Gathering for Worship
It was a great day to be gathered together for worship on the incredible property that the Lord has so graciously provided for us. Just being there on that summer Sunday in June served as a vivid reminder of the many ways God has faithfully sustained and generously provided for Faith Community Church over the past two decades. As we gathered for worship in an area that will, Lord willing, one day be directly adjacent to the southeast corner of our building, it seemed appropriate and timely to provide a brief update on the overall status of the building project. What follows is the transcript of that update.
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Many of you know this, but many others who have joined us over the last year or so may not be aware that we acquired this property (just under 9 acres) in March of 2014 for $175,000 per acre. Since that original purchase, the land has essentially doubled in value, and that increase doesn’t even include the added value of the $2 million we have invested so far in preparing the site for construction.
The north-south property line of that original land purchase runs across the property and extends all the way down toward the Holiday Inn. Subsequent to that original purchase, we also bought the narrow strip that runs to Rope Mill Road and provides another access point to the property.
We discussed this in a video update earlier this year, but just to remind you, the two parcels of land to the east of the Rope Mill access road had been held under a contract with the original owner for the last seven years, and that contract expired in March. We believed it was a top priority for us to pursue options that would enable us to make use of those parcels in the future; however, we knew we could not afford to purchase them without severely hampering our capacity to begin construction on our building.
Once again, the Lord graciously provided a way for the church to secure those parcels. A small group of church members formed a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and acquired the property prior to our contract expiration. In turn, the church executed a new contract with this LLC that secures the property until the church can purchase it in the future.
Again, as you look around at this property today, be reminded of God’s goodness and provision for our church.
God has also provided for us financially throughout this project. The generosity and faithfulness of so many people here at FCC have been truly inspiring. Designated giving to the Building Faith fund has exceeded all expectations over the last few years – over $1.5 Million given since 2016.
In our update a few months ago, we said that we believe we will need to see about $330,000 in BF giving in both 2021 and 2022. Well, we are not even at the halfway point of the year, and we have already received right at $190,000 this year in designated BF giving. If this trend continues, we will surpass our annual target and be in a very solid position going into 2022. In addition, whatever excess giving we receive will be allocated to completing “add alternate” items that we were not able to include in the initial construction phase.
Again, we are so thankful to the Lord for this.
While we rejoice in God’s kind provision, we are also instructed in James 1 to rejoice whenever we encounter trials because we know that God uses them to test our faith and to make us mature and complete so that we lack nothing. Well, it seems that a recurring trial we have faced throughout this project is what we might simply describe as stalls in our progress. Over the last few months, we have been through another stall that developed in the form of an unfortunate dispute with our architect.
We don’t have time to go into details this morning. To give you a brief summary, however, I will simply tell you that the dispute involves over-billing for incomplete work and changing fee structures outside the terms of our contract. I can also say with complete confidence that everyone on our team who is involved in the design process has worked very hard for several months to try to resolve this dispute graciously and amicably, but unfortunately, that did not happen.
So, we are again faced with the challenge of trusting in the Lord’s good providence as we have been met with another delay of about 3-4 months in our project timeline. An updated timeline will be published later this summer.
I should also add that this dispute will be resolved by the middle of this month (June), and we have already selected a new architecture firm that is prepared to take the plans from their current state through to completion. This firm comes highly recommended by our General Contractor and by Roy Turner, our FCC team member who is helping us manage the project.
As we have seen many times over the course of the project, even when we have faced similar challenges to this one, God always demonstrates, in time, His purpose in and through them. So, we are looking forward to seeing what He will show us in the days ahead as we trust fully in Him.
As we rejoice in this trial, let us also be reminded of another word of wisdom from James:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that (James 4:13-15).”
So, if the Lord wills, we will be forging ahead with the final stage of the building plans in a few weeks so that we can begin the construction permitting process in the fall. Stay tuned and keep praying!