Random Question…

April 23, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

From recent comments comes the following unanswered question:

Why does Sovereign Grace Ministries own so much residential real estate?  

One commenter said: 

What I find interesting is that on Fountain Valley Drive alone, SGM/PDI owns 5 homes.  Townhomes.  The total purchase price of these 5 homes was $1,409,300.  I don’t know where else SGM/PDI owns homes.

I was curious, so I did a little research.  Here are the links to county information for the properties mentioned above, the townhomes owned by either PDI or Sovereign Grace Ministries (note, these are just the ones found on a single street, in a single development…there might actually be more residential properties out there that are ministry-owned):

8503 Fountain Valley Drive
Montgomery Village, MD  20886

8631 Fountain Valley Drive
Montgomery Village, MD  20886 

8632 Fountain Valley Drive
Montgomery Village, MD  20886

8636 Fountain Valley Drive
Montgomery Village, MD  20886

8645 Fountain Valley Drive
Montgomery Village, MD  20886

My (Kris’) first thought is that the properties were purchased as potential housing for Pastors College students.  But considering how many Covenant Life Church families have remodeled their homes in recent years to create basement apartments which they then eagerly offer up for PC student housing, SGM’s residential real estate ventures still seem rather questionable.  There does not appear to ever have been any sort of PC housing crisis. 
 
And of course, one wonders if CLC members approved of the purchases…or if they are even aware of these expenditures.  If SGM has funds available to invest in housing for future SGM pastors, do they have similar funds for assisting ordinary members who are struggling with housing needs?  What sort of financial help is available for people who, for example, have suffered job losses and can’t pay their utility bills?  Is it still true that SGM’s policy is to withhold financial assistance from people who aren’t “faithful tithers” to their SGM churches?

Interestingly, SGM’s real estate investments are not limited to “parsonages.”   Here are links to county info for other properties (land parcels located near Covenant Life Church/ministry headquarters?) purchased by PDI/Sovereign Grace Ministries:

http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/details.aspx?AccountNumber=01%2002766255%20%20%20%20%20&County=16&SearchType=STREET
 
http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/details.aspx?AccountNumber=01%2001679926%20%20%20%20%20&County=16&SearchType=STREET
 
http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/details.aspx?AccountNumber=01%2002766244%20%20%20%20%20&County=16&SearchType=STREET
 
One commenter had this to say:

What I find interesting is that CLC took out a $6,000,000 mortgage to complete the mother ship, yet has the funds to purchase all these satellite properties??

If the main concern was protecting church finances, why not pay off the mortgage before going on another spending spree?

What was the whole “Paid of the mortgage party” about if we just were going into another one?

It’s not as if the opportunity to serve by opening your house for a Pastors College kid or family is out of the question.  Worst case scenario, hotels work in a pinch for weekend visits.

One CLC care group “sponsored” a PC couple by giving them a home, and collecting $3400 for their “local” expenses.

Another PC guy received $5200.

Lots of money, little accountability.

Thoughts, anyone?

EDITED TO ADD:  

Yesterday (4/23/10) someone sent me this link, which is to the pdf of SGM’s 2007 “Missions Brochure.” 

In the 17th slide, there is a mention of the purchase of 3 townhomes “for student housing.”

So, at least in 2007, SGM leaders viewed these purchases as part of their “missionary work.”  I wonder if that means they were purchased out of SGM’s “missions” funds?