Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A new building project in the wake of financial crisis

So here we are, just a few days after the launch of our exciting new project! As we have just released the video and the information I wanted to take the time to reflect on some of the things we have been through to get us here and to start to understand what it means for Shekinah now. 

To truly understand 2017 we need to reflect a little bit on 2016. Last year was a year when we relied on God's goodness and provision and His unrelenting willingness to hold true to His promises. Matthew 6:31-33 "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

We saw that promise fulfilled, we lived that promise and those words and through many different channels all our needs were met in 2016 in remarkable fashion! So now, here we are, just a few short months later and truly, our prayer is still the same, all we are asking is for God to provide so that our needs may be met. That is where this timber frame cabin project comes in. 

The need to replace the shanties was identified over a decade ago, but through staff turnover, floods and other challenges this vision has not been fulfilled. To many the reasons are straightforward, but let me just run through the top, just in case you weren't aware of all of them:

In no particular order:

  1. The shanties are 27 years old and are tired to say the least
  2. We have wonderful facilities here at Shekinah, all that we are missing is the matching sleeping accommodations for the chalet and allowing the chalet to be used to its full potential
  3. School groups and rental groups regularly do NOT book to come to Shekinah because of the sleeping accommodations (mattresses on the floor)
  4. We can realistically expect to increase our revenue by $75 000 a year due to improved sleeping accommodations to complement the chalet
  5. While some campers and schools enjoy the "rustic experience" of the shanties, their setup and condition generally causes more complaints than compliments

If you need to hear more reasons, just give us a call!

So this is our need, but our need is greater than just this. We need to make sure that we remain in a financially secure place. Shekinah, just like any other camp, needs the help and support of the people who care for it. The reality is that if we do not receive that help we will not be able to fund the programs that people love, we will not be able to pay the staff that make Shekinah what it is and we will not be able to be the good stewards that we are entrusted to be.

We wrestled long and hard with how exactly to set up our fundraising initiative. How do we raise the money for this project and pay all our bills? How do we separate things so that we can commit the money to where we say we will commit it? How do we proceed in a way that will ensure the success of Shekinah without putting ourselves at risk?
Shekinah Summer staff at 2017 Flying Fox training

These are all questions that we have wrestled with for the last two years. As we have all sought to understand the how's and the why's a bit more we have also come to realize that we need to also have faith. If we were to wait until we had everything in place the time may never come. On the back of a lot of prayer and with faith in our God to provide we have embarked on this journey, and we are inviting you to join us on the adventure! 

As we seek to raise funds we are still raising money to make sure that summer camp is a success and that we can care for all the facilities of Shekinah. We have setup up the 75/25 structure to ensure two important milestones are achieved. The 75/25 structure means that for every $1 you donate to Shekinah's Operating Fund $0.25 will go towards the cabin project up until we reach our budgeted target of $80 000. When we reach that figure you can be confident that we will have the funds to successfully see 2017 to it's close in a financially healthy way. It would be irresponsible of us to raise funds and put it towards a building project if we are struggling to make payroll and likewise it is unwise for us to wait any longer when the benefits are so great and, really, the potential to generate more revenue for our operations is huge!

If we were any other business the decision would be easy. Anytime you can borrow money for a capital investment and have it pay for itself in under three years you should probably do it! That's not how we operate and that's not how we are called to operate as a Christian ministry. We believe that God will provide, perhaps through you, but also inlays we cannot currently imagine. In doing so, when these are complete we will be free of the debt and the revenue potential that will have been generated can be invested back into our staff and our ministry and into the lives that we touch and connect with. 

Our goal is to complete the first cabin by the end of our senior teens week (13-18 August 2017). That means we need to hit the $80 000 mark by then. We have approximately $55 000 to go and so I ask you to do 3 things to help us get there:

  1. Pray and believe for with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37 & Matthew 19:26)
  2. If you are interested in helping and getting involved, talk to us, it takes more than money and it starts with a desire!
  3. Put your money where your heart is. If you feel God calling you to help support us, listen, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
We are on a journey and I am certain it will be an exciting and terrifying ride, stay tuned for there will be more to come!

For more information on the project please click here!

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