amount of money.
Our building committee of ten men recommended to the congregation that we finance the remaining $1.2 million needed. We had difficulty finding a bank that would work with us. The Lord pointed us toward the selling of bonds using a reputable servicing company.
In June 2006, Anchor Baptist Church began a financing program for the additional money needed to develop the site and construct the building at 3300 Highway 50, Little River, SC.
If we had stayed on track with the program to pay off the bonds over 25 years, we would have paid $1.5 million of interest. Over the next several years, we would aggressively pay off the bonds early. We would pay off the bonds by converting to a traditional mortgage. Even the mortgage would be refinanced. All along the way, the church tried to pay extra on the principle any time we could do so without hindering ministry.
On April 2, 2020 hidden in the camouflage of the coronavirus concerns, we were able to make a final payment to the bank for what we owed. The church paid off the debt more than 11 years early. Instead of paying $1.5 million in interest, we paid $513,363 in total interest expense. We saved nearly $1,030,510 of interest. What a blessing from the Lord!
In Leviticus 25:10-13, we read how the children of Israel release everyone from their debts every fiftieth year. People who were indentured for their debts would be set free from servitude. Properties sold would be restored to the original families. This was known as the Year of Jubilee. It was a time of celebration. It was also a sabbatical year so there were no crops planted. The days of the year, the people and the land were all devoted unto the Lord as holy. It was a grand national reset.
People were not being rebuked because they had sold their properties and themselves. In some cases, it was their only option in the providence of God. The Year of Jubilee was a wonderful demonstration of God’s graciousness.
When we prayerfully voted as a church to use lent money to help us accomplish our project, we knew there was a commitment and financial bondage we were entering. The borrower is slave to the lender.
Those years of being a borrower were not bad years. It is the path the Lord directed us to take. The Lord taught us many lessons during those years.
- We learned that God Himself is the one who supplies our needs. We may put money in the plate and write the checks to the mortgage company, but it was the Lord who made sure we never missed a payment. It was the Lord who enabled us to pay extra. Numerous times, the Lord would prompt someone to give additional money to pay off the loan.
- We learned that God sustains us during catastrophes. When the fire torched our building on Dec 12, 2011, we saw the Lord touch the hearts of several individuals. This resulted in free places to worship during reconstruction, and a completely restored facility with several improvements within seven months. The payoff for loss of contents allowed us to pay even more off on the loan principle. Only God can improve your bottom line by means of a catastrophe.
- We learned that freedom is founded in Christ. John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Circumstances and situations can never put a true child of God in bondage. We are to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal 5:1). You may owe and serve others, but you are still free indeed if you have been liberated by Christ. The moment you trusted Christ as your Saviour, you began your Jubilee of freedom and it doesn’t end after a year. It continues on into eternity.
If we had rented the last 11 years rather than building our own facility as God led, we would have spent considerably more and have zero equity. We still have financial obligations, but with the retiring of the mortgage, we have already been able to direct ministry funds in other needy directions. We have helped missionaries, Christian camps, and edified needy believers through the benevolence fund. We have also been able to make some needed improvements to the facility which God has entrusted to us.
It will be exciting to see how the Lord leads in the days and years ahead as we budget and plan without a mortgage payment. I implore you to pray for guidance as a church and for myself and the deacons as decisions will be made in the era of Jubilee. What does God have in store for Anchor Baptist Church? Will we support more missionaries, add ministry staff, plan for future expansion, or plan for more outreach opportunities? Perhaps it will be several if not all of these and more.
We have much for which we should thank the Lord. In a moment, we will burn a facsimile of our church mortgage. We will sing “Jesus Paid It All” as it burns away. As we sing, praise God for his graciousness to the building program of our church. More importantly, rejoice in the Jubilee that Jesus brings to your soul because when it comes to your sin debt, Jesus Paid It All!