Anchorage Northside Becomes Debt-Free

July 22, 2015 | Nita Larson

When Anchorage Northside Church moved into its building in 1992, members knew that it was going to need some major remodeling. They needed an elevator or lift so wheelchair-bound members and visitors could go up to attend the services or go down to the fellowship hall. They also wanted to change the existing choir loft to an audio visual area and enlarge the rostrum area to accommodate a piano.

All of this required money, which they did not have on hand, so they borrowed $250,000 in 2004 to complete the remodel. Over the years, the church had whittled down the balance, but in March 2013 it still owed $112,000. The church board formed a small committee to look at ways to pay the loan off quicker. The committee did not want to have members use the funds they normally donate to the church budget, so the group decided to keep the campaign “low-key.”

Committee members started by giving other members a stewardship bookmark and updating the bulletin each month with the outstanding balance and a stewardship thought. They also established a fund called “loan payoff” and added it to the tithe envelope. Any money received for this fund were used as additional principal payments.

As members saw the balance drop each month, they started to get excited. Then they were especially blessed when the state's Permanent Fund dividend in 2014 was double the prior year’s amount. The committee campaigned for each family to consider donating half of one dividend check to the payoff. The church family was generous, and in March of this year members were able to pay the loan in full.