Bonsack United Methodist Church is located in Roanoke, Virginia. Since its beginning in 1874, the church has grown to add space to the sanctuary, construct a family life building, expand narthex and new administrative offices. In recent times, the church has experienced a decline in membership growth and monthly income has decreased. Since 2014, average worship attendance has declined by 250 people due to a refining and clarification of vision that made many move from Bonsack UMC to other churches.
What has resulted is a church much smaller and more focused on spiritual formation, social justice and extreme hospitality and inclusion. This prayerfully discerned alignment and partnership with God resulted in Bonsack UMC having 10 adult professions of faith in addition to adults transferring into full membership and the confirmation class.
Also, the church has taken a pronounced stance in reaching out in ministry and community development in SE Roanoke–one of the most impoverished areas in the region. In fact, a national study was done two years ago that identified cities in the country where someone was least likely to break out of generational poverty–Roanoke made the worst 20.
Because people are coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ, lives of those financially distressed are being changed, and Bonsack United Methodist Church is “transforming the world.” Church leaders recognized a need to refinance its existing bank mortgage loan, in an effort to create additional monthly cash flow to better serve the church’s ministries and local community.
Recently, Devco and Bonsack closed on a refinance mortgage loan in the amount of $1.1M. This partnership will allow the members of Bonsack to focus on ministry and continue to help the church grow, minister, and enhance its impact on the needs of the community.
Submitted by Randy Shelton. Randy McMillen, Pastor of Bonsack UMC, contributed to this article.