FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1What is Reach? What's included in the Reach initiative?
Reach is a strategic initiative that will expand our ability to reach our neighbors, starting in our city and spreading throughout the world. There are two primary components and two secondary components:
- Collaborate with Zion City Church. Zion City Church is an African-American congregation meeting on the south side of Madison. A portion of Reach funding will be given to the Forest Lakes District of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) to expand and deepen the reach of Zion City Church. This includes supporting the pastor through the Forest Lakes District as the church continues to flourish and grow.
- Secure land and build a permanent home for our growing Fitchburg congregation. A 24/7 location will allow us to better serve the city and the neighborhoods growing all around the proposed site. Blackhawk Fitchburg currently meets in rented space at Savanna Oaks Middle School.
- Maximize space at the Brader Way facility to better accommodate the rapidly growing west side of Madison. Congestion at the Brader Way site is effectively posting a “No Vacancy” sign, especially during optimal morning service hours. We are working to find new ways to address the needs of the 3,600 households which are projected in the Elderberry Neighborhood where the Brader Way facility resides.
- Set aside funds for a potential future site. We’ve seen how God has worked through our sites in the Downtown and Fitchburg neighborhoods and want to be prepared if another similar opportunity arises. As such, the location and details aren’t known, but would be determined as God leads.
Blackhawk has never been about “being big,” and we still aren’t. However, God has uniquely positioned us in the city and we want to remain faithful to what He is doing on campus, in our work places and in neighborhoods throughout the area. In many ways, it’s a matter of stewardship. What will Blackhawk do if God continues to bring people our way? As long as there are neighbors, friends and loved ones who don’t know Jesus, and God continues to transform lives through the mission of Blackhawk, we want to be prepared to wholeheartedly respond.
3What happens if we don't Reach?
The Good News of Christ changes everything. Instead of asking what happens if we don’t Reach, we’re imagining what could happen if we do. For years, we’ve been following God’s lead, moving toward things He’s already doing. We have always been a place that works to provide space and opportunity for those who are on their way to Christ, and perhaps don’t even know it. God has uniquely positioned us in the city and we want to remain faithful to the work He is already doing. In this season, we believe we’ve been entrusted with specific opportunities to respond with the Gospel in our city.
4How long will Chris be at Blackhawk? (When will Chris make decisions about his next season of life and leadership?)
Pastor Chris is working with the Elders to establish a succession plan for a healthy leadership transition. He is accountable to the Board of Elders to execute that plan. Currently, there is no identified successor. Chris acknowledges that he most likely will not be senior pastor in 10 years. Unless God intervenes, that transition will most likely not take place for another 5-7 years.
5What does our relationship with Zion City Church look like?
- What is Blackhawk’s relationship with Zion City Church? ? Blackhawk and Zion City Church are sister churches. We have a unique relationship and currently engage together in LOVE Madison, IF:Gathering Women’s Conference and Love This Book. We hope that our relationship will provide mutual learning, continued collaboration and growth over the years.
- Is Zion City Church going to be a Blackhawk site? No. Zion City Church is its own entity in the community. Zion City Church is considering becoming a member of the EFCA, the same denomination as Blackhawk.
- Will Pastor Coliér be part of Blackhawk's staff? No. Pastor Coliér will not be an employee on Blackhawk’s staff, but he will have access to the resources we use in terms of message series planning/tools, events, conferences and training.
- How will Reach funds be used to establish a sister church relationship with Zion City Church? A portion of Reach funding will be given to the Forest Lakes District of the EFCA to expand and deepen the reach of Zion City Church. This pathway includes supporting the pastor through the Forest Lakes District, as the church continues to flourish and grow.
- Why are we working with Zion City Church? Blackhawk has been developing a deeper relationship with Zion City Church for the past three years. Zion City Church is serving neighborhoods that Blackhawk isn’t currently reaching and it is our desire that they continue to flourish.
6Why not launch additional sites?
We hope to. One proposed project within Reach is to prepare to serve future neighborhoods, as God leads, by positioning ourselves financially to launch a new site in the future. We also have the opportunity now to reach growing neighborhoods around current sites.
7Is Reach giving different than general fund giving?
Yes. Gifts made toward Reach have a separate designation than the General Fund. Gifts toward Reach are over and above regular giving to the General Fund.
8How do I indicate my financial intention to Reach?
At our Sunday services on May 21, 2017, together as a church, each of us will confidentially indicate our total financial intention to the Reach initiative through December 2019 on an Intention Card. Intentions can also be made online at http://reach.blackhawkchurch.org/intention. Completing an Intention Card lets us know that you’re in, and indicates how much you intend to give to the Reach initiative over and above your regular giving at Blackhawk. Adding up all intentions lets us know our total intended amount as a church. The intention step is not a financial transaction; it is a statement of intent and may be altered.
9What is the timeline for implementing Reach projects?
The project timeline is fluid at this early stage. There will be a process in place to develop a more concrete timeline as additional information becomes available.
10What is Blackhawk's current debt? Will the Reach initiative increase the debt?
From the time we moved to the Brader Way site in 2007 until today, we have taken on debt of approximately $21.5 million. The current debt is approximately $10.8 million. For a construction project, it is not unusual for a church to have debt financing in place as an insurance policy for unforeseen circumstances such as cash flow timing and cost overruns. Also, this step ensures no delay in construction. Our plan is that our future debt will be similar to our current debt once we have completed Reach initiative projects. Any potential debt increase would require a congregational member vote. We are committed to reducing the debt as quickly as possible while maintaining a healthy ministry and meeting local and global needs.
11How are major financial decisions made at Blackhawk?
Blackhawk staff and Elders seek guidance and advice on major financial matters from financial and business leaders from within our congregation.
12How can I participate in Reach?
It will take people engaging and investing where they live. It will take a recalibration of priorities. Through Reach, we are asking everyone at Blackhawk to pray, live and give in new ways. As you think about your part in this story, prayerfully consider the following questions:
- Am I growing in dependence on God through prayer, both in my own life and for the sake of others?
- Am I invested in the lives of those around me in ways that are characterized by the Gospel?
- If someone were to look at how I use my resources, what would they learn about my priorities?
- Will my financial intention to Reach allow me to more meaningfully engage in God’s story, starting in our city and spreading throughout the world?
13How can I track progress made toward my Reach intention?
To see progress toward your intended financial amount to Reach, login at my.blackhawkchurch.org/portal/my_pledges.aspx.
14What if my circumstances change and I want to alter my financial intention to Reach?
To increase, decrease or cancel your existing financial intention, first, cancel the original intention. Then if you want to indicate a new Reach intention amount, make a new Reach intention.
- To cancel an existing Reach intention, visit the My Pledges page at my.blackhawkchurch.org/portal/my_pledges.aspx. After logging in, click cancel by the Reach intention, then click yes to confirm. If you only want to cancel a Reach intention, stop here.
- To make a new Reach intention, if still on the website, click “Create Another Intention” or visit reach.blackhawkchurch.org/intention to create the new intention to Reach.
15What is the giving time frame of Reach?
Reach intentions indicate total intended giving through December 2019. Our official Reach giving kickoff is June 11, 2017, but you can begin giving to Reach at any time.
16How do I give to Reach?
Gifts made toward Reach have a separate designation and are over and above regular giving to the General Fund.
- Online giving: Online giving is an easy and secure option for giving to Reach. You can set up a one-time or recurring gift toward your total intended Reach amount at reach.blackhawkchurch.org/give (click on the Give button). You may give using e-check, debit or credit cards. Please note: Blackhawk pays a 2-4% surcharge when you use debit or credit cards. We do not encourage incurring credit card debt to give.
- Offering boxes: You can find offering boxes at the entrances/exits of each worship venue. Checks should be made payable to Blackhawk Church with Reach listed as the designation on the memo line. For cash gifts, write Reach as a designation along with the amount on an envelope provided by the offering box.
- Non-cash gifts: If you wish to give eligible appreciated securities such as stock or mutual funds to Reach, in order to receive giving credit for the full market value and avoid capital gains tax, please complete the non-cash gift form available at http://www.blackhawkchurch.org/noncashgiftform. The completed form can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This information allows us to identify the donor of the securities and the designation of the donation. The form contains account information for your investment provider to make the transfer.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - Congregational Meeting, January 28
1Why do we need a special congregational meeting and member vote to take Reach next steps?
The congregation entrusts general oversight of the church to the Elders, as spelled out in the bylaws. But the bylaws are designed for operations of the church during a normal year. We are in a not-so-normal season in Blackhawk’s history. Per the bylaws, the congregation must approve the borrowing of money and the expenditure of funds in excess of 5% of the budget.
2How will the Reach initiative funds be spent?
Based on the intended Reach gifts, Reach giving thus far and current and future Capital Reserves, we are intentionally pursuing a sister-church relationship with Zion City Church (projected cost of $500,000) and becoming a fixture in the Fitchburg neighborhood with a permanent site (projected cost of $11,000,000-$13,000,000). We are asking for the upper end of the estimate for the Fitchburg site to provide flexibility for the remainder of our planning. We’ll pursue the Brader Way and future site initiatives as the Fitchburg costs are determined.
3 Why is a construction loan needed and how much debt will we incur?
For a construction project, it is not unusual for a church to have debt financing in place as an insurance policy for unforeseen circumstances such as cash flow timing and cost overruns. Also, this step ensures no delay in construction, guarantees payment and completion. When a better construction cost estimate is known, that total cost will be reduced by the Reach gifts and Capital Reserves available at that time. Our plan is that future debt will be similar to current debt once the Reach initiative projects and campaign are complete. We are committed to reducing the debt as quickly as possible while maintaining a healthy ministry and meeting local and global needs.
4What’s the Blackhawk Fitchburg building going to look like and when will it be complete?
Since we are currently in the design process, we don’t yet have firm plans to share. We look forward to sharing the latest floorplan and site plan soon, but it will take a little longer to create conceptual exterior views. As for other parts of the timeline, approval is necessary from the City of Fitchburg Planning Commission to obtain a building permit. Once construction begins, an estimate of twelve months is being used for complete delivery of a building.
5What’s going to happen at Brader Way?
We are waiting to assess the Brader Way options until we clearly understand the final costs of Fitchburg. In the meantime, ministries continue to work together to make the most out of our existing space, and we continue to share this space with our community.
6 What’s happening regarding a future site?
We continue to seek God’s will about where a future site might be located. As God leads, we would add another location that reaches new neighborhoods, multiplying expressions of mercy and justice in our city. We are actively praying but no funds have been set aside at this point.