Runnels figures that among the aging Baby Boomers beginning to retire are many who would welcome the spiritual and cultural enrichment — music, mentoring, arts and crafts — that vibrant, next-door church congregations would provide. He’s started a new company called Traditions 1:27 — a name derived from Biblical script at James 1:27 — to develop such communities. His partners are Dan Curtis, a CPA who has owned and developed senior-care facilities and worked as a consultant for more than 200 religious organizations; 35-year architect Jeff Floyd, the master planner for Olympic Games venues in Atlanta; and Runnels’ son, Trey, a lawyer.
“A lot of churches are located where senior and assisted living would be a natural piece of the church component,” Runnels says.
Churches also looking to generate extra income are beginning to flock to the Traditions concept, he says. “We design the church campus for maximum utilization and help them retire debt.’’
Rendering: Bishop Landing in Crestview
Leaders of the 6,000-member Central Baptist Church at Hixson, Tenn., and Traditions partners will break ground this summer on the first phase of a 155-unit assisted living center on a 7.25-acre former parking area.
“The benefit is having a place where our folks who are aging can be close to all the facilities available, plus the cash flow,’’ says Central Baptist executive pastor Eddie Adams. “At some point in the future, we’ll put it up for sale, which will help the ministry, too.’’