When I came to pastor Seoul Baptist Church, one of the first things I said was, “I will not build!” I didn’t like the idea of using offering money for buildings instead of soul winning. However, since then, I’ve already been involved in two building projects. I changed my mind because worship and education space is sometimes essential for soul winning.
As you know, we have discouraged believers from joining our church members and tried to focus on winning unbelievers. God has honored this and made our church grow. As a result, we now lack space. Our sanctuary is filled to capacity. Visitors have tried to come and have turned back because they couldn’t find a parking space. The youth group is now meeting in the trailer, having given up their worship space and classrooms for the elementary children.
We’ve decided that we can’t delay building any longer and have bought a 5.8 acre lot across the street for $320,000. Last Wednesday our congregation voted to exchange it for 3.9 acres of land just adjacent to our church. The owner of this land initially asked for $700,000 but was willing to exchange with the land we had purchased. We decided to do this because it seemed unsafe for our children to cross the heavy traffic on Fairbanks Street. We lost 2 acres of land in the exchange, but we saved about $300,000 from the initial asking price.
The land will be given to the English Speaking Congregation for them to build their own worship center and education buildings. They will share the parking lot with the Korean Speaking Congregation (KSC).
Since more parking spaces will be available, the KSC will build a youth center on the current location. We will also expand the existing sanctuary. With this expansion it will be able to seat 700 people. We will also enlarge our fellowship hall and kitchen, both of which are already too crowded, and add classrooms for the elementary children on the second floor. In addition, we will build a house for the pastors who come for 2-8 weeks to learn more about our house churches. The apartments we currently rent for them are far from our church, about a 30-minute drive.
I’m initiating this building project with a heavy heart because I know that many of our church members have not yet recovered from the effects of the bad economy. On the other hand, this may become an opportunity for them to prosper by receiving God’s blessings.
Those of us who have been involved in the last two building projects found that even though it was difficult to make extra offerings we did not really lack anything while fulfilling our building pledges and in most cases were better off than before. I think God compensated our sacrifices many times over. We did not lose anything of value but stored up more treasure in heaven. “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matt 6:20)”
The pledge goal is 1.7 million dollars. I want our members to remember; “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Cor 9:6)” All I ask is that you do your best, nothing more. God does not care how much you give as long as it involves sacrifice (Luke 21:1-4).
As a guide I encourage you to give one month’s income over a period of 12 months.
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