MOORE News and Notes

Oak Cliff church celebrates debt payoff "Rush'd" by 18 years

When Pastor Rickie Rush led his congregation to celebrate payment of a $5.5 million note Mar. 24 it was a real "Rush" job. A scant two years before, the Inspired Body of Christ settled in facilities on Westmoreland Road in southwest Dallas saddled with a 20-year loan and faced with more than $8 million to pay, counting interest and renovations. But when Pastor Rush announced in February that the church would pay off the note by the end of March, there were no doubters in his congregation. They had already seen too many miracles to believe it couldn't be done.

The excitement of 7,500 worshippers on that Palm Sunday praise service filled the 1776-seat sanctuary to overflowing three times. That's a long way from the nine visionary, dedicated souls who organized IBOC in 1990. And it represented remarkable growth from the congregation that moved in 1997 from a 500-seat Pleasant Grove church. Rush's followers were cramped there, even with three morning services, and anxious to move, he asked Edward Moore of Edward Moore & Associates to help. Rush said he was surprised and somewhat frustrated when Moore seemed to be slamming church doors shut instead of looking for new ones. "I couldn't understand why Ed wasn't as excited about some properties as I was," he said.

That was then, this is now

Now, with almost 10,000 members-a gain of almost 8,000 since moving into the facility-Rush commended Moore to the celebrating congregation, "Here's a man who spent two years with us trying to help us accomplish the impossible." Moore is quick to acknowledge that the glory goes to God. "There's no other way to account for IBOC's success," he said. "But they are living proof that there's a lot more to moving a church than a listing contract, yard sign and newspaper ad." Moore claims there are as many as 16 different fields of knowledge that come to bear when a church moves. "Ignore this one, hurry that one, short change another, and you could find your church DOA-dead on arrival!"

Moore, a former Baptist minister, says a lot of know-how can only come from experience-as a churchman as well as a broker. "The difference between success and failure often comes from knowing just when to add to the recipe the specialists in engineering, site planning, demographics, public relations, marketing, building design, and state-of-the-art technology that we at Moore & Associates have gathered through more than three decades of related services," he said. "While some saddle congregations with oppressive debt in unworkable facilities by rushing too fast (no pun intended), just as often I see churches waiting until they cannot afford to move."

Moore said when the Westmoreland property came on the market, that he knew immediately it was the place for IBOC, even though it meant a 16-mile pilgrimage. He handled IBOC's purchase and also found the ideal new home for the seller on I-20 in Grand Prairie. "All signs point to the probability that they will prosper there, and I am now handling the sale of IBOC's Pleasant Grove property," he said.

"I feel like the man who walked into the hospital expecting a new child and found he had triplets!" Moore has handled purchases and sales of many churches since he began his career as a helper of churches. "I don't really cost a church," he said. "What's costly are the mistakes that are often made by churches trying to do it themselves. Or who forget the dozens of dimensions that make a church real estate transaction unique."