It is not uncommon for any organization, religious or secular, to be in debt. However, it is worth celebrating whenever an organization is able to make some changes and pay off everything. We recently sat down with a few of the leaders at NewSpring Church in South Carolina to hear their story.
The NewSpring Story
The church started in 2000 and grew tremendously for 15 years. In 2016, they found themselves at a spiritual crossroads. After going through a leadership change, NewSpring lost a third of their giving. The team felt called by God to reevaluate their thinking and shift their focus back toward the Kingdom. Here are the top four changes they made as a church.
Tithe As A Church
The first thing the leadership at NewSpring felt called to do was to give away ten percent of their donations. In addition to local food banks and churches, they sent donations to Crossover Global, Untold, IllumiNations, and Rock RMS. To be clear, this is not something they believe is commanded of other churches, but they felt it was the right thing to do for themselves. By tithing, it pushed them to trust God with their 10 percent and be more intentional with the other 90 percent.
Take On No More Debt
Not taking on any more debt may sound obvious, but at the time, NewSpring was using debt in order to finance their growth. This tactic is not unusual, but to get out of debt, you can’t keep adding to what you owe. NewSpring became less concerned with growth and more concerned with being good stewards of what God provided.
Divide Donations 50/50
Since many of their campuses didn’t have a permanent home, they still needed to invest in their infrastructure. After salaries were paid, any extra money was split evenly between paying off their debt and campus expansion. This way, they could continue to provide for their members while also slowly paying off everything.
Switch To My Well Ministry
Lastly, NewSpring decided to use My Well Ministry as their payment processor. With their primary income coming from donations, it is critical they receive as much of those donations as possible. They also educated their givers to prioritize ACH as their payment method since it incurs 0% interchange fees. Our pricing model is to only charge churches what it costs us to process gifts. In seven years, we were able to save NewSpring $2 million in credit card charges alone!
Advice To Other Churches
By staying true to these practices, NewSpring was able to pay off $45 million in a little over six years! They were able to give away $27 million dollars to 600 different organizations from their tithing. Not only that, but they also found a permanent location for many of their campuses.
For any church going through a similar journey, it doesn’t require a donor to fix everything with a huge gift. Small incremental changes can make a huge difference. Your ministry team has to be willing to make sacrifices because it won't happen by accident. Figure out what is essential to your church and simplify some of the frills and extra things.
The main thing to remember is to steward the Church's resources with faith and discernment. Debt won't go away tomorrow, but intentionality and patience will bless your church far more than any loan.
How My Well Can Help Your Church
We are very glad that we could help NewSpring become debt-free. We never want to be a processor who stands in the middle, profiting off of churches. Our mission is to help the Church keep more money in ministry. To find out how much your church could save, fill out this savings analysis form.
Be sure to subscribe for more stories like this.