Building Hope One Individual at a Time
Sixteen years ago, (2000) the leadership and membership of Apostolic Faith Temple (AFT) knew that the ministry had outgrown the current, aging worship facility. We solicited assistance from a local community agency to try to obtain restoration funds for the building, but the effort wasunsuccessful because the facility was occupied by a religious fellowship. The questions at that time were to move or not, and where would our a small fellowship get the money to purchase another facility? The congregation and leadership resoundingly voted to move and noted that we would work hard to raise the funds from within. We decided to look for warehouse space in St. Paul, with the goal of converting it to worship space, and started having fundraisers (faith walks, bake sales, candy sales, first fruit giving the first Sunday of the new year) with that vision in mind. After 3 1/2 years of looking and raising money, it became apparent that we were not going to find any affordable warehouse space. Additionally, our congregation was experiencing fundraising fatigue and did not conduct any fundraising for the next year and a half. In a sense, the congregation and leadership had become discouraged.
Thanks be to GOD the discouragement did not last long. In September 2004, Suffragan Bishop AZ Jones, Sr. saw a small For Sale sign in front of a partially burned building on Pierce Butler Route and forwarded the contact information to the assistant pastor (AZ, Jr.). The assistant pastor called and set up an appointment with the owner the next day. The pastor, along with two Board members, met with the owner to discuss the particulars of a potential sale. At this meeting they were informed that the building was to be demolished and that the 2.4 acre parcel of land was for sale. The owner agreed to sell to the property to AFT. The three AFT representatives left that meeting with a very good feeling that God was opening a door for the church.
The three representatives from AFT presented their findings to the congregation and a great wave of joy fell upon us. In that moment, the fundraising fatigue was overcome by excitement, and was quietly escorted out of the fellowship. However, since we had been looking for a building, the question was whether or not we were prepared to build. The congregation overwhelmingly expressed their desire to build. With the congregation’s blessing, the three representatives met with the owner for a second time with check book in hand expecting a miracle, and before leaving the meeting, wrote out a check for the earnest money on the property. Once the news was announced at the next Sunday morning service, the entire congregation erupted in jubilation for what GOD had done!
The church knew that it did not have the giving units or assets to qualify for a conventional loan on the land and worked out a “contract for deed” agreement with the owner, with a closing date of February 12, 2005. It was a win–win situation: if we defaulted on the payments, the owner retained the property, and it was our best option for acquiring property to build a new worship facility in St. Paul. We were trusting GOD for the provision for the vision.The membership started digging deep in their giving, and along with small fundraisers, personal equity loans on their homes and second mortgages on their properties and we were able to meet the large down payment for the February closing.
Ten years have passed, many lessons have been learned and unforeseen sacrifices have been made. AFT has evolved into Piercing Faith Church (PFC). The church has weathered many financial challenges including: an
economic recession, two eminent domain attempts, and a lost and reinstatement of tax exemption on the property. Through it all, God has shown Himself to be a provider, allowing PFC to pay out over $1.4 million (principle, interest, assessments, architectural fees, plans and soil borings, etc.) over the 10-year period. To build or not to build—that was the question PFC leadership asked the membership 10 years ago. Time has passed and the initial question has evolved into a statement: “We shallbuild”.Not because we are large or have the necessary resources and not because we are politically connected or the most financially savvy. It is because we believe the vision for PFC to build is of God. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. PFC is in the business of reaching souls by “building hope one unique individual at time”.