April 2019 Member Letter
April 4, 2019
After a month in our new office, it is beginning to feel like home. We are planning an open house for the local brethren on Sunday, April 7, and then a formal dedication of the building on May 19, in advance of the ministerial conference. We expect as many as 200 for the open house and over 300 for the dedication.
This has been a long journey, but we finally made it! Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement that have helped to get us to this point. And thank you for your financial support. We actually concluded the fiscal year 2018 with more money in the bank than when we began the year. It isn’t because we did not spend more money than we planned in the beginning (as is typical of most building projects), but our income for the year was higher than we projected, for which we are extremely thankful.
Let me take you through a time line to provide a picture of this journey on which we embarked way back in 2015:
- May 5, 2015. We met for the first time with a search committee composed of members from the local Dallas congregation to resolve a growing problem. We were out of space in our leased offices in Allen. We asked the committee to study three possible solutions: (1) locate a larger space for us to lease, (2) locate an existing building to purchase and renovate for our use, or (3) locate land to purchase and build our own office. We did not begin with a preconceived idea that any one of these options was better than another one.
- April 15, 2016. After almost a year of searching, we secured the services of a commercial real estate agent. We gave him the same three options: (1) find a new lease, (2) purchase a building, or (3) purchase land to build on.
- July 1, 2016. In collaboration with the Ministerial Board of Directors, we agreed that the best option was to purchase land and build our own office. Our financial position was strong, and we felt we could afford to purchase land for a new building.
- March 9, 2017. We signed a contract for the purchase of 7.4 acres located on Medical Center Drive in McKinney, Texas.
- Dec. 19, 2017. We signed a contract with Highland Builders to construct a 17,000-square-foot office building on the land we had purchased.
- Jan. 16, 2018. We broke ground for the new building.
- March 1, 2019. We moved into the completed building after 13½ months of work.
This project consumed almost four years from the time we began the search to the time we moved into the new office. We didn’t rush into anything! The miracles along the way were too numerous to mention. Those directly involved in this project have no doubt that God opened the right doors at the right time for us to complete this journey. By nature, I am a very optimistic person, but I have to admit there were days when I was very discouraged, but those days were far outnumbered by the good days and the excitement of watching the building take shape.
Of course, after completion, it is merely a physical building—only a tool to assist the Church in fulfilling its mission. I look forward to formally dedicating the building on Sunday evening, May 19, at the beginning of the Ministerial Conference. But it is not lost on me that before we have the dedication, we will be observing the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. I want to make sure my focus is on preparing for the upcoming festivals, and I want to encourage all of you to make sure you are properly focused on the Passover season as well.
I hope you view the festivals for what they are intended to do—to offer the hope of salvation to a world that is held captive (2 Timothy 2:26), a world that is in bondage to sin. But it isn’t just the world. Paul states it this way: “But the Scriptures declares that we are all prisoners of sin” (Galatians 3:22, New Living Translation). And in John we read Jesus’ words: “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin” (John 8:34, NLT). So, all seven festivals have a very important application for us and for the world. They describe in seven steps the process of salvation that begins with the death of Jesus Christ, our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), and concludes with the final judgment of all mankind on the Last Great Day, the Eighth Day of the Feast.
The upcoming Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread should be preceded by self-examination and reflection. In 1 Corinthians 11:28 we are admonished to examine ourselves prior to partaking of the Passover symbols. I believe it is fair to say that in addition to the individual examinations, the administration of the Church must continually review and examine the work we are doing. God has been extremely merciful to us, and I have no illusions that we deserve any of this. I can assure you that all of us in the office in McKinney are going through the same process that you are—looking inside to make sure we are prepared for this year’s Passover.
In this process we must ask ourselves, How are we doing—individually and as an organization? As an organization, we are preaching the gospel to the world on the greatest format the world has ever seen—the Internet! We are preparing new and younger ministers to replace those who are retiring. We began an ambitious program (perhaps the most ambitious in the recent history of the Church) to train and develop leaders and ministers for congregations outside the U.S. Over the past year we have made considerable progress through the International Leadership Program. Still, just as we individually find personal things we need to change, so we, as an organization, will find ways to improve in our efforts to do the work. That is what examination is all about—finding ways to change!
This will be my last correspondence with all of you prior to the Passover. And if there is one scripture that I want to leave you with, it is 1 Corinthians 5:8. Consider how you can keep this year’s feast with “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I don’t believe it is possible to overemphasize the significance of these days. Please take the time to examine yourself, pray and meditate. I also encourage you to find a day to fast (or possibly more than one day).
I hope you have a meaningful Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. Sharron and I will be in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Passover and in Akron for combined services on the first day of Unleavened Bread. We are looking forward to the trip and visiting with brethren in northern Ohio.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,