FENTON, MI – At the 61st Annual Convention Meeting of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) on November 9th, 2018, at Grace Church in Jackson Michigan, it was voted by the church messengers to grant the BSCM Executive Board the ability to sell the BSCM Ministry Building in Fenton, MI.
The officers of the State Convention along with the State staff thought it best to respond in writing to the questions that they have been receiving during personal conversations. As always, we are better as a Convention as we clearly communicate with one another while pursuing God’s desires. Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we received along with the responses given by the BSCM Officers (President Scott Blanchard, 1st VP Roy Henry, 2nd VP Ed Emmerling, Past President Jerome Taylor and the BSCM Executive Leadership Team).
1. Where will the BSCM staff work if we sell the building?
Jerome Taylor – Our BSCM staff are exceptional in their understanding that their labors are in the field. They do work that requires miles of travel to meet in the cities, suburbs, and rural communities of the state of Michigan. They also travel around the U.S. to connect with ministry leaders in order to recruit kingdom laborers to our state. As such, the use of a home-based office with the ability to stay mobile is the direction that seems most effective. The staff however do realize the need of a physical strategic location with a smaller footprint. In seeking such…the options for this type of location include:
Partnership with an active local church that has a physical facility with space to accommodate additional office work.
Leasing a communal office space to be a central meeting place as needed.
Taking on the responsibility of a non-active church facility that is smaller than our current building and more cost effective.
Tim Patterson – When the Convention in full session voted on the building sale issue that did not mean that the building in Fenton would be sold, only that the state board was given the opportunity to sell the building if the sale met the criteria that had been previously considered.
Roy Henry – The BSCM staff has multiple options for work locations, should we find a buyer for the building who would pay the expected amount. Working from home is a very viable option for our staff (especially since they spend so much time in the field already), and the plan is to have a smaller footprint, physical office space that will be rented at a considerably lower rate than we are paying for maintenance on our current building. Pastor Tim, our Executive Director, would still be able to provide oversight and accountability for our staff who are working remotely.
Scott Blanchard – When we sell the building, there will be several options in regards to where the staff will work during the week. One thing for sure - we do not want the staff to work remotely from their home or a local coffee shop. We do see the value for synergy and unity when staff are under the same roof. Ideally, we would like to stay within a 30-mile region of our current office location since most of our staff lives within the area and it has proven to be a central location for a majority of our churches. Some ideas for an office location (but we’re not limited to these) would be: one of our churches that has unused office space or rooms that could be converted into offices; or we find a good deal on a lease for 2,000 sq. feet or so.
Pastor Tim Patterson – There are several options as to future space for office housing. There are smaller footprint office spaces for lease, rent or purchase in the Flint and Detroit area. There is also the possibility of utilizing excess space in some area churches. Many churches have offered their facilities to host our board meetings and any events that are planned.
2. What are the benefits to selling the building?
Ed Emmerling – Anything we can do to put more resources into the Kingdom work in Michigan, I want to do. The invested income from the sale of the building will help us do that. I see us using the investments of the sale to carry out ministry in Michigan for decades to come.
Pastor Tim Patterson – The benefits of selling the building would be to convert the value of the building into cash that could be invested in our foundation and the returns be used for ongoing and developing ministries. The Thomas Duke Company was asked to give us a current estimate value of the building and property and they said it would be $1,000,000 or more.
Jerome Taylor – The cost of maintaining our current building which greatly surpasses our needs does not seem to be great stewardship. The building is currently worth around one million dollars as an asset but it costs more than $50,000 a year to maintain it. It also resides in a physical location that is somewhat distant from having a significant impact on a present community surrounding it. There could be an opportunity to make a greater kingdom impact should the physical location be in a greater populated area. Secondly, the value of the building, should it be sold with such a value, could provide for greater future work through our foundation.
Tony Lynn – The sale of the property and building would provide a large body of funds that could be placed into investments through the state’s foundation. The interest from those investments would allow us to do more financially in ministry. The current property and building size exceeds the small team we have serving the state convention. We only need one-third of the space we are currently occupying.
3. Since the BSCM building is paid off, doesn’t it make sense to keep it?
Jerome Taylor – The current value of the building as an asset against the cost of maintenance for the upkeep of the building seems to outweigh the benefit of keeping the physical location.
Pastor Tim Patterson – At present, there are 25 office spaces and multiple support staff spaces. Currently, we only utilize 5 spaces on a daily basis and 3 spaces are used one day a week. The BSCM President and I will be putting together a blue-ribbon team of representatives from our churches to give guidance, counsel and insight with planning and any transition that may take place.
Mike Durbin – Like many other MI Baptists, I volunteered during the construction of our current building. It has served us well, but in the not too distant future, the building will need new shingles, resurfacing of the parking lot, new carpet, and some updating. It’s a lot of building to maintain and update in light of our office needs.
Tony Lynn – When we are able to allow strategy to drive ministry we gain as churches working together to reach Michigan with the Gospel of Christ. The ministry leaders spend a lot of time on the road training, gathering, and encouraging others throughout the state. Members of our churches are constrained with both spouses working and obligations to children’s schedules; therefore, we drive to meet with them. Very few people from our churches visit the offices during the year.
Pastor Tim Patterson – our Executive Director said he did not want to sell the building if it did not clear at least $900,000.00 that in turn could be invested. “I do not believe it would be a wise choice to sell for less. The financial advantage would be too diminished.”
4. How will selling the building affect the work/ministry of the BSCM to the churches?
Scott Blanchard – The staff will continue to work together on behalf of our churches. A “building" does not dictate the effectiveness of our team. In fact, the strong vision from Dr. Tim Patterson is leading our team to be more effective than it ever has been before. As we continue to see that vision, we will see the ministry of BSCM come through regardless of what building they are placed in.Roy Henry – I cannot see how the sale of the building would affect the work/ministry of the BSCM to the churches, since the vast majority of that ministry takes place in the field.
Mike Durbin – Fenton is only one of the places we work. Pastor Tim, Tony and I are often away from the “office” as we serve Michigan Baptists and meet with partners.
Ed Emmerling – Most of the work done by the BSCM staff is done in the field. I see this move as putting even more people in the field. That is the heart of our present-day state staff, wanting to be with people in the field. This will continue to have a positive effect on our state convention.
Tim Patterson – The consideration for the sale of the building came from conversations among various board members and pastors. The value of the building was discussed as well as the cost of maintaining the facilities. Also, the size of the building in relation to the number of staff that presently use the building was discussed. Those conversations lead to the question being raised in an Executive Committee meeting.
5. Where will the Executive Committee and Board meet for their quarterly meetings?
Roy Henry – Executive Committee and Board meetings can take place on a rotating basis around the state, hosted by our sister churches. This would enhance the relationship between our churches and the BSCM, while also periodically reducing the travel burdens our officers and board members often incur (time, fuel, wear and tear, etc.). With these meetings taking place around the state on a regular basis, these reduced burdens would encourage more participation of our churches on the Executive Board.
Jerome Taylor – These meetings would also be strategically be placed in regional communities that provide the greatest connection point for these entities to convene. Some of these would meet in local church buildings.
Scott Blanchard – One of the great benefits of not having a building will be allowing our Executive Committee and Board meet in various locations in our state. Our meetings can be held in just about any church that will allow us. It gives our churches the opportunity to serve our state convention as well.
I believe Pastor Tim’s quote is a good summation, "I personally would like to stay right where we are. It would be so much easier to remain in these facilities, but I do not believe that I would be giving good leadership if we did not at least consider the options. We as a state convention must be good stewards of the assets that God has provided us. To have a property valued at one million dollars or more that is not being utilized to the fullest and that it’s worth could be realized in helping advance the Kingdom, is not something that should be ignored. If it sells, it sells. I have no driving agenda here. Together as a convention family we will walk through this process together. The outcome will be in our Father’s hands, and I will be happy with whatever that might be.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Lynn is Executive Assistant to Tim Patterson, Executive Director-Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. She serves in many capacities and is Tony Lynn’s wife.