Our Building Committee has been meeting diligently the past several months to interact with three design-build firms for the purpose of receiving their master plans and construction cost estimates so they could use them to compare and choose the best one that New Life would work with in building our future facilities. The criteria that the committee has used in selecting the firm are as follows:
1. Will the firm help us build the facilities that are simple and functional yet inspiring?
2. Will the firm help us build the facilities that are not just economical to build but also to maintain and operate in the future?
3. Do we sense that there will be a good chemistry and working relationship with the firm?
The committee has come up with their final decision and they will share it with New Life Family this coming Sunday, 2/27 at 6:30PM in the Trailer House. In order for our Building Committee to come to this point, our Leadership Team had provided each firm with what our facility needs are so they could use them to come up with their own unique master plans and cost estimates. I would like to encourage all the family members to come out to this very important meeting where you will get to hear from our Building Committee as to how they came up with this particular firm as their best choice. There will be no dinner but refreshments will be provided.
This is an exciting moment for New Life. We have been worshipping in three different places over the past seven and a half years and we thank our Korean Speaking Congregation (KSC) for graciously providing us with these places of worship. In some ways, the past several years have been an incubating stage for New Life. Under the protection and guidance of our KSC we have grown and matured a lot. Now it is time for us to be on our own feet and be more responsible with our ministry and finance.
I see two different types of parenting style. One is an overly protective style that wants the children to stay with them even when they are fully grown. And this is very typical of the Asian community. The other is the trusting and empowering style that encourages responsibility and maturity. The parenting and leadership style of Pastor Young Chai, the senior pastor of this church, is more of the latter than the former. From the beginning, he has encouraged and empowered New Life by giving us all the autonomy and ownership that we needed to become mature and responsible. I have heard of many ethnic churches’ English speaking ministries that struggled and suffered a lot because the senior pastor of the church would not allow them to have autonomy and ownership. We are blessed to have very thoughtful and understanding leaders from the KSC.
And this is the first reason why we are making plans to build our own facilities on the land that the KSC has purchased for us and move there by no later than the fall of 2006. Last fall, Pastor Chai told me that he would like to see New Life move out of the gym in two years. This was not a demand but a request. And I would like to honor his words as best as I can as a man who is under his authority. The gym that we are currently using for our Sunday worship was never built as New Life’s place of worship. It was built so everyone could use it for the purpose of playing sports and games and recreation especially on Sundays when the entire church family comes together to worship and fellowship. When I approached Pastor Chai a little more than four years ago and asked him to consider allowing us to use the gym for our Sunday worship since we were outgrowing the trailer house, he, as usual, gladly gave New Life the permission to do so. Ever since then, however, many others in this church especially those from the KSC couldn’t use the gym for the purpose for which it was built. New Life has sacrificed almost nothing when the KSC went out of their way to give and sacrifice to meet our needs. It is time for us to build and move out.
Another reason why we need to build right now is because our Joshua Cross Stars (JCS) is growing and running out of space. George Barna, a researcher, tells us that the majority of the Christians become Christian by the age 13 and much of their worldview, values and priorities are established by that age. If we want to storm the gates of hell and bring people out into God’s kingdom, then we must focus our energy and resources on our children’s ministry. JCS has been growing both in quality and quantity over the past one year and I foresee this ministry continually growing in the future. Parents with little children, however, will not come to New Life if they realize there is no space for their children. Both Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, two of the most highly sought after pastors in the world these days, have said that the quality of children’s ministry and the number of parking spaces directly influence the growth of any church.
Some of you may think that these are not good enough reasons for us to build right now. You may say to me, “Why can’t we worship here at some other time such as Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon?” My answer to this is we may need to do that in our new facility as our fourth or fifth worship service when the church grows so much that we can’t accommodate everyone on Sunday morning. But no Bible-believing evangelical church intentionally makes Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon as their main worship time. For a church to do this is to ask for a slow death.
We all get mail and postcards from these church plants that are starting out in our neighborhood. They usually rent the local public schools to hold their worship. But I have never seen any of these church plants holding their worship services on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons. They know that the prime time for worship service is Sunday morning. As these churches grow and have their own facilities and reach the point where they cannot accommodate everyone on Sunday morning, they get creative by offering Saturday evening worship services. But these church plants know the importance of having their corporate worship on Sunday mornings. This is just being wise and culturally relevant. And this is the third reason why we must build right now. If we do not want to dwindle and decline, then we must be prepared to move in to our new facilities by the fall of 2006.
Satan will do anything and everything possible to divide and destroy God’s church and he often does an excellent job at this especially when a church is trying to build its facilities for God’s glory and the expansion of His kingdom. In order to protect and prevent New Life from becoming a trophy display for Satan, I wrote this to remind all of you as to why we are building right now so we will all be on the same page united in heart and mind.
More specific and detailed information about the design of the building and the total cost of the construction will come out as we work very closely with the firm that the Building Committee will recommend to us this coming Sunday. In the meantime, please pray and ask God how much He would have you give for our first ever building project. One thing I want us to remember is that our building will not be built with our spare change. We will have to give something that is significant, stretching and sacrificial amount for the project. It will cost us something. We will experience pain in our offering. But if we do this with a sweet spirit, then God will be glorified, we will be satisfied and Satan will be defeated.
I pray that none of us will have a divisive spirit as we go through this building project together. Instead, let’s become an enthusiastic contributor. We are aware of those churches that have split and even got destroyed while they were going through their building project because instead of fasting and praying and seeking God’s will and wisdom, the members argued and fought amongst themselves. Let’s not make this painful mistake. Instead, let’s become a healthy and strong member that edifies and builds up the body of Christ.
I would truly appreciate it very much if all of you could fervently pray for me especially the next several months so I would be able to hear God’s voice and see His vision for New Life very clearly. I look forward to going through the building project triumphantly together with all of you!
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