Quest Community Church is laying off 15 staff members because of "unprecedented financial challenges," including an "unsustainable debt load compared to our income," according to a statement from the church's governing board posted on the Quest website.
The staff members were notified Thursday, the statement said.
The board said the layoffs were necessary because of the church's "inability to obtain debt refinancing, coupled with giving that does not match projected trends."
"These decisions are not simple, nor have they been undertaken alone. The Governing Board, with the expertise of the Management Team and Lead Team, has spent extensive time, research, planning and prayer to identify numerous cost-saving ideas. Regrettably, we now find ourselves in a situation where we must act now in order to solve this issue," the statement said.
The board said balancing the 2015 budget is the first step in a five-year plan.
Quest lists 30 staff members on its website.
The staff members who have been let go will be provided with a "severance package, insurance counseling, job search assistance and Elder prayer/care for their entire family," the statement said.
In September, the church announced that the ministries of its founder and head pastor, Pete Hise, and another pastor, Sharon Clements, were being "discontinued" because Hise and Clements had engaged in a relationship that "led to the crossing of physical boundaries while stopping short of sexual intercourse." Both are married.
"In recent months, our church has faced greater challenges than at any time in our history," the statement on the website said. "While it has been difficult, we have been amazed by the level of unity, faith and love exhibited by Questers, and to them we offer our sincere gratitude."
As of July, Quest had about 5,000 members split between campuses in Lexington and Frankfort.