Currently, we have received an insurance check for almost $77,000.00. This is the first installment, and it has been deposited in the Roy Lester Checking Account (commonly known as the "Building Fund") for safe-keeping and easy access when the time comes to use it. The parsonage replacement was valued at about $104,000.00 including demolition of the remains and its removal.
Our Trustees (John Price, Steve Slavings, and Elma Gargione) will meet after John gets back from Louisiana, to prepare some options for the Church Council to review. Ultimately, the question is whether or not to rebuild. If we rebuild, what will we do with the property? If we don't, where will the pastors of our church live? How will we help them? These are complicated questions that require a vision beyond the immediate needs to answer wisely. The council will try to articulate these issues clearly before a special business meeting is called to decide this.
When that decision is made, the Trustees will go back to work dealing with what is decided. If bids are needed, about five will be sought and the council will limit those to two. Those two will be presented to a special business meeting to decide which will be accepted. And rebuilding will proceed. If sale of the property is decided and proceeds are to be put in a perpetual trust fund to help pastors pay mortgages, then the Trustees will find some perpetual trusts to present to the Council. Two will be chosen to be approved at a second business meeting.
The options and opportunities are limitless. As your pastor, I value your opinions at any time during the process. All I ask is that we be open with one another all the way through this and strive to be of a single mind in each stage of decisions. Patience is a virtue and a sign of spiritual maturity. You might even find your mind vacillating through the process. Prayer is also warranted - deep and sincere prayer for unity, clarity, and a genuine sense of what the Lord would have us do. This is HIS property in the first place. We are merely stewards of it. It's always right to seek the Master's heart and be diligent about carrying out His wishes. I, for one, look forward to seeing what God will do if we as a body will let Him do it. Finally, I ask that you make every effort to attend any meetings we have that involve you, especially the business meetings! The more active members we have voting, discussing, and praying, the more likely we are to see God's blessing as well!
If there is a church that can do this God's way, it's First Baptist Church of Bakersfield!!