ST. PAUL'S LUTHERAN CHURCH & SCHOOL
Pastor Thomas on Celebration Sunday: “God continues to bless us abundantly! There are times in life when you have to realize that you are witnessing God at work. Today was one of those times for me personally. When we all heard that the amount pledged was $14.3 million*, I was filled with a sense of joy and awe. How moving it was to see people cheering, clapping, and wiping tears from their eyes!
Read more about ministry expansion campaign events by expanding the dated tabs above
AT A GLANCE
FAQs also outlined and updated in section below
Held August 26-29, 2023
To begin each week with God's Word in mind, our campaign prayer coordinators share a Mindful Monday devotion.
For the church, the Living Stone service will gain a much-improved and dedicated worship space, the entire congregation will gain a much better fellowship space for the Fellowship Breakfast, and the outreach efforts of the church will gain greater opportunities to engage the outside community in these expanded facilities.
In addition, the dramatic increase in school enrollment over the past three years has caused even the new school building to be filled. There are no open classrooms, and even Spanish instruction will need to be moved from room to room beginning this fall.
This enrollment expansion is continuing, with two kindergarten classes again needed in the 2023-2024 academic year. In addition to the quantity-related need, there are quality-related education improvements that the new expansion will provide, particularly in the areas of student-teacher interaction, music, drama, and athletics.
While the cost of the current building design is nearly $20 million, the design is being reviewed by a committee from St. Paul’s, Cordogan Clark Architects, and Pinnacle Construction.
The goal is to bring costs down without sacrificing valuable ministry space.
The current plan calls for no decrease in parking spaces once the project is finished.
The architect’s renderings depict a very attractive design that blends seamlessly with the existing structures.
The new buildings and the 2020 school were designed architecturally to fall below the visual sight line of the sanctuary, keeping the church building as the most prominent structure on the St. Paul’s campus.
The new structures are two stories tall, with a small-footprint storage level below ground.
Over the past three years, as school enrollment rose, a dramatic increase in Baptisms and confirmations occurred.
For example, the number of adult confirmations more than doubled from 32 during the three years prior to the new school being built to 74 in the three years following the construction of the new school.
The number of Baptisms directly attributed to the school, Early Childhood Center, and Parents’ Day Out Program increased from 10 in the three years prior to the new school to 41 in the three years following the construction of the new school.
The remaining 1950s and 1960s facilities will continue to age and deteriorate, requiring increased maintenance and equipment replacement costs.
The school will not be able to expand to two classes per grade, as needed, and will need to turn children away in the coming years. We will have two kindergarten classes again this coming year, resulting in the absence of a dedicated room in which Spanish can be taught.
As members of the body of Christ, we are not only excited about ministry efforts that directly benefit us.
We are also very supportive of any ministry effort that will bring others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. This is why we are so supportive of foreign ministry opportunities around the world. They do not benefit us, but they bring abundant and eternal life to many.
While the vast majority of St. Paul’s members will benefit directly from this ministry expansion campaign, we all rejoice and give thanks to God that many others will be added to the Kingdom of God as a result!
The campaign “kick-off” was Sunday, August 27, and the “Commitment Sunday” (when pledges are received) is Sunday, October 29.
It is a five-year campaign because of the amount that needs to be raised. It is hoped that the same amount of monthly sacrificial giving that is over and above normal offerings for a three-year period could be extended by those making offerings for an additional two years.
It is also hoped that a five-year campaign will avoid the need for a “debt-reduction campaign” after the initial campaign has concluded. With strong and enthusiastic participation by members, a very manageable debt will be incurred by St. Paul’s.
Five years is the longest campaign timeline recommended in the capital campaign industry because it is very difficult for people to project beyond that time horizon. Therefore, they become extremely hesitant to make a significant sacrificial commitment for seven to 10 years. It is believed that St. Paul's has the capacity to raise the needed funds within the five-year time horizon, and due to the nature of the construction project, it simply can't be easily broken into smaller pieces and pushed into the future. This project needs to be fully planned on the front end to be effectively executed by the construction company. So the available funding must be accounted for to get lenders and contractors aligned around the construction plan.
Building costs have increased dramatically over the past three years.
One source indicated that the same project three years ago would have cost approximately $15 million. Unfortunately, there is no indication that building costs will decrease in the future.
The more that is raised, the less that needs to be borrowed. With this in mind, the goal for Tell the Wonders He Has Done is $15 million.
In addition to providing a much more appropriate, reverent, and attractive space for the Living Stone worship service, the space will also serve as the school’s lunch dining space Monday through Friday.
It offers a “comfortable space” for events, presentations, dramas, banquets, and celebrations for audiences of up to 250 guests.
From a church and ministry standpoint, St. Paul’s is fully staffed with the exception of an assistant kantor.
It is also an excellent time to build upon the momentum of the past three years and make it possible for our school to continue its enrollment expansion.
Finally, costs and interest rates continue to climb and there is no indication that either will decline in the future.
At the earliest, construction could start in April or May 2024.
Construction is projected to take 16-18 months.
It is important to note that we have not voted to build anything yet and will not do so until all pledges have been received.
The plan is to hold a special voters’ meeting on Sunday, December 17, 2023, in order to make a decision on the projected building program.
If sufficient funds are not pledged by that time, different options will be discussed by the voters at that meeting.
A significant number of parking spots will be lost during construction.
The City of Des Peres will be adding 30 parking spaces next to St. Paul’s older school buildings very soon.
In addition, St. Paul’s plans to resume the van shuttle that operated in the past between the Edward Jones parking lot and St. Paul’s east lobby.
The ministry expansion campaign will have no impact on school tuition.
Absolutely. Only the campaign financial director and the pledge recorder will see the pledge cards, by necessity.
The dramatic increases in Baptisms and confirmations that followed the construction of the new school (see above) demonstrate that our school, Early Childhood Center, and Parents’ Day Out Program are powerful community outreach ministries.
Absolutely not. St. Paul’s will continue aggressive efforts in all areas of ministry to “Strengthen the saved and save the lost.”
Circumstances can certainly change over five years, for the better or for the worse. Some may not be able to give the full amount they desired and pledged. Some may be able to increase their pledge amount.
St. Paul’s has very generous financial aid available and does not want finances to be the reason that children do not attend St. Paul’s.
Parents who have financial concerns are always encouraged to speak with Principal Walker about these concerns.
A Contingencies Committee, including members from church, school, and other impacted groups, will be formed to explore options and make recommendations months before a change is needed. The team will look at alternative worship gathering spaces, as well as school lunch options, and athletic/PE considerations.
This is difficult to know exactly, but based on data from a private school handbook, there are 31 parochial (religious-based) primary schools with an average attendance of 226 children (which takes into account ECC and preschool; St. Paul’s is listed as having 369 children). If you exclude five schools with fewer than 100 children (outliers), the average size is 259 children. The two largest are Christ Community Lutheran (745) and Zion Lutheran Harvester (560). Class sizes are very difficult to estimate as the data is listed by student-teacher ratios; frequently, there is more than one teacher per class.
Even though the basement level is no longer "large" because the kitchen, cafe, and Living Stone will be on the main floor, what would be the cost of putting in a full basement for future needs?
We are awaiting this information from the architectural firm.
Cost savings are the reason there is not even more storage. It is important to point out that the basement storage is about 2,800 square feet and that there is additional storage available on the ground level and second floor.
Yes, it is already in the plans to have the school building open for cutting through to get to church, both for safety reasons and for inclement weather.
The solar panel option is complicated, but we have asked the architects to look at the possibility. We will also need to look at the savings and how the incentives are structured. Since the church does not pay property taxes, there may be a limitation on the incentives that we could receive.
The alcohol policy is a matter for the board of elders, church council, and pastoral staff to consider. The current policy does not allow any alcohol on campus.
It is being considered but is not in our current plans due to cost. We have requested an estimate from the architectural firm to see what the additional cost of this would be. The covered walkway could be added in the future.
More parking, like more storage, is always wonderful to have. Our campus is landlocked, however. We simply cannot go out in any direction without going over property lines. This is why we are digging down to gain additional storage space. Simply stated, we cannot add parking without taking away square footage of building space. There will be parking available in Des Peres Park; we have a joint-use agreement with the City of Des Peres to allow us to use the park for parking for church and other events.