WSF Official Statement
For 40 years, WSFirst has been heavily invested in and deeply committed to the Winston Salem Christian School’s success. We have spent several years praying, planning and working to find a way to not only identify additional funding sources for the school, but also how we could further expand the mission of the church to impact the broader Winston Salem community.
Independent of our decision to sell our property, our leadership reached the decision to end our existing financial support of the school. It’s not a decision we reached easily.
Five years ago, we established a task force to evaluate the school’s future. Its recommendation was to end our funding, and, at the time, we opted to not do so, continuing to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to support Winston Salem Christian School so that the families’ tuition could go toward their child’s education.
Based on the outpouring of support from that community, it is our hope and desire that the broader Winston Salem community embraces the school and its leadership finds the needed funding to continue its service. Should this happen, WSFirst is prepared to join them and participate financially to the best of our ability. We also remain committed to provide a variety of services to support faculty, staff and students to assist with any transition they undertake.
For more information, please see below for our original post announcing the sale of our property.
WSFirst announces sale of property, pursuit of new home
Nearly 70 years ago, this church began its long journey of faith.
Throughout those years, we have continued to grow, change and refine ourselves as a congregation, never ceasing to seek God’s will as we strive to live out our missional calling. More than a decade ago, this meant changing the name of our church to better reflect our commitment to serve and support our community.
We are excited to announce the next chapter in our ongoing story.
WSFirst has entered into an agreement with an interested buyer to sell them our current property, empowering us to seek a new location closer to the downtown core of the city where we can better pursue our mission of serving the community. This sale allows us to remain at our current location for at least three years so we can seek a site where we can plan for and build a new facility that is better aligned with our mission and vision.
It is our hope WSFirst will be able to identify a suitable location to develop a comprehensive facility that can house our worship services as well as provide a space where we can better serve and minister to the Winston-Salem community. This process will be defined by the engagement and enthusiasm of our congregation. In the coming weeks, we will establish a Visionary Planning Council to help us identify, select and guide the purchasing of and planning for our new property.
Additionally, acting under the direction of our Board of Trustees, we have decided to end our existing funding of Winston Salem Christian School and close the school at its current location. Our leaders did not make this difficult decision hastily, and it was made independent of and prior to the agreement to sell. For several years, leaders at WSFirst, as well as the school, have explored countless alternatives and sought additional funding sources to keep the school open. This includes working closely with 70 local churches and pastors to determine the best way forward.
Moving forward, WSFirst will be shifting away from tuition-based education to plan and develop new Christian educational programs and services to better serve children in the community. The WSFirst family is committed to supporting and serving the faculty, staff and students from Winston Salem Christian School throughout the transition, including but not limited to:
Honoring the contracts of all faculty and staff through the end of the school’s fiscal year, as well providing an additional full month of pay;
Retaining an H.R. consultant who can provide career coaching, resume building and networking support to all faculty and staff free of charge;
Offering priority hiring status to existing faculty and staff for the multiple new positions that will be created to support our new educational ministries.
These decisions and pursuits will allow our church family to refocus on serving as a resource and place for growth and community empowerment, enabling us to live up to our missional values so all can “experience God personally, connect with others and transform our city.”
As we look ahead to what’s to come, let’s be mindful of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Please join us in prayer for our congregation, for our leaders and our community as we strive to shape a straight path into the future God is laying out for us.
Questions regarding the future of WSF and WSCS can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why have we decided to sell the property?
We are in this together. One people, one vision, one city, and yes, one church. God has positioned WSF—like never before—to make a difference in our community and our world, but only if we move forward as one.
It’s not about us and it’s not for us. We could tell you that this initiative has something that will grab everyone’s heart, but that would miss the point. This initiative is not about us and it’s not for us. It’s for those who have not yet come to know the Presence of God, and for the transformation of our city.
What is our mission?
We are building a campus for the whole city. A church/campus that connects people to God's presence and purpose. We are serving a God who will do beyond what we can imagine. We are not just raising money for a worship facility, but rather a campus designed to meet the unique needs of our church and this community.
We are a multi-day movement. This is not just a solution to our facility challenges. God has led us here. Multi-day simply fits so well with the vision to be a Biblically Functioning Community. We are taking church to where people live and moving it to the other six days of the week.
We are called to reach the next generation. God has positioned us well, and given us the heart, the capacity, and the calling to reach the next generation every day of the week.
We are called to be a lead congregation in the city-church. We have a greater responsibility to lead the way toward the transformation of our region. We cannot gauge our success simply on the basis of our own growth.
So what’s next?
We will take the next 6 months to pray about the new place God has for us. He will show us in prayer.
You guys have talked about this for years and nothing has happened. So why now?
Yes, we have been dreaming of this moment for a long time, and in the last decade each of the major road-blocks have been removed. We are ready to move into all that God has for us. This church has had four names in five locations in our city and we are on the move again. God has a special mission for our congregation to not just sit in service one day a week but provide opportunities for every attender to get engaged with the real needs of our city.
What will happen with our facility on University Parkway?
For the next 3 to 5 years we will continue to worship on this campus as we launch ministries downtown. However, there will come a moment when we will simply relocate to a new facility and campus. The leadership of our church and its membership have released this facility back into the hands of the Lord.
Is now the right time?
Yes, our shared governance is working. Generational participation is at an all-time high! The culmination of our Restore 2020 vision now has come to fruition. We are ready to move into a brand-new day expecting the next seventy years to be even more blessed than the first seventy!
Will this relocation change our church?
We hope so. We hope that WSF is always on the journey of change. WSF is not a perfect place filled with perfect people; we are all changing. But we will always be a place where the presence of God is cultivated and celebrated. We will always be a place that believes in the miracle-working power of God! We are taking our passionate hearts for God and changing the way church is currently being done all across the country. This marks the beginning of a revolution of the presence of God in every family that calls WSF home.
Will we change the kind of things we do from day-to-day?
Yes. We are already working on designing ministries that will fill the gaps in our city.
What does this mean for the WSF Kids Generation Project?
To date, we have raised just over $39,000 toward Generation Project. This money will continue to go toward moving all of the children into the Worship Center as we have 3 to 5 years to relocate. Everything we purchase with these funds will be able to go with us into the new place God has for us.
What does this mean for Winston Salem Christian School?
The Trustees made the difficult decision to end our existing financial support for Winston Salem Christian School. After years of discussion and a dedicated time of prayer and fasting by our Trustees at the close of 2018, we made the decision to focus our resources on non-tuition-based education for children that cannot afford to pay for private Christian Education.
Throughout the years, we have invested millions of dollars into the school and every one of those dollars mattered. Lives were touched and changed, but moving forward we do not believe that this model is sustainable, especially when we are called to be stewards of this congregation’s resources and so few here participate in the school.
What will happen to the faculty and full-time employees of WSCS?
We believe it is our duty to support the faculty, staff, and students throughout this transition, which we will do in a multitude of ways, including providing a firm to help with outplacement for all our faculty and full-time employees. This will also include a 30-day severance package for all full-time employees that remain with us until the end of the school year.