When the Jacksonville Baptist Association retired its mortgage debt earlier this year, there was no doubt in Lead Missional Strategist Rick Wheeler’s mind what to do with the extra money in their budget.
He would get it back in the hands of JBA churches.
So the same day that JBA network pastors, leaders and friends gathered to celebrate the burning of the association’s mortgage note, Wheeler unveiled a plan for a micro loan initiative, allowing churches in good standing with the Cooperative Program and the Association the opportunity to borrow money with simple loan terms for expenses that fall outside of the church’s normal operating budget. Go here for details of the note burning ceremony: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1674
The micro loan initiative will be managed by the JBA Equip team, which is headed by Mark Seagle, lead pastor of Mandarin Baptist Church.
Seagle shared that Wheeler got the idea for the loan program from another state association that has been doing it successfully for many years. The program was researched and shaped to fit the context of Northeast Florida churches. It was approved by the JBA leadership team in late May, and churches are currently able to submit an application for consideration.
Jeff Litton, missions engagement coordinator for JBA, said ideally churches will use the loans for unexpected expenses such as repairs that may be too big to be covered through the normal budget but not big enough to warrant going to the bank to pursue a loan.
The minimum amount a church can borrow is $5,000 and the maximum amount is $30,000 with a maximum repayment period of five years.
Churches requesting funds must have the loan request approved during a business meeting, and that approval must then be submitted with the loan application to JBA.
“It’s a good way to keep everyone accountable,” Litton said of the business meeting approval.
Seagle said it’s a joy to be part of the JBA Equip team, and he’s proud of the network’s efforts to give back to churches in tangible ways.
“We are a huge advocate for our churches,” Seagle said. “There’s no selfish gain in this.”
For Wheeler, the micro loan initiative is just one more way the JBA network works together to further the Kingdom and the Gospel in Northeast Florida.
“We are honored to launch this micro loan initiative to help churches thrive and help one another,” Wheeler said. “To God be the glory.”
Nicole Kalil is the Jacksonville-based reporter for the Florida Baptist Witness, the official news source of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She can be reached by phone at 904.596.3169 or via email at nicole.kalil@goFBW.com