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Church debt free two years early

Kimberly Nicoletti

SILVERTHORNE – The community at Abundant Life Church is singing praises that it’s finally debt free.

The congregation made its last mortgage payment in March, paying its loan off two years early. Today, the members celebrate their accomplishment with a barbecue and a short ceremony that includes burning a copy of the mortgage.

“It’s a fairly small congregation, so it was quite an adventurous task,” pastor Russ Goodrum said. Abundant Life Church has about 40 members, and a total of 80 to 100 people attend on any given Sunday.

In 1978, pastors Glenn Behren and Tom Fritch established Royal Mountain Assembly, which later turned into Abundant Life Church. For three years, the congregation met in private homes and public facilities, such as the Silverthorne Fire Station, Ramada Inn and Dillon Town Hall. In 1981, then-pastor Charles Turner envisioned a log-cabin style church and began building it in Silverthorne. Builders completed the church in 1984, and the congregation slowly began paying off the $210,000, borrowed at an interest rate of 13 percent.

In the past three years, the church focused more aggressively on paying off the loan early. It initiated an Adopt-a-Day drive, which challenged members to shorten the loan period by one day through a donation of $25, which literally amounted to a day’s payment.

“People made extra efforts,” Goodrum said. “It presented a challenge. The fact that the church was almost there made it an attainable goal. People’s enthusiasm heightened a bit.” Some members made large, one-time contributions, while others gave small, consistent gifts, he said.

“I attribute the early payoff to God and the faithfulness of the tithes and offerings of his people,” church administrator Kay Robinson said.

The church’s goal of becoming debt free set an example of smart money management and avoided burdening the members financially, Robinson said.

“We feel a certain amount of stewardship to model restraint and discipline,” Goodrum said, “to be a church that’s debt free so people could be responsible with their own living expenses and be more frugal. It’s nice to be debt free, and it’s also a sign that the church is healthy.”

Now that the loan is paid, Goodrum said he will begin repairing equipment in the church, such as the boiler, which is showing its age, and focus on ministry.

“Being debt free enables us to focus some of our finances directly on ministry projects, such as developing a children’s program, missionary work and outreach programs,” Goodrum said.

Everyone is invited to the mortgage retirement party after the 10 a.m. service today, at Abundant Life Church in Silverthorne.


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