By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — In an effort to cut costs and provide more funding for ministry, Cumberland Baptist Association recently sold the building it constructed in 1988.
The association has relocated to the former parsonage of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Clarksville, said Rick Stevens, director of missions for the association. The parsonage is on the church property.
Stevens said associational leaders had been considering the possibility of selling its building for some time. The building needed about $60,000 worth of deferred maintenance, he observed.
In addition, Stevens said the association’s needs have changed since the building was originally built 30 years ago. “We are no longer building-centered,” he observed, noting he frequently meets with people throughout the association at their churches, coffee shops, or restaurants.
In addition, the building was not in a convenient location for many of the association’s churches, the DOM added.
The association’s Executive Committee voted to sell the property to a local engineering company in August. In a called meeting of the association, messengers unanimously affirmed the sale.
As they looked at places to relocate, Spring Creek Baptist offered the use of its former parsonage. The association will pay utilities and a maintenance fee for use of the facility, Stevens said. “This works out well for us and them,” he observed.
Stevens said the building still has office space and if a large meeting space is needed, Spring Creek has offered space in the church as needed.
The association already was debt free, but now does not have to “worry about spending money on property,” Stevens continued. “We are built to strategically resource our churches to do Great Commission ministry. We do that best when we’re out in our churches.”
Spring Creek pastor Will Binkley observed that a church does not survive to be 210 years old without an ability and willingness to adapt to change.
“We want to be a church that gives radically because we have been given so much in Jesus Christ. What we have is not our own but has been entrusted to us by God for the growth of His kingdom and all of our resources are at His disposal for that great work,” Binkley said.
He related that when Stevens and the association approached Spring Creek with a proposal about housing the offices of the CBA on our campus, “we were excited to help.
“The Cumberland Baptist Association has been a tremendous help to this church through a very challenging decade and opening up our unused parsonage for their offices seems the least that we can do to give back to our association’s efforts to advance the kingdom.
Stevens said the proceeds from the sale of the building will go into a ministry fund that is named in honor of Harold Shoulders and in memory of LeAnn Fambrough. Shoulders was the association’s DOM when the building was constructed. LeAnn Fambrough was the daughter of the association’s building custodian who died at a young age of an asthma attack.
Shoulders, now in his 90s, will be recognized for his contributions to the association at its upcoming annual meeting in a few weeks.
For Stevens, the decision to sell ultimately was a matter of stewardship.
“It freed up money for ministry and is a win-win for everyone,” he said.