How to Get Your Lender to Say “Yes”

Category | Church Loans


Whether we’re lending to a church or simply providing educational resources to help pastors keep their budgets and visions on-course, we want to help ministries grow. At a recent Association of Related Churches (ARC) conference, FCR Loan Consultants Peter Ostapko and Emily Brinkley, had the opportunity to host a session titled “How to Get Your Lender to Say ‘Yes.’” They took questions, discussed common mistakes, and carefully explained what questions you should be asking lenders—and what questions your lenders should be asking you.

For those of you who weren’t able to hear them in person, we’ve summarized some of their key points. 

The first thing you need to be prepared to answer is “Why are you looking to expand?” not “How are you looking to expand?” Talking to your lender about your reasons for expanding will help both parties prepare for the future. In fact, if your lender isn’t concerned with why you’re expanding, you may have reason to be wary of moving forward. “I’ve had people come to me and say their lender didn’t understand the church’s initial vision and now the church is growing and it needs a new lender,” Emily says.

But in order to discuss the “why,” you need to know your long-term vision—that’s Emily’s second key point.

Does your vision for your ministry require a larger building at your current site or multiple sites across a specified geographic area? “You’re going to waste a lot of time and a lot of money if you don’t know where you’re going,” Emily says. Before you get to the point where you’re talking to a lender, you should have a clear plan laid out.

One of the most important things to keep in mind, though, is for the pastor to remember his role. Emily says the pastor’s job “isn’t to make sure you have a big congregation; it’s to make sure your church is healthy.” If taking out a loan will put a strain on the financial health of your church, you may need to reconsider the timing, the vision, or the amount. Peter reiterates that by urging pastors to follow “God’s vision, not personal vision.”

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