If you’ve been to either of our two recent Vision Casting meetings in Wesley Hall or picked up the printed materials that detail Phase I of our Next90 Building Expansion Project, then you know that after years of diligent work by our building committee and church leadership, the time has finally come to for each and every First Church member to catch this vision and make their financial commitment to become part of this unique era of growth in our long history of ministry here in Downtown Fort Worth.
In the Next90 Phase I Capital Campaign, we’ll be raising the remainder of the $15 million needed to complete this phase of construction with no long-term debt. Because we currently have just over $5 million in cash to fund this project, we’re beginning this campaign a little over one-third of the way to our goal!
This will be a two-year financial commitment, payable however best fits your circumstances, to fully fund the completion of Phase One. Ideally, our Next90 Phase II Capital Campaign will launch closely on the heels of our Phase I construction completion, now scheduled for March of 2022.
During the month of February we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about this exciting vision for the future of our church, along with opportunities and encouragement to complete a commitment card and bring it with you to worship on February 23 for our special combined worship service of commitment, consecration, and celebration for our whole, united First Church faith community.
So, what is Next90?
Next90 is about building the foundation for our next 90 years of ministry, leadership, and service in Fort Worth. We are here at the center of the city, a growing community in a time of significant cultural change, to help people put Christ at the center of their lives by worshipping in new ways, connecting people in new ways, and envisioning ministry in new ways. We need facilities to open those exciting doors to a future.
With a long tradition making leaps of faith to ensure the church has the best facilities and resources possible, leaders of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth have kept our church well-positioned to meet its mission and ministry goals.
Ninety years ago, breaking ground on the day the stock market crashed to begin the Great Depression, our church remained faithful and committed to the vision of the church. Despite many uncertainties, the congregation completed our existing Sanctuary the following year.
We are now at the gateway of our own defining moment for the next ninety years, poised to set the course for new generations of transformational ministry in the 21st century.
In February 2018, our yearlong Focus First strategic planning process culminated with a leadership summit attended by 130 church leaders. The top vote-getting priority was the expansion of our facilities to meet current and future ministry needs.
Our church, our city, and our opportunities continue to grow. This year, even in the face of denominational turmoil, our church attendance rose more than 10% over the previous year. Our giving also increased to fully fund our ministry and operating budget.
Phase I (now) includes
- Building a new two-story Children’s Wing addition;
- Remodeling, reorienting, and expanding Wesley Hall to increase its capacity by at least 20 percent;
- Addressing crucial utility infrastructure needs in our current buildings with replacement; of outdated, obsolete, and/or failing equipment;
- Building the utility infrastructure to support the completion of Phase II.
Phase II will complete the project and achieve our ultimate Focus First vision with:
- Three-story vaulted multi-purpose worship and dining space to seat 500 for worship; 320 for banquets, with a 900 square foot platform and four LED screens and state-of-the-art AV system;
- Enlarged kitchen with improved separate delivery corridor;
- Centralized Fellowship Rotunda and Gathering Space finally connecting our campus together;
- New Welcome Center with café, coffee bar, and seating area;
- Indoor two-story playground visible from Fellowship Rotunda, with access from secure area;
- Relocated and expanded outdoor playground;
- New elevators, new first floor restrooms;
- ADA compliant east entry and covered porte-cochere drop-off and walkway;
- Improved basement access for increased and usable storage spaces.
Our church has no indebtedness and a strong annual budget of around four million dollars. The First Methodist Foundation provides more than two million dollars annually, and this income is managed to fund the ongoing capital needs and maintenance operations for our large campus. Because of this Foundation funding (and other generous individual gifts), the church has not needed a major capital campaign for more than 20 years.
The church anticipates fully funding Phase I with a $15 million, two-year capital campaign, projecting no long-term debt from Phase I. This Phase I construction project and this capital campaign should both conclude at the same time, in early 2022, and Phase II can begin as soon as the church is ready to proceed.
FUMCFW has historically been fiscally conservative and debt careful. Our church has also historically been financially faithful and capable of great things in answer to God’s calling. We believe the church can rise to this calling for our next ninety years of ministry.
See you this Sunday in the Sanctuary!