Throughout October–November there are three Q&A Events running at Vine Church. These events are a great opportunity to find out more about the building renewal, hear from architects and key leaders, and get your questions answered. You can ask questions on the day, or submit them below beforehand.
Please note that Rachel Neeson from Neeson Murcutt Architects will be attending Q&A 1 and 2.
A light lunch and dinner will be provided, please register below for catering purposes.
Q&A 1 – Sunday, 27 October (12.30pm with childcare onsite)
Q&A 2 – Monday, 28 October (7pm)
Q&A 3 – Thursday, 7 November (7pm)
Ask a Question
At our Q&A Events there will be time to ask questions from the floor.
If you already know what questions you'd like to ask, please submit them below to allow the panellists to answer them in the best way possible!
All questions are welcome. We will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible, however if you would prefer to be contacted directly about your question let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions
$4.2 million seems like a lot – can we spend less?
We are in an urban development precinct with a heritage building. As a result, the City of Sydney council takes a special interest in what we are doing and will not approve just any design. In order to activate and connect each of the buildings, significant design and construction will need to be done. This is complex and costly.
Can we really afford this?
There’s no hiding the fact that this development will cost a lot of money. But $4.2 million is not much when you consider the long-term impact this building will have under God. $4.2 million is less than the cost of two family homes in Surry Hills. But our investment will build a home to welcome thousands of people into the family of God over the next 100 years. Can we afford it? Only with God’s help. Can we afford not to try? No. Connecting people to the life, love and freedom Jesus offers is far too important.
Does engaging an architect increase the cost? Why do we need an architect, let alone one of such quality?
This project would not be approved by the City of Sydney council without an architect. There are several factors in our situation that have meant engaging a respected architect is necessary. We want a building that is well designed and will last for future generations. Our site is complex in nature with multiple buildings, street frontage and heritage buildings. Rather than wasting time and money in court with a design the council rejects, the parish council believed it was wiser to spend money on an architect who’s design would be well received by council. This approach bore fruit when the Development Application (DA) was approved by City of Sydney council in June 2019.
Isn’t the money better spent on global mission and mercy ministries?
Global mission and mercy ministries are undoubtedly important to our church – but our best chance of multiplying what we are currently giving to missions and mercy is by growing the church.
Over the past 20 years, St Michael’s has struggled to be financially viable. We have seen remarkable change over the last 3 years, with giving to our missionaries quadrupling over this time. Growing churches are able to give more each and every year. If this project will help our church reach more people and grow hearts engaged in God’s global mission, then we will give far more over the next 20 years than what will be spent on this project.
Additionally, Bread of Life, our own mercy ministry, will benefit significantly from this project, with much needed improvement to the hall and kitchen facilities which are used every Sunday morning. The teams from other churches who serve at Bread of Life have already started asking if they can give to Connect.
Moreover, the social welfare organisations of Surry Hills are currently doing similar developments to their buildings. Edward Eagar Lodge, just around the corner from Vine Church, has plans to upgrade their building at a cost of $11.6 million. All Christian organisations know that buildings serve people. And if we want to do ministry well, we need buildings that work for the people in them.
Why doesn’t the Anglican diocese pay for this?
The diocese is the community of all local Anglican churches in Sydney. To expect them to pay for Connect would be like other churches expecting us to pay for their building renewals. Our diocese exists to provide administrative services to the local church. The local churches are where the action is, and the diocese gives each church a lot of freedom to pursue initiatives that they deem best to reach their part of Sydney for Jesus. The diocese provides assistance in other areas, but this is our responsibility, not theirs.
I don’t earn much, why should I give to this?
A good principle when it comes to giving to the work of the gospel is that we want equal sacrifice not equal amounts. For some people a gift of $5,000 over three years will be tough. For others, a gift of $50,000 would not even be a sacrifice. All of us need to set aside time to bring this to God in prayer. Ask him to lead you and give you a heart for him and a heart of generosity. If you are married or have children, do this together. Assess your financial situation and work out what would be sacrificial in your circumstances.
In order to raise $1 million we need on average 100 people to give $10,000. Some of us can give much more than this; others less. Stewardship calls for equal sacrifice not equal gifts.
A good guide is to aim to make a three-year pledge which is twice the amount you normally give to church in a given year. So, if you normally give $3,000 per year, pledge $6,000 to this project over three years. If you can give more, do that. If you are not in a position to do that, do what you can.
This is something our church is doing together. Don’t miss out on the joy of partnering with others in this tangible way of ensuring we continue to reach our city.
If the church is built by preaching the gospel and by prayer, why do we need to build buildings? Will doing this project really help us make disciples and connect people to Jesus?
People have bodies. In order for people to hear the gospel, they must come together and meet.
Buildings are the place where this happens, and we need a building that enables us to preach Jesus the best that we can. We need a building that allows us to pray with one another, sing God’s praises and encourage each other in fellowship to serve God with all our might.
When we started Vine Church we were able to get by meeting in pubs, community centres, and schools. But we got to a point where we couldn’t start a morning service because no one would rent us a facility. We’re convinced that this is our home, but it’s not working for us right now. This project will help us reach out and see people grow in Christ more effectively. Anecdotally, other churches (like ours) have found doing a building project generates relationships in the local community. People see it, and it causes them to go and checkout church.
Investing in a building sometimes seems it’s an alternative to investing in people, but it’s not. The building exists to serve people. Investing in the building is investing in the ministry which will happen here for the next 50 years. That’s why it’s worth doing.
Do you need to raise the full amount, before work can begin?
Yes. By Sunday, 1 December 2019 we need to raise pledges to the amount of $1 million before we can start building in early 2020.
What happens if we don’t raise enough money?
The parish council will consider the following options:
- Put the project on hold for one year and seek to raise the full amount by November 2020
- Put the project on hold indefinitely
- Retrench a staff member and increase our loan amount
The project is worth investing in and will radically change our community life and ability to reach out to those around us. Please give generously so we are able to build in 2020.
Are we asking people to give money, on top of their usual giving?
Yes. Please bear in mind that the day-to-day running of Vine Church depends on people’s regular giving. Giving to this project should be in addition to your normal church giving. Therefore, if Vine Church is your church and you haven’t started giving regularly yet, please start giving regularly first (vinechurch.com.au/give), and then give to the building fund second.
Is there an opportunity to sell other properties owned by the church, in order to finance this project?
The Anglican Church Property Trust does not usually approve building developments that are financed by the sale of other properties. In the past 40 years, many churches in decline began selling their properties to fund their ministry. Today, they are still small and they have lost their assets. If the ministry cannot pay for itself, it should not be artificially propped up by past generations property investments. If 165 years ago, Christians were able to come together to finance the building of St Michael’s, it’s time a new generation had the vision to build something that will benefit future generations of Christians on mission in Surry Hills.
Why can donations be tax deductible?
The Australian Tax Office has endorsed our building fund as a Tax-Deductible Gift Recipient because some of the activities to be held in the building falls into their definition of religious education: Vine Kids, Christianity Explored, and Community Groups. They all provide what the ATO considers regular systematic instruction. However, there are some aspects of the building that we can’t use tax- deductible gifts to pay for: furniture, landscaping, and things that are only used for church services. We are using our cash reserves to pay for these aspects of the building, which means all giving to this project can be tax-deductible.
When are we likely to move in?
We are hoping that construction will start in early 2020 and there will not be any disruptions or significant issues during the build. If all goes to plan we will move in early 2021.
Can we afford the ongoing costs of a loan?
We expect we’ll need to borrow $1 million to finance this project. The Anglican Church has strict guidelines on how much will can borrow and will not let us take on a loan we cannot reasonably service. Over the past three years we have sought to decrease our reliance on income from our residential properties to pay for ministry. We anticipate that in 2020 all our rental income will be used to service the loan. It would be even better to do this project without taking on any debt. If you are in a position to make a sizeable gift or someone in your family is, that will enable us to invest our revenue in kingdom initiatives rather than paying interest on a loan.
Who will see the donation commitment cards?
Just like normal church giving, only the Treasurer, Lead Pastor and Director of Ministry Operations will manage pledges and financial gifts.
If you have more questions, we’d love to hear them. It’s good questions that help the property team ensure they have looked at everything. Please feel free to email us or come to one of the Q&A nights in October 2019.