February 9, 2012
I want to begin by thanking all of you for a most remarkable year (of course, we thank God first and foremost). While it is too early to make long-term predictions, we are now able to make some concrete plans for the future based on an excellent increase in our income. On Jan. 1, 2011, we had only a week of existence and approximately $135,000 in the bank. On Jan. 1, 2012, after the completion of our first fiscal year, we showed an unrestricted cash balance of $1.3 million. Yes, indeed, it was a remarkable year!
Every day I realize even more fully that it will be up to God as to what we may accomplish in the future, but I also believe that we must do our part. We can’t sit back and assume everything will happen the way we want it to. We must put all our energy into the work ahead, depending on God for His blessing and inspiration.
There is much good news to share these days. In November of last year when we met to hammer out a budget for the Ministerial Board of Directors to approve in December, we did our best to predict the annual income for 2011 and make projections for 2012. At that time we agreed on a lean budget for 2012—one that provided for all our needs, but not everything we wanted. After approving the budget for 2012, we experienced a strong increase in our income for November and December. In fact, our monthly income doubled in December alone. While we knew the last month of the year consistently has the largest regular income (not including holy day offerings), we did not expect such a large increase. Since the actual year-end figures were published recently in the Ministerial Newsletter and distributed for all to see, I won’t repeat them here; but we were very encouraged by the level of increase.
In addition to the good news on the financial front, we have now concluded the lengthy process of locating an office. I am happy to announce the location of our new headquarters office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We will be leasing an office suite consisting of 5,590 square feet of space on the first floor of the building located at 1301 Central Expressway South, Allen, Texas. Allen is a suburb of Dallas and is located just a few miles north of the city along the Central Expressway (also U.S. Highway 75). The name of the building complex is “The Office Campus at Allen,” and it is in a beautiful setting with easy access to the freeway. The back of the building looks onto an area of trees, and the front faces the freeway.
The building was constructed in 2006 and has all the proper cable and wiring that we need for our work, along with business-class Internet service. We will occupy about a fourth of the first floor. The suite has a beautiful entryway, 12-foot ceilings throughout (which will make a video studio possible), a classroom for up to 30 students and a conference room. There are nine private offices, with a large open area for additional office cubicles. We can also add offices within this space as needed. There were numerous locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area that could work for us, but in the opinion of those who viewed the various properties, none as well as this building in Allen.
When we began the search earlier this year, we quickly realized it would be a daunting task to locate an office to lease in such a geographically large area. We developed criteria for our search—a minimum of 5,000 square feet, a classroom for 20 to 30 students, private offices, room for expansion, nearby housing that is of good quality with good value for the money for our employees, safe and inexpensive housing for students in the vicinity, and a lease price within our budget of $20 per square foot per year.
We secured the services of a longtime broker in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to help us. He asked us for location specifics. We told him that anywhere from Fort Worth (Tarrant County) northward and then eastward to Dallas (Dallas and Collin Counties). He provided us a market study that included almost 100 properties that roughly fit our criteria. We then began the tedious task of visually inspecting these properties. Those familiar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area will recognize the cities in which we searched: Fort Worth, Southlake, Keller, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, Grapevine, Farmers Branch, Las Colinas, Dallas, Richardson, Plano and Allen.
After a couple of weeks, we narrowed our search down to six prime properties and I invited MBOD members to travel to the area to personally review these final choices. While the location decision was left to the administration, I wanted to make sure everyone agreed with the final selection. Joel Meeker, Leon Walker, Larry Salyer, David Baker, Fort Worth pastor Britton Taylor and I were involved in this review. Jason Lovelady and Clyde Kilough were not present for this final review, but both had seen the properties on a previous trip. Dallas pastor Doug Horchak was out of the country but had also seen the properties at an earlier time. At the end of the day, all present agreed that the Allen property was superior to the others and offered everything we desired at an affordable price (below our budget).
We began lease negotiations last week and then signed a three-year lease on Monday, Feb. 6. We must now select the carpet and paint colors so the remodeling can begin. In addition, we will need to purchase furniture, install a phone system and secure Internet service. Occupancy is scheduled for March 1, 2012, which means we have a lot to accomplish in the next three weeks!
The new office will have a soundproof studio, which will make video productions possible immediately. This is truly exciting, but it is only the beginning. We have some big ideas of what we can do and how quickly we can get it done. With the Internet, our potential is limitless! And now with an office to work from, we will be able to do the work with an efficiency that has eluded us up to this point.
The past six weeks have been most encouraging to me personally. By nature, I am optimistic and positive; but the past few weeks have exceeded even my expectations. In addition to locating the office space, we have been working on resolving another ongoing problem—how to get printed material into the hands of the membership at a reasonable cost. We are seeking bids for “on demand” printing and hope to resolve the dilemma of producing publications solely on the Internet, which many brethren cannot access. Based on our recent survey, we know that 17 percent of our U.S. membership does not have Internet access, and we must find a way to get them printed material. This is also a problem for additional members in countries around the world. We believe that “on demand” printing may be the answer.
I hope you are as encouraged as I am by our progress! We have a lot more to do, but the difference between Jan. 1, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2012, is like day and night. We have so much to be thankful for. I want to conclude this letter with a scripture about looking forward, walking the same path together and being of the same mind. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. … Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:14-16). This will be extremely important for the future as we continue to expand our efforts. We must walk down the same path (walk by the same rule) and be united in purpose (of the same mind). These are important principles that should have deep meaning for all of us. All these things are happening only a few weeks away from the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. It is shaping up to be an exciting spring holy day season for the new organization!
I plan to write a general letter to you all each month on the first Thursday of the month, in addition to writing for our other publications. It is an ambitious schedule, but I believe we have much to say these days. Excitement tends to breed excitement! I am definitely excited about the recent developments, and I hope you are as well.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,