SBTF funds first loans as direct lender, plans to redeploy_x009d_ money for ministry

The Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation signed agreements this summer lending funds to two Texas churches—a move that marks an expansion in direction and goals within the foundation. Until now, the foundation has served as a loan originator but has not served as direct lender. With a previous focus in planned giving, which remains an important part of the SBTF’s commitment to serving churches, the foundation now looks excitedly toward furthering its ministry reach and bolstering its ability to serve Texas churches through this expansion into direct lending.

The foundation funded its first two loans Aug. 21, re-financing an existing loan for $500,000 with Arlington Park Baptist Church of Arlington and approving a $300,000 building renovation loan for Jordan Missionary Baptist Church in Lancaster. Three other loans have been approved but have not yet been funded.

SBTF Executive Director Bart McDonald said funding the foundation’s first two loans is a significant milestone. McDonald aims to build the foundation’s loan portfolio with the goal of returning the investment made by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, which has contributed to the foundation since its founding in 2005. Embarking into the world of direct lending to qualifying churches will play a major role in growing the foundation to a point where it can become a viable funding source to support convention operations for years to come.

McDonald said the most important part of the foundation’s work is delivering value to churches. To this end, he said if another lender can offer a church a better rate, he will encourage them to take it. In many instances, however, the foundation can negotiate competitively and with an added benefit that many churches find appealing: Whereas the interest paid to other lenders pads shareholder pockets, interest paid on foundation loans returns to ministry.

“The money we make,” McDonald said, “Is redeployed for ministry.”

Ultimately, the more money the foundation can bring in, the more money the SBTC can free up in its budget for missions and evangelism tasks.

The same concept is true with the foundation’s ability to serve churches through investing, which McDonald said can be negotiated for terms as short as 30 days. One church, he recalled, was able to make grand strides in its capital campaign after investing $400,000 it had been holding in a checking account. The interest earned from that investment covered the financing of the remainder of the capital needed.

Essentially, McDonald said, the foundation’s ability to serve as a direct lender allows it to “make money so we can give money away,” and serve churches.

Churches interested in applying for a loan through the foundation can call McDonald at (817) 552-2500 or visit sbtexasfoundation.com/index.php/ministries/church-financing to fill out an application.

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