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A year of prayer and searching had finally born fruit. Our congregation had found a building of the right size, location, and price—we thought.

One exciting Sunday morning we raised 15 percent of the cost. It was beautiful to see the sacrificial giving of young marrieds and singles, with their relatively low incomes. When the total was announced, we joined in thanksgiving to God for bringing us this far. Our four years of renting would soon be over.

But now we faced a hurdle: convincing a bank, savings and loan, or some other agency to lend us the rest of the funds. We knew we were an honest bunch, had good credit with bookstores, utilities, our landlord, and were fervently committed to the project. That, we discovered, was not enough. Bankers have a fear of the unknown, and there is plenty of that in a small, new church.

In making a loan, lenders are primarily concerned about getting their money back with interest on a timely basis. We had to convince them of our ability and intention ...

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