Key Dates

Nov. 10, 2019

Nov. 24, 2019

Dec. 29, 2019

Jan. 5, 2020

Feb. 23, 2020

Strong Roots Campaign Kick-Off
(Town Hall Meeting)
Financial Seminar
Pledge Card Deadline
Tithing Pledge Fulfillment Begins
Gift Pledge Fulfillments Due

Online Pledge Card

Campaign Launch Presentation

About the Campaign

Q:

Why do we need a campaign?

Our Five Year Anniversary is an important milestone that marks our shift from a “church plant” to an established church. God has blessed us with phenomenal growth - in numbers and ministries - that is very exciting but is placing a strain on our leaders and our financial resources. It’s time we put strong financial roots into place, to ensure stability in the face of future challenges and to sustain a healthy, vibrant church in the years to come.

Q:

What are the goals of the Strong Roots Campaign?

The overall goal of the campaign is to lay the foundations for secure, healthy finances as we move into the next five years of existence. Right now, we are living month to month without secure savings. We want to challenge members to meet our goal of $500K in savings so TLA can have at least a 3-4 month cushion of funds in case of emergencies.

Also, for a church our size, we are underpaying our staff and stretching them too thin. Because we were a church plant for many years, our staff was willing and able to serve sacrificially. We want to honor that sacrifice and give PC and the staff the ability to expand their full time positions so we can use our human resources in a more efficient and sustainable way. We need to make some key full-time hires and promote some of our part-time staff to half-time. Finally, we have some critical milestones approaching in 2023 for our building lease and we want to begin saving for contingencies that may arise if we need to search for a new space.

Q:

How will we achieve these goals?

For our savings goal of $500K, we are asking our body to prayerfully consider a one-time gift pledge to help us reach that goal.

For our monthly spending goals, we want to increase the percentage of TLA members that are tithing. Right now, only 22 percent of members give $2,500 or more on an annual basis. Given that a minimum wage annual salary in LA would be about $30K, a large majority are giving below that threshold.

For long term planning, we are putting a Financial Stewardship Committee (FSC) in place that will serve an advisory role to Pastor Charles and help advise and lead when it comes to the medium and longer term financial goals of Tapestry LA. This FSC will also work with our Finance Team to make sure we offer quarterly reports to the body on our finances and to be responsive to questions, concerns and ideas from the body on a timely basis.

Q:

How can I participate in the Strong Roots Campaign?

To participate, you can make a tithing pledge, a one-time gift pledge, or you can truly bless the church by making both pledges. Pledges can be made by completing a pledge card, available at the Welcoming Table.

Tithing Pledge - We ask that all pledge cards to be turned in by the last Sunday of 2019 (12/29/2019) and to begin fulfillment on the first Sunday of 2020 (1/05/2020).

One Time Gift - We ask that all gift pledges be turned in by the last Sunday of 2019 (12/29/2019) and that fulfillment be complete by the last Sunday of February (2/23/2020).

Q:

Can I participate in a way that doesn’t involve finances?

For those that cannot do so financially, we ask that you participate in two ways. First, we ask for your prayers for the success of the campaign’s goals and for all participants to be blessed in their choice to give. Second, we ask that you make a commitment to support one or more of TLA’s ministries moving forward by volunteering your time.

Q:

Can I earmark my giving to a particular line item or ministry?

For this campaign, we are not allowing particular earmarks. As part of the Strong Roots Campaign rollout, we hope we can make a clear and compelling case for where we are planning to allocate the funds we receive.

Finances and Budget

Q:

What is the breakdown of the Church’s operating costs?

A useful way of looking at church spending is to break it down into four general categories: Staff (salaries), Operations (rent, utilities, taxes, etc.), Ministries (TapKids, Welcoming, Events, etc.), and Missions (Overseas and Local Missions):

The breakdown of average monthly costs for 2019 so far is summarized here:

Q:

Why is it important to save?

Churches, like any organization, are recommended to have at least 3-6 months of savings in case of emergencies. For example, if we have a building problem like a plumbing leak, or if we have an equipment breakdown in AV or air conditioning, this “emergency fund” would allow us to handle those contingencies without borrowing money or impacting our current ministries and missions.

Q:

Is the church considering investing their savings? If so, how? 

At this time we plan to use cash alternatives such as money market instruments to build emergency savings and reserves. Money market instruments tend to be safe, liquid, and often pay more interest than traditional bank savings and CDs. Once our savings have been met we will consider other types of investments such as stocks and bonds to meet our long term goals. That type of investing, however, will require additional research and oversight by the FSC or other committee with a background and expertise in those areas.

Q:

What efforts are we making towards finding ways we can save money?

In finance and budgeting, we are working on consolidating duplications in efforts and reducing fixed operational expenses such as monthly subscription/utility costs as well as lowering our processing fees. We’ve renegotiated our Square merchant fees and we’re transitioning to a new giving platform (Subsplash) that will allow us to save thousands of dollars a year.

The Finance Team is also open for further savings ideas from all members of Tapestry. If you have ideas on how we can save money, please send an email to [email protected].

Q:

What systems are in place for budgeting and spending analysis?

We will be utilizing a combination of Quickbooks and Expensify to track our budget and spending respectively. This will allow us to immediately approve/reject staff reimbursements as well as see weekly spending reports.

Q:

What accounting practices will be implemented so that the church has more timely visibility on how money is being spent? 

By transitioning to a real-time expense reporting system (Expensify) as opposed to the current quarterly expense reporting. Purchases will be automatically categorized as they are made, allowing us to have an up to date view of our "budget vs actual" spending for each individual expense category and each ministry.

Transparency

Q:

Who makes the decisions about church finances like budgeting, fundraising, spending, and investing?

As Tapestry LA's only Elder, final decisions regarding church finances are made by Pastor Charles. For day to day management of finances, Pastor Charles relies upon church Treasurer Peter Bae and his finance team (Jin Bae, Timothy Chiu, Jonathan Cui, and Felipe Yang)

Pastor Charles has also formed ad-hoc committees that serve an advisory/management role in critical decisions such as the Building Search Committee (to help us find a new building), the Building Transition Team (to manage the process of renovating and moving into the building), and the new Financial Stewardship Committee (Peter Bae, Queena Kim, Ben Lee, Felipe Yang & Harry Yoon).

Q:

Who provides input in the budget decision making?

Decisions are made by Pastor Charles and the Finance team. In November, the staff creates a proposed budget for the upcoming year. This budget is then reviewed by an ad-hoc Budget Committee for comments. In the future, the budget proposal will be reviewed by the Financial Stewardship Committee.

Q:

Who is auditing our finances?

Currently we do not have anyone auditing our finances but as it is standard practice for healthy churches, we intend to have audits every 7 to 10 years because it is very cost prohibitive. 

Q:

How do I voice my opinion regarding spending?

Any questions or comments regarding spending can be directed to any staff member or the finance team via email ([email protected]).

Q:

How and when will we be updated on the status of the church finances in general? 

The church holds annual finance report meetings for tithing members of the church. In the past, this was done once a year on the last Sunday in January, during the Congregational Town Hall Meeting. The FSC and the Finance Team will move the church toward a quarterly reporting model.

Building

Q:

Why don't we just buy this building or another building?

Purchasing a building in the Los Angeles downtown area would be cost prohibitive. According to our real estate agent, commercial buildings in the downtown area average $300-$600 per square foot. For a building our size, that translates into 11 to 22 million dollars. That is beyond our reach today and was certainly beyond our reach 3 years ago when we signed our lease in 2016.

Q:

Why did we select this building?

Once we were notified in 2015 that we needed to vacate the 2500 Wilshire Building, the building search committee looked at close to 50 spaces in and around Los Angeles over the course of 8 months. Many buildings were eliminated due to lack of interior space (with special consideration given to our rate of growth), lack of nearby parking, easy ingress/outgress issues (e.g. 1 elevator for 100s of people), etc. 

We had originally decided against 1521 Hill Street because the square footage price was too high, even when we considered occupying only half of the building. After looking at many more buildings, we were approached by the landlords with a very low square footage offer of 1 dollar per square foot as long as we occupied the whole building of 38,000 square feet. The committee and staff, led by Pastor Charles, determined that the opportunity to secure a lease at an attractive price and to have the square footage to grow into was a good opportunity for the church.

Q:

What was the breakdown for the renovation costs for this building?

We spent just over 1 million dollars bringing this building up to code, doing essential upgrades for safety and usability, and for all of our A/V equipment and installation. Renovating a space of over 38,000 square feet is an expensive proposition. For us, it cost about $26 dollars a square foot. For scale, consider a low-end renovation of a household kitchen of 300 square feet can cost $10,000 (about $33 dollars a square foot). Instead of new appliances, we had to install air conditioning units. Instead of new plumbing we had to install an extensive new sprinkler system and to move all the pipes that connect it to the city water main. The list is very extensive because we switched the use of the building from a warehouse (moderate safety codes) to a place of gathering (very extensive safety codes).

If we had not done the construction to LA’s very stringent codes, any type of safety inspection from a city authority, e.g. the fire department, would likely have resulted in a fine, an order to cease operation, and the requirement to bring the building up to code. That process would have us operating outside of the building, paying double rent, during those repairs for 8 to 12 months, likely more. 

We had originally hoped to spread out our renovations over time (i.e. our original fund-raising goal of 500K) but city inspectors ordered that we complete a full renovation of the building before we could occupy the space.

Q:

Is it a good use of money to spend so much on rent?

This is an excellent question and one that we as a body should revisit as we reach our lease milestones. We may choose to prioritize other budget categories like staff, missions and ministries and de-prioritize having a large space that we have 24/7 access to. Other churches in Los Angeles have made this trade-off. The first of two 5 year lease renewals can be exercised March-June in 2021. Staff and leadership will make sure we go through a careful process of seeking God’s will and the input of our body before we make the decision to renew.

Q:

Why are we spending so much money on Parking Covenants?

Right now, we have a fixed parking expense of $8500 a month. This money is not for the rental of parking spaces, but for the maintenance of two “parking covenants.” These parking covenants were a requirement that the city placed on us in order to receive the permit to occupy this space. Because we don’t have many spaces on our actual property, the covenants guarantee off-street parking on a nearby property.

The covenants guarantee those spaces to TLA no matter what happens to the property. For example, if a landowner chooses to develop an apartment building on a property that has a covenant with us, they must guarantee to provide the spaces listed in that covenant in addition to any spaces that are built for the apartment occupants. As you might imagine, this is not a contract that a landowner enters into lightly, particularly because it is recorded with the City along with their deed. The search for neighboring landowners to enter into covenants with us was a long and difficult process and it is only by God’s provision that we were able to find them. For their trouble, both landowners requested a monthly payment to maintain the covenants with the city.

Q:

What does the backup plan look like if we can't stay in this building? (e.g. location, renting vs buying, etc.)?

If we renew our current lease, the soonest we would have to leave this building, based on our current lease is December, 2022. That would be in the highly unlikely event that the landlord decides to exercise a 9 month termination clause in the contract in March, 2022. We believe this to be unlikely because we have been excellent tenants and continue to increase the value of their property through our investment and our presence.

We will begin a process of re-examining our budget priorities as a church before we renew our lease in 2021. If we decide not to renew our lease, Pastor Charles, the staff and the Financial Stewardship Committee will begin researching what decisions, e.g. lease vs. purchase, location, etc. make sense for our new priorities.

Biblical Framework on Giving

Q:

What is the theology of tithing? Why is it important?

We see explicit references in the Old Testament. The first family gave back to God (Gen 4),  Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (Gen 14), Jacob gave a full tenth to God (Gen 28), and when we get to Leviticus, it becomes clear that the tithe is God’s standard for giving (Leviticus 27:30). In the NT, Jesus upholds the tithe in Matthew 23:23, he condemns the Pharisees for neglecting “the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.” Then he says, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” 

It is important for our sanctification, for the ongoing work of Christ’s church and necessary for God’s blessings.

Q:

If I’m new here, why should I participate in the campaign?

If you haven’t yet committed to Tapestry as your home church, we welcome your participation but don’t expect it. If you are a member, Malachi 3:6-12 helps answer this question.
  • God accuses his people of “robbing” Him when they fail to tithe and give to Him (3:8). We want to properly recognize what belongs to God and give him what He is due. 
  • God challenges his people to test him. Giving to God is always a test of faith. It forces us to trust God.
  • God promises to pour abundant blessings on his people when they tithe. This may not always be in a monetary fashion, but God can bless us for our faithfulness.

About the Campaign

Q:

Why do we need a campaign?

Our Five Year Anniversary is an important milestone that marks our shift from a “church plant” to an established church. God has blessed us with phenomenal growth - in numbers and ministries - that is very exciting but has increased the demand and load on our lay leaders and stretched our financial resources. It’s time we put strong financial roots into place, to ensure stability in the face of future challenges and to sustain a healthy, vibrant church in the years to come.

Q:

What are the goals of the Strong Roots Campaign?

The overall goal of the campaign is to lay the foundations for secure, healthy finances as we move into the next five years of existence. Right now, we are living month to month without secure savings. We want to challenge members to meet our goal of $500K in savings so TLA can have at least a 3-4 month cushion of funds in case of unexpected needs.

Also, for a church our size, we are underpaying our staff and stretching them too thin. Because we were a church plant for many years, our staff was willing and able to serve sacrificially. We want to honor that sacrifice and give PC and the staff the ability to expand their full time positions so we can use our human resources in a more efficient and sustainable way. We need to make some key full-time hires and promote some of our part-time staff to half-time. Finally, we have some critical milestones approaching in 2023 for our building lease and we want to begin saving for contingencies that may arise if we need to search for a new space.

Q:

How will we achieve these goals?

For our savings goal of $500K, we are asking our body to prayerfully consider a one-time gift pledge to help us reach that goal.

For our monthly spending goals, we want to increase the percentage of TLA members that are tithing consistently. Right now, only 22 percent of members give $2,500 or more on an annual basis. Given that a minimum wage annual salary in LA would be about $30K, a large majority are giving below that threshold.

For long term planning, we are putting a Financial Stewardship Committee (FSC) in place that will serve an advisory role to Pastor Charles and help advise and lead when it comes to the medium and longer term financial goals of Tapestry LA. This FSC will also work with our Finance Team to make sure we offer quarterly reports to the body on our finances and to be responsive to questions, concerns and ideas from the body on a timely basis.

Q:

How can I participate in the Strong Roots Campaign?

To participate, you can make a tithing pledge, a one-time gift pledge, or you can truly bless the church by making both pledges. Pledges can be made by completing a pledge card, available at the Welcoming Table.

Tithing Pledge - We ask that all tithing pledge cards to be turned in by the last Sunday of 2019 (12/29/2019) and to begin fulfillment on the first Sunday of 2020 (1/05/2020).

One Time Gift - We ask that all gift pledges be turned in by the last Sunday of 2019 (12/29/2019) and that fulfillment be complete by the last Sunday of February (2/23/2020).

Q:

Can I participate in a way that doesn’t involve finances?

For those that cannot do so financially, we ask that you participate in two ways. First, we ask for your prayers for the success of the campaign’s goals and for all participants to be blessed in their choice to give. Second, we ask that you make a commitment to support one or more of TLA’s ministries moving forward by volunteering your time.

Q:

Can I earmark my giving to a particular line item or ministry?

For this campaign, we are not allowing particular earmarks. As part of the Strong Roots Campaign rollout, we hope we can make a clear and compelling case for where we are planning to allocate the funds we receive.

Finances and Budget

Q:

What is the breakdown of the Church’s operating costs?

A useful way of looking at church spending is to break it down into four general categories: Staff (salaries), Operations (rent, utilities, taxes, etc.), Ministries (TapKids, Welcoming, Events, etc.), and Missions (Overseas and Local Missions):

The breakdown of average monthly costs for 2019 so far is summarized below:

Q:

Why is it important to save?

Churches, like any organization, are recommended to have at least 3-6 months of savings in case of emergencies. For example, if we have a building problem like a plumbing leak, or if we have an equipment breakdown in AV or air conditioning, this “emergency fund” would allow us to handle those contingencies without borrowing money or impacting our current ministries and missions.

Q:

Is the church considering investing their savings? If so, how? 

At this time we plan to use cash alternatives such as money market instruments to build emergency savings and reserves. Money market instruments tend to be safe, liquid, and often pay more interest than traditional bank savings and CDs. Once our savings have been met we will consider other types of investments such as stocks and bonds to meet our long term goals. That type of investing, however, will require additional research and oversight by the FSC or other committee with a background and expertise in those areas.

Q:

What efforts are we making towards finding ways we can save money?

In finance and budgeting, we are working on consolidating duplications in efforts and reducing fixed operational expenses such as monthly subscription/utility costs as well as lowering our processing fees. We’ve renegotiated our Square merchant fees and we’re transitioning to a new giving platform (Subsplash) that will allow us to save thousands of dollars a year.

The Finance Team is also open for further savings ideas from all members of Tapestry. If you have ideas on how we can save money, please send an email to [email protected].

Q:

What systems are in place for budgeting and spending analysis?

We will be utilizing a combination of Quickbooks and Expensify to track our budget and spending respectively. This will allow us to immediately approve/reject staff reimbursements as well as see weekly spending reports.

Q:

What accounting practices will be implemented so that the church has more timely visibility on how money is being spent? 

By transitioning to a real-time expense reporting system (Expensify) as opposed to the current quarterly expense reporting. Purchases will be automatically categorized as they are made, allowing us to have an up to date view of our "budget vs actual" spending for each individual expense category and each ministry.

Transparency

Q:

Who makes the decisions about church finances like budgeting, fundraising, spending, and investing?

As Tapestry LA's only Elder, final decisions regarding church finances are made by Pastor Charles. For day to day management of finances, Pastor Charles relies upon church Treasurer Peter Bae and his finance team (Jin Bae, Timothy Chiu, Jonathan Cui, and Felipe Yang)

Pastor Charles has also formed ad-hoc committees that serve an advisory/management role in critical decisions such as the Building Search Committee (to help us find a new building), the Building Transition Team (to manage the process of renovating and moving into the building), and the new Financial Stewardship Committee.

Q:

Who provides input in the budget decision making?

Decisions are made by Pastor Charles and the Finance team. In November, the staff creates a proposed budget for the upcoming year. This budget is then reviewed by an ad-hoc Budget Committee for comments. In the future, the budget proposal will be reviewed by the Financial Stewardship Committee (Peter Bae, Queena Kim, Ben Lee, Felipe Yang & Harry Yoon).

Q:

Who is auditing our finances?

Currently we do not have anyone auditing our finances but as it is standard practice for healthy churches we intend to have audits every 7 to 10 years because it is very cost prohibitive. 

Q:

How do I voice my opinion regarding spending?

Any concerns or opinions regarding spending can be directed to any staff member or the finance team via email ([email protected]).

Q:

How and when will we be updated on the status of the church finances in general? 

The church holds annual finance report meetings for tithing members of the church. In the past, this was done once a year on the last Sunday in January, during the Congregational Town Hall Meeting. The FSC and the Finance Team will move the church toward a quarterly reporting model.

Building

Q:

Why don't we just buy this building or another building?

Purchasing a building in the Los Angeles downtown area would be cost prohibitive. According to our real estate agent, commercial buildings in the downtown area average $300-$600 per square foot. For a building our size, that translates into 11 to 22 million dollars. That is beyond our reach today and was certainly beyond our reach 3 years ago when we signed our lease in 2016.

Q:

Why did we select this building?

Once we were notified in 2015 that we needed to vacate the 2500 Wilshire Building, the building search committee looked at close to 50 spaces in and around Los Angeles over the course of 8 months. Many buildings were eliminated due to lack of interior space (with special consideration given to our rate of growth), lack of nearby parking, easy ingress/outgress issues (e.g. 1 elevator for 100s of people), etc. 

We had originally decided against 1521 Hill Street because the square footage price was too high, even when we considered occupying only half of the building. After looking at many more buildings, we were approached by the landlords with a very low square footage offer of 1 dollar per square foot as long as we occupied the whole building of 38,000 square feet. The committee and staff, led by Pastor Charles, determined that the opportunity to secure a lease at an attractive price and to have the square footage to grow into was a good opportunity for the church.

Q:

What was the breakdown for the renovation costs for this building?

We spent just over 1 million dollars bringing this building up to code, doing essential upgrades for safety and usability, and for all of our A/V equipment and installation. Renovating a space of over 38,000 square feet is an expensive proposition. For us, it cost about $26 dollars a square foot. For scale, consider a low-end renovation of a household kitchen of 300 square feet can cost $10,000 (about $33 dollars a square foot). Instead of new appliances, we had to install air conditioning units. Instead of new plumbing we had to install an extensive new sprinkler system and to move all the pipes that connect it to the city water main. The list is very extensive because we switched the use of the building from a warehouse (moderate safety codes) to a place of gathering (very extensive safety codes).

If we had not done the construction to LA’s very stringent codes, any type of safety inspection from a city authority, e.g. the fire department, would likely have resulted in a fine, an order to cease operation, and the requirement to bring the building up to code. That process would have us operating outside of the building, paying double rent, during those repairs for 8 to 12 months, likely more. 

We had originally hoped to spread out our renovations over time (i.e. our original fund-raising goal of 500K) but city inspectors ordered that we complete a full renovation of the building before we could occupy the space.

Q:

Is it a good use of money to spend so much on rent?

This is an excellent question and one that we as a body should revisit as we reach our lease milestones. We may choose to prioritize other budget categories like staff, missions and ministries and de-prioritize having a large space that we have 24/7 access to. Other churches in Los Angeles have made this trade-off. The first of two 5 year lease renewals can be exercised March-June in 2021. Staff and leadership will make sure we go through a careful process of seeking God’s will and the input of our body before we make the decision to renew.

Q:

Why are we spending so much money on Parking Covenants?

Right now, we have a fixed parking expense of $8500 a month. This money is not for the rental of parking spaces, but for the maintenance of two “parking covenants.” These parking covenants were a requirement that the city placed on us in order to receive the permit to occupy this space. Because we don’t have many spaces on our actual property, the covenants guarantee off-street parking on a nearby property.

The covenants guarantee those spaces to TLA no matter what happens to the property. For example, if a landowner chooses to develop an apartment building on a property that has a covenant with us, they must guarantee to provide the spaces listed in that covenant in addition to any spaces that are built for the apartment occupants. As you might imagine, this is not a contract that a landowner enters into lightly, particularly because it is recorded with the City along with their deed. The search for neighboring landowners to enter into covenants with us was a long and difficult process and it is only by God’s provision that we were able to find them. For their trouble, both landowners requested a monthly payment to maintain the covenants with the city.

Q:

What does the backup plan look like if we can't stay in this building? (e.g. location, renting vs buying, etc.)?

If we renew our current lease, the soonest we would have to leave this building, based on our current lease is December, 2022. That would be in the highly unlikely event that the landlord decides to exercise a 9 month termination clause in the contract in March, 2022. We believe this to be unlikely because we have been excellent tenants and continue to increase the value of their property through our investment and our presence.

We will begin a process of re-examining our budget priorities as a church before we renew our lease in 2021. If we decide not to renew our lease, Pastor Charles, the staff and the Financial Stewardship Committee will begin researching what decisions, e.g. lease vs. purchase, location, etc. make sense for our new priorities.

Biblical Framework on Giving

Q:

What is the theology of tithing? Why is it important?

We see explicit references in the Old Testament. The first family gave back to God (Gen 4),  Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (Gen 14), Jacob gave a full tenth to God (Gen 28), and when we get to Leviticus, it becomes clear that the tithe is God’s standard for giving (Leviticus 27:30). In the NT, Jesus upholds the tithe in Matthew 23:23, he condemns the Pharisees for neglecting “the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.” Then he says, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” 

It is important for our sanctification, for the ongoing work of Christ’s church and necessary for God’s blessings.

Q:

If I’m new here, why should I participate in the campaign?

If you haven’t yet committed to Tapestry as your home church, we welcome your participation but don’t expect it. If you are a member, Malachi 3:6-12 helps answer this question.
  • God accuses his people of “robbing” Him when they fail to tithe and give to Him (3:8). We want to properly recognize what belongs to God and give him what He is due. 
  • God challenges his people to test him. Giving to God is always a test of faith. It forces us to trust God. 
  • God promises to pour abundant blessings on his people when they tithe. This may not always be in a monetary fashion, but God can bless us for our faithfulness. 

Strong Roots Campaign Questions

If you have any questions or comments regarding the campaign, please let us know.