The North Carolina Baptist Foundation (NCBF) will start offering loans next spring to churches in what NCBF Executive Director Clay Warf called a "win-win" for churches and investors.
Warf said NCBF will announce the program during its report to the Baptist State Convention (BSC) annual meeting Nov. 12. The loans will be administered through a subsidiary wholly owned by NCBF.
NCBF is "constantly getting calls" from churches looking for loans, Warf said.
"When we looked around we didn't see anybody in denominational life doing church loans," he said.
NCBF hopes to offer loans at better rates than churches can get through banks, according to Warf.
The loans will be funded through investments from N.C. Baptist churches and individuals.
"The beauty of it is, you can invest in it, get something we hope will be a little better than a (Certificate of Deposit) and at the same time know the money is going to church growth," he said.
Those who invest will get what Warf called a "Certificate of Participation." In Florida, where a similar program is offered, there has been only one default in 10 to 15 years, he said.
"You're betting on Baptist churches to be good stewards and the track record is really good on that," he said. "Very rarely will a church not follow through on its commitment."
NCBF hopes the program will be self-sustaining but doesn't look at it as a profit-making venture.
"We're just trying to respond to a need," Warf said.
Initially, the effort will be funded by money from NCBF and the BSC. Investors can start contributing early next year. NCBF hopes to start making loans by early April.
Warf hopes the effort will also open opportunities for churches to learn how NCBF can help them establish endowment and trusts to contribute future resources.