This purchase is an important step in relocating the home office, a decision that was first discussed during the Council of Elders meeting in December 2006, brought forward as a proposal and approved by the Council in February 2007 and ratified by the General Conference of Elders in May 2007.
Further planning for the development of the property is underway and details will be discussed in the regular Council of Elders meeting in February. Many steps and many decisions lie before us before a move can actually take place, but the purchase of the land brings the reality of the relocation into focus.
The Church's mission statement is to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the entire world and care for the flock God calls into His Church in this age. We are deeply committed and desirous to be about this, our Father's business. God has blessed us abundantly with spiritually maturing congregations, energetic and committed youth, open doors for preaching the gospel and the financial stability to make long-range plans.
Relocating the home office will lay a solid physical foundation for years to come from which this work can proceed in building on the spiritual foundation laid by Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. The present home office is being quickly outgrown. Office and meeting space is at a premium and the needs continue to grow.
As the ministry of the Church ages, it is critical that we train new pastors and elders to carry on the work. This is true also for the staff preaching the gospel to the world. Though we have some young staff members, several of our managers are about the same age as the field ministry, and we must be grooming the next generation.
Although we have not seen large increases in membership, growth has been steady, and the home office is seeing significant increases in both incoming and outgoing mail, Internet responses and Good News circulation.
Especially encouraging is growth in numbers of donors and coworkers. Christ said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21 Matthew 6:21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
American King James Version×). When coworkers and donors begin contributing financially to the Church, it shows their hearts are turning toward the truth they are receiving. History shows that new members will come primarily from those lists of donors and coworkers who have chosen to support the work of the Church.
Still, much more needs to be done. For almost 13 years, the United Church of God has been stabilizing congregations and preaching the gospel in ever-widening circles. It is now poised for expansion of both membership and public outreach. Looking at current space limitations and the need for further training facilities and future employees, President Clyde Kilough saw that the Church would have to consider expansion of the physical plant.
More than a year ago, we concluded that any expansion of the building we now occupy in Milford, Ohio, could support anticipated growth for only a limited time before it, too, would be outgrown. We could have chosen the short-term solution of expansion, but it would have presented a long-term challenge, as the property surrounding the current office is limited in space. Relocating in the Cincinnati area was deemed too expensive and a review of previous studies and current conditions showed the Dallas-Fort Worth area to be a viable and economical alternative. After the relocation resolution was approved by the GCE, a further property search was begun in Texas, leading to the current purchase.
Details of the Property
The property lies 3 miles north of Highway 288 (the loop around Denton), one half mile east of Interstate 35, on the south side of Milam Road. It comprises 81 acres, sloping gently from a crest of high ground near Milam Road to a creek and pond at the extreme south end.
The surrounding area is mostly vacant except for a few nice homes near the western boundary. However, building in the northwest quadrant of Denton is brisk, with a new shopping mall under construction just a few miles away and four sizable housing developments on the drawing board, including a 2,000-acre project just to the southeast of our property. Land bordering I-35 is expected to be gobbled up by both residential and commercial expansion.
The Church was able to buy this land for $19,600 per acre—below market appraisal—for a total of $1.57 million. It would appear that God's hand was directly involved, as we have come to expect it to be. This location appears to be the best of both worlds—on the edge of the countryside but close to all needed support services, including the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
We realize that many of you may want to view the property, and that is fine. Please understand, however, that a tenant is still residing on the land and has cattle and personal property that must be respected and protected. Therefore, please do not at this time enter the property.
At 81.5 acres, we now have more acreage than is presently needed on which to build a home office complex. This assures that the Church will have the capacity into the distant future to expand its facilities to accommodate future growth God may give even beyond ways we can envision at this time.
The development currently on the planning table includes a building for administrative offices, an educational center for ministerial training and Ambassador Bible Center, an outreach support building (warehouse, mailing and shipping) and limited housing for those using the training center. Any future development would come in separate stages as needed.
Given the last few years' income trends, we anticipate that this project will be completed without affecting the operating budget of the Church. Since it was approved, many brethren have asked how they can help. If you are interested in helping with this exciting expansion for the future, you are invited to donate to a special restricted building fund. This fund was authorized by the Council last May but was not promoted to the Church, pending the purchase of property.
Please donate to this fund only if you can do so over and above your regular tithes and offerings. All money contributed to this fund will be set aside entirely for use in this relocation project.
God's Church in this age has a rich heritage of pulling together to accomplish great things with His blessing. For further information on how to donate, see the box "Relocation—How You Can Help." UN
Relocation—How You Can Help
As the Church begins an exciting expansion of facilities needed to more effectively preach the gospel, pass on the truth to the next generation and train ministers for future service, we invite you to participate.
Many brethren have asked how they can help. A special building fund has been set up to help pay for the project. If you would like to contribute to this fund, just write "Relocation" on the memo line of your check.
Please only contribute to this fund as you are able above and beyond your normal tithes and offerings.
As the amount begins to grow, we will report the income, along with land development progress, in United News. Thank you in advance for your generosity. UN