Va. Baptists (SBCV) open new mission center
GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia have celebrated their 15th anniversary by dedicating the state convention's new mission center building.
Since the SBC of Virginia's birth in 1996, the convention has been renting office space in Glen Allen, Va. SBCV leaders see God's hand in the opening of new debt-free offices just a stone's throw from the current location.
"Because the building was built debt-free, we are now able to put $25,000 a month back into maturing, mobilizing and multiplying our churches," said SBCV President Mark Becton, pastor of Grove Baptist Church in Richmond. "Our SBCV leadership has done a masterful job creating a building that enables us to offer the Lord our best without waste or excess."
The convention formerly met in space that was spread over two floors of an existing office building. The arrangement left a lot of unused space but entailed additional cost when added rooms were needed for after-hours events.
SBC of Virginia leadership prayerfully began considering options to purchase office space two years ago, around the same time that the convention's long-term mission plan, called Vision 20/20, was launched. Owners of the former office approached SBCV leaders with an offer to allow them to purchase another lot owned by the same company and build an office that would suit the SBCV's needs. When the owners offered to allow the SBCV to end the current lease a year early without financial penalty to move to the new location, SBCV leadership knew it was an opportunity they could not refuse.
"I feel truly blessed and grateful for a mission support facility with no landlord or mortgage, indebted only to the Lord of Lords, Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider," said Doyle Chauncey, SBCV's interim executive director.
The new mission center cost $2.7 million to construct and was funded from opportunity funds (savings and investments) and the SBCV Foundation. SBCV leaders also considered the money they would save each month by not having to pay rent.
"No rent and no debt are indeed reasons to celebrate, especially in this stagnant, unstable economy," Chauncey said. "The significant savings gained by not renting will be invested in strategic missions and ministries."
Until recently, opportunity funds had been used to help support new church plants. Although those funds are no longer available, the SBCV will have added funding for new church plants with the money they will save from not paying monthly rent.
"When the SBCV first started, some thought the organization, which actually began meeting as a fellowship of less than 20 conservative churches in 1993, would not survive," Chauncey said. "Not only has SBCV survived, but God has allowed the convention to thrive. He has graciously blessed us with more than 550 affiliated churches and church plants and, since our genesis, the churches have faithfully contributed more than $96 million to the Cooperative Program through the SBC of Virginia."
The new office was dedicated during the SBCV's Executive Board meeting Oct. 10-11.
Brandon Pickett is the director of media services for the SBC of Virginia; Brittany Conner is a freelance writer in Midlothian, Va.
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