SonRise Church in Berlin, Maryland, just outside of Ocean City, was a “portable church” for 14 years from 2002 to 2016. The SonRise family congregated in a local high school where they set up and broke down their worship center every Sunday. Finally, in 2016, SonRise purchased a unique property on 22 acres that had previously housed an animal pharmaceutical producer. Most of the real estate consisted of warehouses and labs. After a successful capital campaign, SonRise received a loan from a local bank in Ocean City to acquire the property and began upgrading and renovating the buildings to accommodate the church’s needs. Still short of their funding goal, two church members generously offered to lend a hand with interest-free loans. This generosity provided SonRise what they needed to complete the initial renovations.
The interest rate on the bank loan commitment was fixed for five years and subject to refinancing in June 2021. As 2021 and the end of the five-year term approached, the SonRise leadership team worked and prayed to find a way to both refinance their bank loan and pay back their church members. At the end of 2020, SonRise had paid down much of their loan but still had a remaining balance to pay off. The church members were extremely gracious, but SonRise was hopeful to pay them back, at least a substantial amount, in the same timeframe as the bank loan.
The goal was to take advantage of better interest rates and extend a fixed rate for longer than five years. SonRise didn’t personally know anyone from the Ministry Solutions’ team, but through network connections and positive word of mouth Keith Hammer, Executive Pastor at SonRise Church, had been keeping Ministry Solutions top of mind in the event his church had a building project or refinance need. This led him to contact the Ministry Solutions’ team in January 2021.
Tom Gordon, Ministry Solutions’ Director of Finance, led SonRise’s loan refinance. Tom created a strategy to accommodate SonRise’s specific financial situation in the Covid-stressed environment. He helped bankers understand the church environment and provided the information they needed to make SonRise an attractive client. This personalized approach resulted in two loan offers from competing banks bidding for the business.
SonRise achieved its goal of a lower interest rate and longer payoff term. With Tom’s guidance and management of this deal, they significantly decreased their loan terms’ interest rate and went from a 5-year commitment to a 10-year period with the decreased rate. With the money saved from the restructured loan, SonRise was able to honor their church members’ generosity and completely repay them!