Rev. John Pugh and his wife Inga

BILLINGS, MONTANA: It’s not normal that a mortgage lender gives you the match to burn your mortgage. But that’s exactly what we do at the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation. We consult with church leaders about how a debt reduction capital campaign can be successful, and we enjoy dreaming with them on what a debt-free future could look like. This past year, we gave matches to Hope United Methodist Church in Billings, Montana.

The celebration of paying off the mortgage coincided with the church’s 40th anniversary, and many pastors as well as current and former district superintendents, came to worship and support at the event. View the church’s celebration service and mortgage burning here.

District Superintendents Rev. Jan Witman and Rev. Deborah Christine

Hope United Methodist Church focused on what would be possible when they no longer had a mortgage payment. During the COVID-19 shutdowns, they found ways to serve and partner with members of their community, and they were eager to continue this work. Pastor Angie Dornisch reflected during the service, “We were able to raise the money and finally start running toward the future with nothing holding us back.”

During the mortgage burning service on June 12, 2022, the congregation declared, “We transform this cancelled mortgage, the symbol of our completed task, into the incense of prayer and thanksgiving. Halleluiah! Amen!”

Kristi Kinnison, Executive Director of the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation congratulated the congregation at the service and invited the members to embark on a new project to build a bridge to the future through endowments. She asked the congregation to consider leaving a gift in their estate plan that will help continue the work of the church for many generations to come.

How We Work

The source of capital for loans to churches from the Foundation comes from the collective investments of individuals who purchase Certificates of Participation. These are time deposits that pay competitive interest rates to the investors and help the Foundation make affordable financing available to churches. Methodist churches and their members are able to invest their savings in this way. Read more about our interest rates here.

When we provide affordable financing packages for the churches, we become their partners in ministry. We have helped churches finance building and renovation projects, and also helped them refinance loans to save money on interest and improve cash flow. The Foundation’s interest rates and fees, combined with flexible terms are very competitive. They focus on what makes sense for churches which has helped churches save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. 

Being a partner in ministry means that we check in with churches and ensure that as time goes on, the mortgage payment does not hurt ministry. We can quickly modify a loan to help with this. Being a partner also means that we provide consulting, encouragement, and additional resources when possible to help pay off the mortgage and move into the future.

Partnership implies benefits for both parties. The Foundation benefits from the interest it collects from church borrowers. Unlike a bank where the interest goes to boost the profits of the bank and enrich its shareholders, this interest that churches pay to the Foundation helps further the mission of the foundation. This is done through grants, planned giving tools and endowment development and management. We’re able to accomplish all of this through the good work of God’s churches in Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Lemhi County, Idaho.

During the initial COVID-19 shutdowns in March of 2020, the Foundation was able to turn on a dime, and immediately offer payment relief to all of its church borrowers. By raising the question with their finance team, Wilson United Methodist Church inspired a single donor to pay off their entire mortgage. We burned the mortgage over zoom which can be viewed here.

If your church has a mortgage with the foundation, or perhaps a mortgage with another lender, we can help you restructure your debt and provide ideas on how to pay it off. Give us call today!