THE JOURNEY OF OUR BUILDING
Turning a vision into reality
When we were meeting as a church at the university on Sundays, and then renting another church premises for two weeknight Bible Studies; the rental cost was high, especially at the former place. So I was approached to start the collection of money as savings to buy a church property of our own about three years as a congregation. My response then was that our objective was to build the saints up in faith, and leave the building to God. As I did not hear from The Lord, we would not move. Then the moment for action arrived to prepare ourselves to establish God a House of Worship of our own for His Glory. As always, God accompanies with His Commands with signs, wonders and miracles as we obey Him.
Miracle with the DGR
We had a Church Camp at Ballarat where the Speaker mentioned about buying property as part of his prophetic message unto the gathering. As our combined savings from a few years of surpluses was small, I kept this matter to myself as it was grossly insufficient to buy anything substantial and suitable for our needs. However sometime in 2007, God spoke to me to prepare ourselves to start a Church Building Fund. He complemented His Call in that He shall bless this account as being a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Fund. Knowing this had to be from God as then, to obtain this standing from the ATO is a miracle in itself. So I mentioned this to the church who affirmed the same. As it was a promise from God, I personally researched this matter, and took on the application, Hallelujah! After two addendums, we are granted the full DGR officially in February 2008.
However the grant of the DGR coincided with the time of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Despite this, the congregation obeyed God and donated to the Call.
Miracle with the Planning Permit
In August 2011, God led me to this second property as being the one for the first one was unanimously rejected by everyone. We loved it, and immediately asked for a discount and we got $100,000 off the vendor, and as a result we made an offer subject to the grant of a Planning Permit. I prayed for a very empathetic Senior Planning Officer at Council for counsel before my application, and praise God, this person was incredibly helpful. He guided me as well as processed our application.However due to the overwhelming negative objections, our application had to be deliberated by the Councillors, and they favoured us. Then we went through mediation but that failed. During this time, I doorknocked and met with some of the appellants. During this time, the saints prayed with great fervour as we were in love with this building. We were prepared to apply for a reduced seating capacity as low as 150 to ensure success at the Tribunal Hearing. The objections were all centred on the fact that we had only 10 car spaces to our title. Then God led me to trust Him for 350 instead, and I prophesied this number. At the VCAT Hearing, God granted us a stupendous miracle! We were granted a Planning Permit to seat 350 people. That was January 2012.
Miracle with cash to purchase building
Through each year since our inception as a congregation, the Lord has blessed us with surpluses. So we had savings but there was not enough to pay for the building. Although a bank loan was readily available for us to draw down in paying for this property, The Lord again manifested Himself powerfully. He said that the money was present in the congregation. A challenge was to be delivered for the building to be purchased outright without the need of the bank loan. The finance came in the form of further donations from the saints. So this sum was added to our savings, and we proudly paid for the purchase with cash! What a blessing and joy, and we celebrated with this occasion with a Special Lunch at church. Corporately, we were now focusing upon God, and recognise we were edging closer to realising our dream.
Miracle with the budget for construction
I had longed for a building and now it has come but I had also desired for it to be well designed and built to render the glory unto God. It has to be a structure that reflected God’s Creativity, and His Greatness. Further, we as a congregation had never a culture of mediocrity. We only understood our Lord as a God of abundance, exceeding goodness, and beauty. Reuben Kuah, a young architect was commissioned to undertake the momentous task of coming up with the design that needed to contain the three components of our Church Vision, namely “Exalting Jesus. Equipping People. Extending into Cities and Nations”. The layout must comprise elements supporting each component of our Vision. Hence, the auditorium, the classes and the foyer were designed to reflect these accordingly. Reuben had to endure many meetings, deliberations over room sizes, location of the library, with each leader had a priority of their own, choice of colours, and etcetera, etcetera. Finally, the concept design was completed. The Building Committee was posed with the budget to complete his design. Again, The Lord comforted me that He shall release the finance to adopt this design with no major changes and to build it. But this meant more monetary donations was required on top of the two previous big drives in order to proceed with the construction. To God be the glory. This third out shone the rest.
Miracle with the construction
In the Will of God, there shall be trials as all the heroes of faith in the Bible had encountered. We thank God that Troy Truong accepted the responsibility of leading the charge over our construction. He was Godsent as it was a role that demanded time and patience. Now we had to seek God in the next step to select the right builder for our job as there were a few contending for our business. After prayers, Troy guided us to the one God wanted. This was a critical part of the building process and as a Committee, we all recognised it. After a shaky start, building commenced. As soon as the ground was dug, we were confronted with an eroded foundation that needed an expensive restoration. What a challenge to our launch. As we progressed, there were other issues but nothing as agonising as with the delay to the delivery of our airconditioning. In the end, by the grace of God, the building was completed. We as a congregation believed andtrusted The Lord, and no one wavered with the promise of the blessing of a building to call a place of worship, and spiritual home of our own. Many gave most sacrificially to the Call. Collectively, as we obeyed The Lord, we turned this vision into a reality!
Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”.