The Formosan Christian Church of Dallas
Article I. The Name
The name of this organization shall be called The Formosan Christian Church of Dallas.
Article II. The Purpose
The purposes for which this organization is formed are:
1. To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. To worship and nurture Christian spirituality.
3. To promote Christian fellowship
4. To serve our fellowman.
Article III. Affirmation of the Faith
1. We believe the Bible is God’s Word, fully and uniquely inspired, and that it is absolutely trustworthy and has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
2. We believe in the one, true and living God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator and Sustainer of all.
3. We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He fulfilled the requirements of the law of His sinless life, and made atonement for sin through His blood. He was raised bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will return personally according to His promise.
4. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, who is of one substance, equal in power, and co-existent with the Father and the Son. He affects God’s work of salvation among man, and is present and active in the Church in accord with God’s Word.
5. We believe that in Adam all man have fallen and are sinners in need of God’s salvation.
6. We believe that penitent sinners are regenerated solely by God’s grace and justified through faith in Jesus Christ.
7. We believe that those justified are also sanctified by the Holy Spirit and thereby enabled to live a holy life.
8. We believe that there shall be a bodily resurrection of the just to eternal life, and of the unjust to eternal punishment.
9. We believe that the Church is one body, consisting of those regenerated by the Spirit of God and of which Christ is the Head, expressing itself in worship, fellowship and service.
The Congregational Meeting
The Board The Executive The
of Directors Church Council Pastor
1. The government of the Church is vested in the active members who are expected
at a regular meeting.
2. The officers of the Church are:
A. The Pastors
B. The Directors
C. The Executive Church Council Officers
Article V The Membership (9/11/94 Amendment)
1. Application for Membership
A. The qualifications:
a. Membership by Baptism:
Any person accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior and is baptized or confirmed by the Formosan Christian Church of Dallas, may be received into membership; Or
b. Membership by Application:
Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal savior, upon baptism or confirmation, affirming the faith as indicated in Article III of the Church’s by-laws, and attending the Church services regularly for at least six months may be received into membership.
B. The procedures:
a. The applicant shall complete the “Application Form for Membership”
b. The applicant shall be interviewed by the pastor or members of the Executive Church Council to confirm his/her Christian faith and his/her agreement to the Church’s by-laws. The applicant shall then be recommended to the Executive Church Council for membership approval.
c. The new member shall be formally introduced to and welcomed by the Church congregation in a regular Sunday service.
2. The Rights and Obligations of the Member:
a. To attend the congregational meeting.
b. To vote and participate in elections. In addition the member has the privilege of being elected.
c. To use the Church’s facilities in accordance with the established rules.
d. To request the Church’s assistance in matters relating to spiritual growth, marriage or other joyful occasions, or funeral services.
a. To participate in the Church’s Sunday service and other activities, sponsored by the Church.
b. To cultivate a true and sincere Christian love and fellowship for one another as well as to honor and esteem those whom they have elected to hold offices of the Church in accordance with the principles stated in Scripture. [e.g.1 Thess. 5:12-13].
c. To support fully the ministry of the Church and to offer tithes according to the Scriptures.
d. To study the Bible and pray frequently, and to witness for our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Termination of Membership (9/7/04 Revised)
A. Membership will be terminated for those meeting the following criteria:
a. For those members who have gone to be with the Lord-Their Membership will be terminated.
b. For those members withdrawing voluntarily for transferring Membership to another church-After notification in writing, a Member may be released from membership upon approval by the Executive Council.
B. Membership will be revoked for those meeting the following criteria, as Determined by the Disciplinary Committee:
a. For those members whose beliefs differ or are inconsistent from the The church’s statement of faith, as listed in Article III of the By-Laws.
b. For those members whose actions and behaviors bring dishonor to God’s name and to the church’s reputation.
Before making the final decision to remove a person from membership. the pastor and Executive Council will meet together with the person. Termination on membership will require a 2/3 majority approval by the Executive Council. For those whose membership have been revoked by FCCD or another church, if they apply for membership at FCCD, they Would need to worship at FCCD for at least three months, their beliefs and practice are consistent with the church’s by-laws, and they have observed The church’s constitution for at least a year, then their membership can be restored.
4. Termination and Restoration of Membership Rights
A. If a member continuously, without reason, ceases to attend church for over Half a year, his membership rights will be terminated and he will become an inactive member.
B. For those members whose membership rights have been terminated, he Will need to attend church for at least two months in order for his membership rights to be restored.
Article VI Pastorate (9/11/94 Amendment)
1. Qualifications of the Pastor
A. A person meeting the conditions stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, and I Peter 5:1-3, agreeing with the faith agreeing with the faith of the Church, and is willing to observe the Church’s by-laws.
B. A person who has devotion, goals, vision, and abilities to provide spiritual leadership.
C. A person who has graduated from an accredited theological seminary with a master’s degree in divinity, or a person who has practical experience in ministries of the church.
2. The duties of the Pastor
A. The Pastors shall perform all the Spiritual duties of their offices and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, shall have freedom of the pulpit.
B. They shall be present at the Congregational, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Church Council meetings.
3. Calling the Pastors:
A. Only one candidate at a time shall be recommended by the Executive Church Council, and the name of the candidate shall be brought to the Congregation for decision as stated in B below.
B. Each pastor shall be called, with secret ballot, by a two-thirds majority of the active members who are present at the Congregational Meeting.
C. The Term of the pastor shall be for three years and the pastorship shall be reviewed by the Executive Church Council at least three months prior to the expiration of each term and the resolution shall be brought to the Congregation for approval by a two-thirds majority of active members who are present at the Congregational Meeting.
4. The Termination of the Pastoral Relationship:
A. Pastors may resign by submitting a written resignation giving a minimum of sixty days notice in advance to the Executive Church Council.
B. The Church may dissolve the pastoral relationship when grievance exists with the pastors as follows:
a. By recommendation of the Executive Church Council, a special Congregational Meeting shall be called and the object of the meeting shall be announced fourteen days prior to the meeting.
b. The recommendation of the Executive Church Council shall be voted with secret ballot and shall be resolved by majority vote. The dissolution shall be in effect at the end of the next ninety days after the voting.
Article VII. The Board of Directors (9/12/93 Amendment)
1. The Organization:
The Board of Directors shall administer the assets and liabilities of the Church. The officials of the Board are the Chairman, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
2. The Officials:
A. The Chairman:
The Chairman shall be elected by and from the Board members, and shall preside all meetings of the Board. He shall be present at the Executive Church Council meetings. In his absence the Secretary shall perform the duties of the Chairman.
B. The Secretary:
The Secretary shall be elected by and from the Board members. He shall keep record of the proceedings of the Board. He shall keep the Corporation seal and shall serve all notices required By-laws of the Corporation; and in case of his absence, refusal or inability to act, his duties may be performed by any Board member appointed by the Board.
C. The Treasurer:
The Treasurer shall be elected by and from the Board members. He shall furnish, prepare, and keep a full set of books of account, showing every detail of the business and the Corporation’s accounts, and all receipts and disbursements of every name and nature, the amount of cash on hand, and the amounts of the payable and the receivable of the Corporation.
3. The Number:
A. The Board shall consist of five Directors.
B. The number may be changed by the recommendation of the Board and approved by the majority vote at the Congregational Meeting.
4. The qualifications of a Director:
A. He/she must be an Active Member of good standing within the Church for a minimum of five years and has also served as a deacon of the Church for a minimum of one term.
B. He must lead a clean and respectable life.
5. The Duties:
A. To assume full responsibility of the Church property.
B. To decide on the use, relocation, expansion and /or major repairs of the Church building.
C. To represent the Church in all legal matters.
D. To be responsible for the clarification of the By-laws of the Church.
E. To disburse or to review the expenses authorized by the Executive Church Council.
6. The Election:
A Director shall be elected from the qualified members of the Church and shall serve a two-year term and be eligible for re-election.
Article VIII. The Deacons (9/12/93 Amendment)
1. The Organization:
The Deacons shall administer the spiritual, charitable and general business of the Church, and shall consist of six officers. They are:
D. Coordinator of General Management
E. Coordinator of Christian Education and Music
F. Coordinator of Mission and Communication
In addition to the designated responsibility, each officer is also entrusted with the following general duties.
2. The Duties:
A. To plan and to execute the general Church business.
B. To arrange the calling of Pastors and to review the Pastorate relationship.
C. To review and approve the applications of the Church membership.
D. To assist in observance of the Lord’s Supper and to assist in the baptismal and the communicant classes.
E. To head a separate committee and to appoint his or her committee members.
F. To review and adopt the annual Church budget proposed by the Finance Committee.
G. To arrange speakers in cooperation with the Pastors.
H. To assist Pastors in Church discipline.
I. To consider opinions and recommendations from the Congregation.
J. To review the current memberships prior to each Congregational meeting.
3. The Officers:
A. The Qualifications:
a. An Officer must be an Active Member of good standing within the Church for a minimum of three years and has also served as an official Coworker of the Church for a minimum of two years.
b. An Officer must lead a clean and blameless life.
c. An Officer must be actively and faithfully participating in soul-winning and other ministries of the Church.
B. The Election:
a. The Officers are elected by and from the active members of the Church. They shall serve a two-year term and are eligible for re-election.(9/12/93 Amendment)
b. Only one member of a family can be elected.
C. The Termination:
When an Officer’s practice of his responsibility seriously jeopardizes the functions of the Church, his appointment may be discontinued by two-thirds majority of active members who are present at the Congregational Meeting.
D. The Functions:
(1) Shall call for the Executive Church Council Meeting. Shall preside all the Council and the Congregational Meetings.
(2) Shall coordinate the functions of each Officer.
(3) Shall represent the congregation and the Executive Church Council.
(1) Shall take minutes and keep records of the proceedings of the Council and the Congregation Meetings.
(2) Shall maintain the membership roll of the Church.
(3) Shall forward correspondence as requested by the Pastors and the Council.
Shall organize and perform the duties of the Finance Committee.
d. Coordinator of General Management:
Shall organize and perform the duties of the General Management Committee (See IX for details)
e. Coordinator Christian Education and Music:
Shall organize and perform the duties of Christian Education and Music Committee.
f. Coordinator of Christian Mission and Communication:
Shall organize and perform duties of Christian Mission and Communication Committee.
Article IX. Committees
1. The Organization:
A. The Executive Church Council shall organize the following Committees and the Committees shall be headed by designated Officers.
a. Finance Committee --Headed by Treasurer
b. General Management Committee -- Headed by Coordinator of General Management
c. Christian Education and Music Committee -- Headed by Coordinator of Christian Education and Music
d. Christian Mission and Communication Committee -- Headed by Coordinator of Christian Mission and Communication
B. Each Committee may be divided into subcommittees as deemed necessary.
C. The number of members in each Committee shall be determined by the head of the committee as deemed necessary by the work load.
2. The Functions:
A. Finance Committee:
a. Shall present the annual budge to the Executive Church Council for approval.
b. Shall keep an accurate account of all money received in the name of the Church.
c. Shall make payments for all authorized obligations incurred by the Church.
B. General Management Committee:
The General Management Committee can be divided into Building Sub-committee, Social Sub-committee and Transportation Sub-committee. The functions of each Sub-committee are:
a. Building Sub-committee:
(1) To manage short-term rental of the Church by reviewing and approving applications..
(2) To maintain the Church building and to make necessary alterations to meet the needs of the Church.
b. Social Sub-Committee:
(1) To plan and to supervise the preparation and serving of food for Church functions such as fellowship dinners, receptions, love feasts, etc.
(2) To perform other duties as may be assigned by the Executive Church Council.
c. Transportation Sub-Committee:
To arrange transportation for those who are in such need as to attend and return from the services and activities of the Church.
C. Christian Education and Music Committee:
The Christian Education and Music Committee can be divided into Christian Education Sub-committee, Music Sub-committee and Fellowship Sub-committee. The functions of each Sub-committee are:
a. Christian Education Sub-Committee:
(1) To develop policy; to coordinate, supervise and improve the educational work of the Church which includes the Sunday School, Adult Bible Study, Baptismal and Communicant classes.
(2) To establish goals; to evaluate and determine curricula and organization; to train and appoint teachers; to coordinate with the General Manager to allocate space and equipment; to select and establish a record system; and to recommend a budget for the educational programs.
b. Music Sub-committee:
(1) To be responsible for the musical programs of the Church.
(2) To recommend hymnals and musical instruments to be used in the Church.
(3) To appoint pianists, organists, choir conductors, etc.
c. Fellowship Sub-committee:
(1) To organize and arrange the family, man, woman, youth and other fellowships of the Church.
(2) To plan and supervise the programs of the fellowships.
(3) To consult with the Pastor before inviting a speaker for the fellowship gatherings.
D. Christian Mission and Communication Committee:
The Christian Mission and Communication Committee can be divided into Christian Mission Sub-committee, Communication Sub-committee and Ushers Sub-committee. The functions of each Sub-committee are:
a. Christian Mission Sub-committee:
(1) To develop the mission policy, and to promote interest in and giving to missions.
(2) To encourage the missionary activities and the missionary enterprise and to encourage Church members to attend missionary conferences and conventions.
(3) To start, when authorized by the Church, and to administer the missionary projects that may develop into autonomous, self-supporting churches.
b. Communication Sub-committee:
(1) To organize visitation programs.
(2) To inform members of church’s needs.
(3) To prepare weekly Sunday Service bulletins.
c. Ushers Sub-Committee:
(1) To arrange ushers to greet and escort guests to seats.
(2) To keep attendance records of all regular services.
(3) To furnish and collect guest cards for the Pastor.
(4) To be responsible for general physical arrangement of the Church, such as the Bibles, hymn books, distribution of bulletins, lighting, heating and ventilation.
(5) To be responsible for keeping order in and around the Church building during services.
(6) To be responsible for receiving all church offerings in the regular services of the Church.
Article X. Meetings
1. The Congregational Meeting:
a. The Meeting shall be called at the Second Sunday of September annually by the Executive Church Council.
b. Any additional meeting may be called by an active member with a written petition signed by one-third of the Congregation, and the date and the objectives of the Meeting shall be announced two weeks prior to the meeting; the agenda of the meeting shall be distributed one week before the meeting.
a. Roll Call
c. Reading of the previous minutes
d. Pastoral Report
e. Reports of the Board and the Executive Church Council
f. The Church business
g. Adjournment with prayer
2. The Board of Directors Meeting:
A. The Meeting shall be called at least once a year by the Chairperson.
B. The Meeting may be called by a Board member authorized by the majority of the Board members.
3. The Executive Church Council Meeting:
A. The Meeting shall be called monthly by the Moderator.
B. The Meeting may be called by the Pastor or by a Council Officer authorized by one-third of the Executive Council Officers.
4. The Public Meetings:
A. The regular meeting of the Church shall include prayer meeting, Sunday Schools and Sunday worship.
B. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed regularly.
C. The other special meetings recommended by the Executive Church Council.
Article XI. Elections(9/12/93 Amendment)
1. The Nominating Committee:
A. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Pastors and Active Members who have also served as Coworkers of the Church for a minimum of two years.
B. The Nominating Committee shall be responsible for reviewing and advising the potential candidates to ascertain their willingness to serve. The Committee shall publish the names of the consented candidates three weeks prior to the election.
C. The Nominating Committee will recommend qualified candidates to the congregation using candidate survey results as a primary reference.
D. The Nominating Committee shall coordinate the proceedings of the elections.
2. The Absentees:
Absentee ballots shall not be used in any election.
3. The Vacancies:
A. A vacancy in the Board of Directors or Executive Church Council Officers shall be filled by the recommendation of Executive Church Council and confirmed by the Congregational Meeting.
B. If more than six months of the term of the office remains, it shall be considered as a full-term.
C. A vacancy shall not be filled if the remaining term is less than six months.
4. The Termination:
A. Any officer shall be considered automatically resigned form his or her office when he or she ceases to be an active member of the Church..
B. Any officer, failed to perform his duty satisfactorily, may be recalled by a two-thirds majority of the Congregation.
Article XII: Discipline
1. The Delinquencies:
A. The pastors and the Executive Church Council Officers shall constitute a committee on delinquency.
B. The committee shall seek to counsel the member who violate Christian obligations to conduct himself in such a manner as to bring reproach upon the Church and shall endeavor to restore him to the place of fellowship.
C. Failing to receive satisfactory evidence of restoration, the committee shall report the facts to the Church for discipline.
2. The Grievances:
A. In case of any grievances between members, the procedure set forth in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew shall be followed.
B. Charges, when thus made, shall be submitted to the Executive Church Council in writing for proper recommendation to the Church.
Article XIII. Miscellaneous
1. The fiscal year of the Church shall be from January 1st to December 31th.
2. The quorums of all official meetings shall be more than one-half of their members.
Article XIV. Amendments
1. The Executive Church Council shall receive and consider an amendment to the by-laws submitted in writing by an active member with petition signed by one-fifth of the Congregation.
2. The Executive Church Council may make recommendations in writing of the proposed amendment to the Church regarding the disposition, two weeks prior to the next Congregational Meeting.
3. The acceptance of amendment shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of the total active members of the Church.
4. At no time can any amendment which would be contrary to the beliefs and the practices of the Church be adopted.
Article XV: Amended Articles
1. On 4/26/87 the following statement was amended to the by-laws: In the event that dissolution of the Church occurs, the Church properties shall be donated to a registered charitable organization.
2. On 9/12/93, the terms of Board of Directors and Executive Church Councils were amended.
3. On 9/11/94, the membership (Article V) and Pastorate (Article VI) were amended.
4. On 9/12/99 the following statement was amended to the by-law: Full Time Pastor Compensation and Benefit Policy Guidelines.
5. On 9/7/04
6. On 9/8/13
1. 1984, English version of the by-laws was translated into Chinese.
2. July 1995, English version of the by-laws was updated.
Daniel Yuan Mission Fund
In memory of Daniel Yuan's efforts to spread the Gospel and bring non-believers to know Jesus Christ, our lord, the mission fund was established to support missionaries and Christian organization train and send mission workers. The mission fund was established on July 15,1994.
To encourage and support missions around the world.
Who may apply?
1. Christians who participate in summer and/or short term mission.
2. Missionaries who participate in the worldwide missions works.
3. Christian organization which participate worldwide missions.
4. Theological Seminary which is training worldwide mission workers.
Each applicant must meet at one of the following criteria:
1. A Christian answering God's calling to do missionary work.
2. A Christian organization sending missionary to participate in worldwide missions.
3. A Theological Seminary which is training worldwide mission workers.
1. Each application must submit to the address listed below a completed application form, a resume, and an essay describing the missionary work and the needs.
2. Each applicant may be personal interviewed or phone interviewed by the Daniel Yuan Mission Fund Committee.
3. Funding provide by the Daniel Yuan Mission Fund is base on the Formosan Christian Church of Dallas ("FCCD") annual budget and may be renewed annually.
A. Short term mission work.(Three months or shorter) Funding awarded is based on each applicant's need, and the maximum amount awarded is as follows:
(a) FCCD member: $500
(b) Nonmember: $300
B. Long term mission work. Maximum number of applications who may receive funding is three (3).
(a) FCCD Member:
(b) Nonmember, Christian organizations and Theological Seminary：
4. The Daniel Yuan Mission Fund Committee will consider any special circumstances pertaining to a request for funding.
5. The address for the Daniel Yuan Mission Fund is
Daniel Yuan Mission Fund
C/o Formosan Christian Church of Dallas
548 Crestcove Dr.
Garland TX 75042
6. A separate account has been established in FCCD for this mission fund. All donations should be made payable to FCCD for Daniel Yuan Fund. Each donation is tax-deductible.
Seminary Student Scholarship Fund
Encourage and support seminary students who are enrolling in theological training.
B. Who may apply:
1. Overseas Chinese students or God's workers who are enrolling in theological training in the USA.
2. Seminary student with burdens to spread the Gospel to American- Born Chinese.
3. Seminary student who are invited by this church, according to the needs of the Church.
1. The applicant must fill out the application form.
2. The applicant must then be recommended by the Christian Mission and Communication committee and then approved by the Executive Church Council.
Meeting Record (September 11, 1994)
1. In accordance with the Biblical mandate, this church baptizes brothers and sisters who voluntarily participate in this event.
2. Baptism is a testimony of an individual in front of God and the congregation and is a necessary ceremony to become a Christian.
3. Baptism signifies that the disciple has died, been buried, and been raised together with our Lord.
4. Prior to baptism, the person must be born again and also be approved by the pastor and the Executive Council of the Church.
5. The Church baptizes by sprinkling.
6. The Church accepts infant baptism, but the baptized infant must go through Confirmation after becoming an adult.
B. Lord's Supper
1. As commanded by Jesus Christ, the Church observes the Lord's Super (Communion) with sincerity and respect.
2. The Church periodically take observes communion service.
3. Regales of denomination, all baptized true believers are welcome to part take in the Lord's supper
FCCD Full-Time Pastor Compensation and Benefit Policy Guidelines
1.1 Salary includes base salary, housing allowance, and retirement benefits. Salary review will be conducted annually by the Executive Council Committee.
1.2 The newly approved salary is to be effective for a period of one year beginning on the next January 1st.
2.1 One day for each full calendar month of services, from start of service to the end of the initial calendar year, but not to exceed 12 days (including Saturday and Sunday) within the first calendar year.
2.2 Not to exceed 14 days (including Saturday and Sunday) from the second calendar year through the fifth calendar year.
2.3 Not to exceed 21 days (including Saturday and Sunday) from the sixth calendar year and on.
2.4 First vacation during the first year of service shall be taken after serving the Church for six months.
2.5 Vacation time accrued each year shall be taken within the same year, and can not be accumulated. Exceptions to this rule shall be presented to, reviewed, and approved by the Executive Council Committee.
2.6 Vacation schedule shall be presented to and approved by the Executive Council Committee 4 weeks in advance. Special cases may be approved by the chairperson of the Executive Council Committee.
2.7 At termination of service, vacation days earned but not used shall be reimbursed and pro-rated based on the current year salary level.
3. Sick Leaves
3.1 Ten and one-half working days (84 hours) of sick leave are allowed per year.
3.2 Sick leave is permitted at 7 hours per month of service for the first year of service.
3.3 Unused sick leave after each calendar year may only be accumulated towards short-term or long-term disability usage.
4.1 The nine holidays are: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. If the holiday falls on pastor’s day-off, he or she may take an additional day-off in the week.
4.2 Should a holiday not be taken because of conducting a church’s function, the workday immediately before or immediately following may be observed as the holiday.
5.1 Medical insurance: The church will assist the pastor to purchase the basic medical insurance (does not include dental care and vision care insurance) which includes the pastor, spouse, and dependent children under 18 years old. The insurance premium is paid fully by the church. Selection of the individual policy shall be approved by the Executive Council Committee.
5.2 Term-life insurance: premiums for coverage equal to two times annual salary is paid by the church. The maximum premium is not to exceed $500/year.
6.1 Housing – the housing allowance is included in the salary.
6.2 Personal car for church business: usage of personal car for official church business will be reimbursed on mileage. The reimbursement rate is based on current IRS published rate of business expenses.
7. Retirement Benefits
7.1 A retirement benefit is included in the salary.
7.2 5%of the annual salary is held by the church as the retirement benefits.
8. Advanced Studies or Conferences
8.1 Purpose: the church encourages our pastors to enroll in advanced studies or conferences which will enhance the theological knowledge and spiritual growth, in order to minister more effectively.
8.2 Study period: two weeks including Saturday and Sunday maximum per calendar year.
8.3 The characteristics and contents of the advanced study courses or conferences need to be approved by the Executive Council Committee prior to enrollment.
8.4 Reimbursement is not to exceed the amount equal to 50% of the monthly base salary per calendar year for tuition, books, and fees incurred for this purpose.
8.5 This benefit commences at the completion of 12 months of service to the church.
9. Outside Preaching
9.1 Pastor may accept invitations from other churches and religious organizations to preach the Word of God. It needs to be approved by the Executive Council Committee in advance. Special cases may be approved by the Chairperson of the Executive Council Committee.
9.2 The pastor is allowed to have five times or five Sundays per year but not to exceed three days (including Saturday and Sunday) each time, and not to exceed a total of 15 days (including Saturday and Sunday) per year.
9.3 For preaching in special evens which last 5 to 7 days, two events are allowed per year.
9.4 No reimbursement by the church.
10.1 A pastor who has served the church for six full years may request a three-month Sabbatical leave from the seventh calendar year, fourteenth, and twenty-first calendar year, etc. In special cases, a different Sabbatical leave period other than three months may be requested.
10.2 The contents of and the application for the Sabbatical leave need to be presented to and approved by the Executive Council Committee one year in advance.
10.3 Church will pay full-time salary, medical insurance premium, and term-life insurance premium during the Sabbatical leave.
The Journey of the Relocation of Formosan Christian Church of Dallas
by Charles Yang
Translators: Alex Chuang, Carolyn Chen, Chun-Liang Yeh
Cindy Tong, Hsien-Chang Wu, Jordan Wu,
Judy Hsieh-Rainey, Max Tsai, Richard Lin.
Editors: Ashley E. Chen, Justin I. Chen
In early 2008, after we had moved into our current church building, Rev. Chiang approached me to write a report ofmy reminiscence of thejourney related to the relocation of Formosan Christian Church and share this incredible experience with the congregation for the upcoming30THanniversary of our Church on October 30th 2008. At that time, I had just recovered from a surgeryand I was concerned that I might not be able to carry out his request, due to my still weak physical condition,so I suggested Rev. Chiang ask another church member to write the story. However, heconvinced methat I would be the most suitable person to write the story because I was the Chairman of the Church Board and the Chairman of the Church Relocation Committee. In addition, I was involved from the beginning to the end in details of the buying and moving process. Then, I knew in my mind that it would be my responsibilityto write and record truthfully and accurately the whole relocation process as a true testimony ofsuch a crucial time in our church’s history. At the beginning, I was worried that I would not be focused enough to write due to my still fragile physical condition, so the writing was delayed until last June when I finally made up my mind to embark on this project.Now, I amso relieved thatthe writing is finally done and I’m pleased to present this reportand share with you how God's merciful hand has led us to the new direction for the future of our church.
I. The rationale behind the Church Relocation
On Nov 12th and 13th 2005, our church Executive Committee members got together in a lock-in at a hotel to prepare for the following year’s Church budget plan. During the discussion and planning for the ministry, Rev. Chiang submitted a proposal to show the church’s current status and his visions for the future. The proposal mentioned that the church facilities needed improvements that would allow for larger classrooms and more space for children’s activities. Therefore, it was suggested that the church should either expand or relocate in order to meet those needs. Committee membersprayed together for this matter andlater the Board was invited to help make this important decision.
OnFebruary 5th, 2006, in a joint meeting of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the subject of church expansion and relocation again was discussed extensively. The pros and cons of both options, the associated funding needs, and the future development of the Church were discussed, as well. A final decision was reached to conduct a further study for church relocation. This new decision was explained to church members during the Sunday worship on Febuary 12, and the church asked members to provide suggestions and pray for this matter.
After a month of prayers and data collection, the Executive Committee held a joint meeting with the Board once again on March 12th, 2006. The meeting centered around in-depth discussion on the church space requirement for relocation, the churchcurrent financial situation, and available cash. The final decision was made that the church would relocate in several phases. The first phase was to purchase an adequate site in order to avoid the land price escalation. The relocation could then be planned after the land was paid off.
On March 19th, 2006, a church relocation proposal made by Executive Committee and board members was distributed to every church member during the Sunday worship, hoping that the church members would seriously consider this matter and prayurgently. We prayed that the church members would plead to our Heavenly Father to guide the church’s future direction and help us make good decisions in accordance to His will. We prayed that all the church members would face this challenge with an open mind and participate in making the decision with a positive attitude.
On May 7th, 2006, a special congregation meeting was held after the Sunday worship to report on the Dallas area Chinese residents’ northward migration situation and answer questions relating to the church relocation proposal. After enthusiastic discussion, a decision to relocate the church was passed by a majority vote of the congregation. The future church location was to be north of HWY 190, south of HWY 121, east of Dallas Toll Way, and west of Jupiter Road.
On May 14th, 2006, 9 church members - Shan-Tong Chen, Mei-Hsiang cheng, Alex Chuang, Bernadette Lee, Richard Lin, Yi-Shuong Lu, Jordan Wu, John Yang and I - were elected as Church Relocation Committee members and I was elected as chairman of the committee. I was worried and felt a heavy weight of responsibility on my shoulders. I could relate my feelings at that moment to the Israelites' exodus in the Old Testament: facing a path I had never traveled.I asked God to carry this burden for me, to grant me wisdom and to provide me courage. I also prayed that the committee and church members would jointly face this challenge with deep faith in God.
II. The Course of Buying the New Church in Plano
Everything by Prayer
As the old Chinese saying goes,each endeavor is difficult at the onset. The process of Church relocation was no exception. While the decision had been made to relocate the church, we had no idea where the new church would be. With a multitude of things that we were required to do, we did not know where to start. All committee members prayed constantly for this matter and waited patiently for God’s guidance.
In August 2006, a real estate agent informed me that an American church was for sale in Plano.The location was very convenient and many Chinese lived close by. The size of land was about 5 acres and the building size was 18,000 square feet. The building was fairly new and the other conditionsalso metour requirement. However, the asking price of $4 million was beyond our reach. At that time, I was thinking perhaps our church committee might consider an offer of $2.4 million. I told the Relocation Committee about this opportunity and invited all the members to visit the site. After the visit, everyone agreed that the church was perfect for us but we could not afford theasking price. Eventually, we made an offer of $2 million to the seller, hoping to have a chance to negotiate with him. The seller simply ignored our offer and told our agent angrily that he was insulted by such a low offer.
After this event, the agent continued to provide us with sale information on many lands and buildings, including existing churches and commercial buildings, but none of them met our requirements. So the committee went back to the original plan to search for a piece of land to buy first. During that time, I had also contacted the builders I knew to find out the construction costs,etc. I had also contacted banks to inquire about loan terms, interest rates, and other related matters and I had also started to work on a budgetary plan of the funding requirementfor purchasing land and construction costs.
In early 2007, the church relocation process had not made any progress for more than six months. Still we prayed together at every Relocation Committee meeting. All the committee members started a fasting prayer at noon of every first Sunday of the month, and later, we also invited church members to join in the fasting prayer.
Miracle: GodLeading the Way
In 2007, from March through May, we found several pieces of land that were suitable to build our church, but we didn’t pursue them any further due to the high price. Then, in June, we became interested in another piece of land with the right location and price. At the time, we could afford to purchase this land with cash, so I was excited that surely this deal would go through. Unfortunately, 2-3 weeks later, we found out thatthe land had a deed restriction prohibiting new owners from building a church on the property. I was very discouraged and very puzzled at the time. I didn’t understand why God had stopped us at the last moment. But God had His plan. While we thought we had lost our best choice, He had installed an even better one for us- our current church. Imagine this: we would have still been in our old church in Garland, waiting to build a new church, celebrating our 30th anniversary there, if we had purchased the land instead. Needless to say, The cost
wouldalso have been much higher and we would have had to raise more money from the congregation.Theinteresting thing was, after signing the contract with the Plano church, the real estate agent for the land came back and asked if we were still interested in buying the land because the seller had changed his mind and he would lift the deed restriction and allow the buyer to build a church on the property. Praise the Lord! He had been leading us one step at a time toward the best choice. I truly believe that the church we now own is God’s ultimate blessing for us.
In August of 2007, our agent informed me that the Plano church had lowered their price to $3.2 million. However, it was nonnegotiable. When I heard that, I became very excited and thought maybe God had intended for us to buy that church. At 9 AMon Saturday, August 18, I calledfor a Relocation Committee meeting.In the meeting, we did an in-depth analysis of buying an existing church versus buying land and building a church. After praying together on this matter, all members agreed that we would continue to pursue buying the Plano church, even though the price was still out of reach. After one more detailed calculation of the church’s financial situation,committee members made a decision to give me full authority to negotiate with the seller with the price limits of $2.8 million.
On Sunday, July 19, 2008, I informed our congregation of this good news and asked everyone to put the buying and selling negotiations on their prayer list. The following day, I met with our agent to decide on a new offer for the Plano church. He reminded me that the seller was very firm on the new price $3.2 million. He advised me that he would not submit any offer less than $3.2 million for fear that the seller, who was the owner and also a senior pastor of the church, would be offended. He mentioned that the seller was a very successful businessman with a very strong personality and he was not easy to deal with.
After listening to the agent’s analysis of the situation, I was worried about how we could afford this new church with a $400,000 price difference from our top price of $2.8 million. I felt lost on how to start the negotiation without jeopardizing the deal. I knew that I had to trust God wholeheartedly in this matter. What I did at that time was plead and pray to God. I implored to Him to grant us this church, asking Him to give us his blessing if the church was what he meant for us to have. I knew God would allow it to happen if it is his will. During that time, all I could do was learn to trust, obey and have faith in the Lord.
Besides finding a new church,the Church Relocation Committee had another challenging task - sellingthe old church at the same time. Between buying and selling, timing was very important and it was hard to coordinate the right timing. Again, in God’s gracious hand, while we were pursuing the new church, two potential buyers were simultaneously interested in buying our old church. One buyer was a Hispanic church in Garland, and the other one was an Indian church in Irving.
We knew we had to sell our old church in order to purchase the Plano church, but the two interested buyers for our old church also needed to sell their churches. Needless to say, with so many complicated variables involved, if one party didn’t sell its church, all deals would fail. At those difficult moments, my worries increased and I had many sleepless nights. But God’s words and assurance eventually calmed me down.
On August 24, 2007, I made an appointment with our agent in the morning at the Planochurch to meet apotential tenant for a day care center. I didn’t expect to meet the owner, Mr. Norrell,at the church. But for some unknown reason, he was in his office instead of in Louisiana where he was supposed to be that morning. I was very excitedbecause our agent had failed several times to arrange a meeting, and I grabbed this great opportunity and knocked at his door. Praise the Lord! This face-to-face meeting was a good beginning and also a big step in our negotiation.
I introduced myself to Rev. Norrell and he immediately rememebered that I was from FCCD, the church that made a low offer for his church about a year and half earlier. “Hi,I said, I am from FCCD and I am not here to steal your church.”, thinking it was a nice way to start our conversation. Rev. Norrell explained that his church was going to relocate further north to McKinney, and said he had reduced theprice of the church from $4 million to $3.2 million, so the new price would be a very good price for us. I replied that while the new price maybe very good for investment purpose, it was still beyond our budget because our congregation was still very small. I also emphasized that we were investing for the kingdom of God, not for business on earth.I was hoping I could persuade him to focus on God and agree to reduce the price further so the FCCD could afford it. I also tried to convince him that there was a large Asian communityin this neighborhood, and the new church would be able to reach out to more Taiwanese people in order to spread good news from God. After talking to him for more than an hour, to my surprise, Rev. Norrell agreed to drop his price to $2.7 million, and he repeatedly insisted that this would be the final price. Although this new price was within our reach, it would still pose a big burden on FCCD. After I pressed on to negotiate a better deal, Rev. Norrellthen agreed to include all the furniture and equipment in the churchin the new $2.7 million deal.
Our meeting continued and Rev. Norrelstood by his new price for another two hours.During this time, he told me that he didn’t like doing business with 3”C”s. The first C stands for “Churches”, becausechurches tend to make low offers and often bargain back and forth in negotiation. The second C stands for “Committees”, because committees tend to make decisions based on a lot of meetings, and they are time consuming. The third C stands for “Chinese”. He had had some bad experiences dealing with Chinese before. He stereotyped Chinese who like to bargain, even at the last minute before closing. Therefore, his principle was never to do business with the 3“C”s. He said, “You, above all, are all 3“C”s! How am I supposed to do business with you?”
I knew he was trying to discourage me from asking for more price reductions, so I respondedimmediately “FCCD is a small church with limited funding, but we relied on our master who created heaven and earth. You are doing God’s work, so you must understand the truth. Although I am just one of the Relocation Committee members, all of our members are united and they have delegated me with full authority to make a deal. Thirdly, I’m Taiwanese and I have been in the DFW real estate business for over 30 years. I have never tried to bargain at the last minute in aclosing. I’ll be glad to provide you with all the references. ”Rev. Norrellseemed to be satisfied with my response but he reiterated again that his asking price was fair. I knew I had to somehow convince him that we were not doing this for selfish gain, that we would all stand and work for the same God. Making a profit in this deal was not our goal. We were focusing on God’s kingdom and making sure our folks were taken care of and their souls were saved. I persisted in asking him again to further reduce the price. I knew if he would reduce the price to $2.4 million, we would save $300,000 for the church, and this would greatly reduce the burden for our small church.At the meeting I was also worried that my persistence would aggravate Rev. Norrell, so I prayed silently to God and asked Him to take this case in His hand.
The Work of Holly Spirit
I truly believe that the Holy Spirit was present with us during the meeting Rev.Norrell’s heart must have been touched by God. When Itold him our bottom price was$2.4 million, I was expecting him to get so offended that he would escort me out of his office, but instead, and to my utmost surprise, he accepted the offer without any resistance. What a miracle! I just thank God for his gracious blessing for our small church. He had listened to our prayers, and Hehad guided Rev. Norrell and me through the long negotiation. His intercessions enabled us to save$800,000in three and a half hours. Even the agentwas stunned thatRev. Norrell would accept such a low offerat the firstmeeting. No one but God could do that. Isn’t this truly God’s miracle? God is powerful, and He listens to our prayers!
Since I didn’t expect to meetRev.Norrell that morning, I had not prepared any contracts or paperwork to sign. What I did thenwas to stand up and shake his hands and ask him to honor our oral agreementin God’s name.We agreed to have the contract signed on August 29 at 2:00PM. At that moment, Mrs.Norrell called. When Rev.Norrell told her that hehad accepted $2.4 million offering from FCCA. I overheardaloud and clear “No, No” from the other end of the phone. “I don’t agree. We are not short of money. Why do you have to sell in such a hurry...”Rev.Norrell told her that he had already made the agreement. He told her that they would discuss it later and he hung up the phone. Just before I was leaving, Rev.Norrell’s phone rang again. Whenhe recognized that it was Mrs. Norrell from the caller ID, he handedthe phone to his assistant pastor and asked him to tell Mrs. Norrell thathewas busy. A few minutes later, his assistant came back to tell him that his wife urgedhimto cancel the deal. At that moment, I saw Rev.Norrell shake his head and say, “I am in big trouble now. I will face a tough time when I get home.”
In retrospect, if Mrs. Norrell had called during the negotiation, we would not have reached the agreement of the $2.4 million price. Our meeting lasted about 4 hours from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. In a normal day, my wife Sarah would have already called to ask if I planned to come home for lunch. I can not help but believe that God was directing the meeting with his magic power, so we were able to conduct the negotiation without any interruptions.
Faith: Patiently Waiting with Submission
I called Rev.Chiang and my wife Sarah immediately after I left the church. They were both so elated to hear the good news. We praised the Lord and gave all the glory to Him.
On Sunday August 26, I wake up early in the morning, and while lying in bed, I thought about how I should prepare the contract to sign for the following week. I wanted to wait until the contract was completed before I announced the good news to the congregation. I didn’t want to disappoint the members in case Rev. Norrell backed out of our agreement. Thenan inner voice whispered tome: “Be faithful, God has promised to complete this purchase according to the agreed price. He has listened to the congregation’s unitedprayers, so do not hesitate and do not doubt. Be bold and tell the congregation the good news.” Our God is a promising God, a trustworthy God! That morning, I announced confidently to the congregation the good news. I asked the congregation to continue to pray for Rev.Norrell, his wife, andfora successful transaction of the purchase.
On August 29, 2007, our agent and I met the listing agent and Rev. Norrell at the church to sign the contract.To my surprise, the listing agent asked me,”Do you want to buy this church?” “Yes, we have agreed on the sale price and I am ready to sign the contract today” I replied. “Have you sold your churchyet?” He asked. “Not yet, but there are two churches that are interested in buying our church.” I replied. He said immediately “Do you need to sell your church so that you can afford buying this church?” I said, “Yes”. He said “ We can’t sign the contract today. We will be wasting our time if you can’t sell your church within 90 days. Besides, we have other buyers who are interested in buying this church. We will lose our opportunity to sell to them if we sign the contract with you today without being sure.”
Rev. Norrell did not say a word. I turned to him and said “Haven’t we already agreed on this? What happened?” He replied, “What my listing agent said is reasonable.” I was very disappointed and upset, but I didn’t lose my temper. I told him I was very certain that we would get a contract to sell our church within a week. If this didn’t happen, we would get a short-term loan from the bank. Rev.Norrell looked at me and said, “Are you 100 percent sure?” I replied, “Yes” (I was very confident because I had already talked to Cathay Bank about a loan commitment). Rev.Norrellthen agreed to postpone signing the contract for another week to September 6th when I would have to show him either a letter of loan commitment or a signed contract from our buyer. He thought those conditions would discourage me from signing the contract. But, God was in control. I had total confidence in God’s assurance. I felt His presence and His guidance when I announced to our congregation this good news. He would fulfill the promise. I believed He was a trustworthy God who would lead me all the way to the end.
God’s Help Came Just in Time
I left the church deeply disappointed I calledRev. Chiang about the news and also asked the committee members to start praying urgently and diligently. I then visited Mr. Liu at Cathay Bank the next morning. After discussing the loan details, Mr. Liu kindly provided me a letter of loan commitment, confirming that FCCD was qualified for the loan from Cathay Bank. I was so thankful for his help. Thebig burden in my heart was suddenly lifted. On the same day, I visited the Indian Church and the Hispanic Church and disclosed to them the selling price and conditions of our old Garland church. I told them that I would sign the contract if either one of them could bring me a contract with the agreeable selling price and terms.
By September 6th, neither of these 2 churches had brought us a sale contract. Therefore, we still had no buyer for our old Garland church. On September 6, as scheduled, I met Rev. Norell and showed him the loan commitment letter from Cathay Bank. He gladly agreed and signed our sale contract without any hesitation.The closing escrow date was set for December 19th. Praise the Lord! God’s promise was again been fulfilled. He is so trustworthy and faithful!
I then reported the good news to all the church members. I told them we had successfully accomplished the first half of our relocation venture. Our next step was to sell our old church in Garland as soon as we could, or the church had to carry two loans, which would be an unbearable financial burden on our church.
III. The course of Selling our Garland Church Property to theHispanic Church and the Hispanic Church sold their churchto the African American Church:
God is Faithful and Trustworthy
After we signed the contract to purchase the new Plano church, I started contacting the Indian Church and the Hispanic churchproactively about buying our Garland church. The Indian group seemed more motivated because their pastor came to look at the building many times, and he also brought their church elders and many church members to look at the building. They all were very fond of our church.They told me they already had a buyer who was very interested in buying their church as well. When I knew that they did not have a bank that was willing to make a loan to them, I volunteered to arrange a meeting to introduce them toMr.liufrom Cathay bank. I thought if we both used the same bank, we would simplify the complicated transactions in the future.
At the same time the Hispanic church also contacted me. The pastor andhis wife (also a pastor) represented their church. They thought our church’s location and facility were ideal for their church’s future growth. They shared their testimony with me on howthey became pastors and started their church from a home bible study about 10 years ago. Their membership had grown, so they needed a more spacious facility. They also mentioned that their church building had already been under contractwith an African American church (the African American church just sold a piece of their land to raise the funds to buy a church property), sothey would need to relocate as soon as possible. I asked them to provide a loan commitment letter from their bank and a bank statement from the African American church. I explained that these statements needed to be submitted to our church Relocation Committee as soon as possible because the Indian church was also preparing to send their contract to us. I stressed that our relocation committee would accept a contract that was completed with all the required terms on a first-come first-served basis.
Personally, I preferred to sell our church to the Hispanic group. Their church was just minutes away from our church in Garland. Their members also lived around the same neighborhood. Our church would be anideal site for their relocation. In addition,since the pastor and his wife would assume the ownership of the church property, the transaction and paper work would be less complicated at closing. On the contrary, the Indian church was located in Irving. If their church movedto Garland, theywould lose many of their current members. On top of that, they would still need to get a majority vote to approve the relocation and obtain a loan commitment from the bank.
God’s will is wonderful and unpredictable!!
While I was hoping the Hispanic church would send in their contract soon, the Indian church group calledfirst and informed me that their church members had voted to relocate to Garland, and they had also obtained a loan commitment from Cathay Bank. I had no choice but to joyfully report this to FCCD’s relocation committee. On September 25th, the contract to sell our Garland church to the Indian Church was signed. Priase the Lord! He had again made the deal possible for us!
Testimony of Faith
Two days after we signed the contract with the Indian church, the lady pastor from the Hispanic church called. I apologized to her, saying we had already signed the contract with the Indian church. I thought she would be upset about the news. On the contrary, she thanked me for giving her the opportunity to work with our church. She said confidently that even they lost the timing in getting all the documents ready, she still firmly believedthat eventually this church would be sold to them. She said God had promised to answer their prayers, so she asked me to notify her if the contract with Indian church fell through. I was quite amazed at such great faith she had in the Lord! I wondered if God had touched her and had truly spoken to her. This was truly a beautiful testimony of faith.
Three weeks had passed, and our church had been busy preparing to move. Suddenly on one Tuesday morning, I received an unexpected call from theIndian pastor. He apologized profusely and said that the church committee decided not to buy the Garland church because more than 10 families from their church jointly wrote a letter saying they had changed their minds about relocation. If the church insisted on moving, they would choose to leave the church. He said hewas saddened at this sudden development, but in order to avoid the division of their church, hedecided to abandon the original plan of relocation.
In my mind, I thought everything would go well without a hitch. I didn’t expect this sudden turn of events. I wondered if God was testing us, or if He was teaching me not to become too complacent and take His will too lightly. I now believed God was using this experience to remind me to be obedient and submissive to His will.
After the conversation, I immediately called the pastor of the Hispanic church to see if they were still interested in buying our church. Praise to the Lord! They were still waiting to buy our church, and they also had all of their documents ready to sign. They never gave up, and they truly believed that our church was the one that God had promised them.
The next day, we signed thecontract with the Hispanic church and we set the closing day on December 7th. Our closing day for the Plano church was set on Dec 19th, so wewould have sufficient funds in the closing without having to obtain a short term loan from the Cathay bank.
On October 24th, 2007, the pastor and I were scheduled to meet at the agent’s office. When I asked about his wife, he told me that she had returned to Mexico for a surgery the week before. I felt sosad to hear the news. I wondered whyGod would inflict pain on such a faithful servant. I could only resort to the truth that God had His plans for everyone. Iknewwe needed to pray for her, so I called our pastor Rev. Chiang immediately to pray for her speedy and uneventful recovery in our Wednesday night prayer meeting. Two weeks later, the pastor called me and said she was still in Mexico, and that a second operation was required because of the infection. It was just so incomprehensible to me that I started to wonder why God did not take away her physical suffering. When I open the Scripture, the answer from God came to me “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I firmly believed that God would reward His faithful servant. I started to pray to God to have mercy on her and her family, and to pray for her complete healing and recovery.
After we signed the contract with the Hispanic church, I constantly kept in touch with both the Hispanic and African American churches to make sure that their loan applications with the banks were going smoothly.
At the end of October, I had my annual routine physical. My PSA was found to be elevated, and my physician recommended further checkups. I had a prostate biopsy in the middle of November and had an uneasy feeling afterwards. “What if it’s cancer?” I wondered. One week later, my doctor called me to set up an appointment to discuss the biopsy results. I figured it meant bad news. If the biopsy result was ok, he would have told me over the phone so that I would not worry. Before the appointment, I prayed urgently everyday for God’s mercy. With trepidation in my heart, I went to see the doctor. He told me that “there is bad news, and there is good news.” The bad news was I did have prostate cancer. The good news was that the cancer was localized since it was detected early, and there was no distant spread. There were several effective treatments, with cure rates over 95%. It was very hard to describe my feeling at that time. I was apprehensive of all I had already been through.
After the diagnosis of cancer was confirmed by a second opinion, I needed to face the challenge. All I could pray for was for God to provide an excellent surgeon for my operation. This truly was the darkest time in my life. People are usually afraid of the word “cancer”. Without exception, I was not immune to it. I had many questions in my heart. I was busy doing God’s work, as buying the new church and selling the old church was coming to fruition. Why would God place this burden on me now? All I could do now was to humbly come before Him and pray for His mercy. Perhaps God was testing my faith. The Scripture says “God shows his might when we are weak.” I needed to submit to the Lord, and continue forward.
In early December, the Hispanic church replied to us that their mortgage was approved; however, the bank denied the African American church’s mortgage application. As a result, the Hispanic church couldn’t close the transaction on our church on December 7th . We had no choice but to postpone closing the contract with the Hispanic church for one month and see if we could help the African American church work with their mortgage.
Since the Hispanic church couldn’t close their contract with us on time, we had to contact Cathay Bank for a short-term loan. I was afraid that our new church’s closing date would be delayed. As a matter of fact, there were only 10 days left. The bank informed me that we had to make a decision whether we needed the loan right away, since we couldn’t sell our old church on time on Dec. 7th. Although the board of directors had approved the short-term loan, I still felt nervous about the $20,000-$25,000 extra cost we were going to pay for the short-term loan. It was also a pretty large amount of money to our church. I was wondering if our members could lend this amount of money to our church with no interest, allowing us to save the interest payment from the short-term loan. I didn’t want to make the proposal because I was worried about the additional burden to everyone.
While I was pondering, I went to see my doctor on the afternoon of Dec. 12th to set a date for my surgery. When I was on the way to doctor’s office, I received a phone call from a director sharing the same idea as mine. She suggested raising funds from all our members to loan it to our church without interest. This would reduce the loan from the bank and lighten the financial burden of our church. After hearing this, I thanked God for His spiritual guidance to touch this director. After returning home at 6 PM, I called all the directors about this idea of raising funds from the members. I believed it was a test of faith of our members by taking such an action. When some of them asked me: “Are you sure the Hispanic church will buy our church?” “Will our church be sold quickly” I said that I was sure we would complete the transaction in a short time if we devoted ourselves to God like Abraham did. When he gave his son to God as a sacrifice, God actually prepared a substitute for his son. God was testing Abraham’s faith in Him. We should have the same faith in God. Thank the Lord!All the directors and one of the church members were willing to participate in this action even though they didn’t know when our old church was going to be sold and when they would get their money back. But I firmly believed that our God would provide for us. By ten o'clockthat night, we had raised about $950,000. It almost made up for the short-term loan of one million dollar that we planned to borrow from Cathay Bank. As a result, I informed Cathay Bank the next day that we didn’t need to borrow a short-term loan from them. At the same time, we also reduced our long-term loan to $850,000.
In the meantime, there was still no news from the African American church about their mortgage as of Dec. 19th, but we still went ahead and completed the transaction with Rev.Norrell for the new church. Two days later, we got the keys and decided to hold our 2007 Christmas celebration on Dec. 23rd at the new church. Many guests took part in our thanksgiving service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and everybody immersed in this joyful event.
After Christmas, I contacted the agent of the African American church’s mortgage company. I found out that their mortgage was denied, resulting from the low credit score of their pastor. He had endorsed guarantees for many church members and it affected his own credit score. Fortunately, they still had a piece of land to provide to the bank as collateral for the loan. The bank finally approved their mortgage application and agreed to process the transaction after the New Year. I felt relieved after hearing this and decided to have my prostate cancer surgery on Dec. 27th. After four and a half hoursof surgery, the doctor told me that everything went smoothly. The cancer did not spread and had been removed. Furthermore, there was no need to do chemotherapy. I thanked God for his mercy and kindness in helping me go through this crisis. I was released from the hospital on the 29th.
Originally, the bank of the African American church planned to finish the closing on Jan. 4th and to completethe transaction with Hispanic church on the same day. Then, the Hispanic church could complete theirs with us for our old church.
We thought that everything would move smoothly according to our plan, however, we found at the last minute that the legal documentsweren’t ready from the African American church to complete the transaction. They had to turn to an attorney to prepare the missing documents. As a result, the closing date was postponedagain to Jan. 14th.
On the morning of Jan. 14th,the title company suddenly called and said they couldn’t find the African American church’s pastor, so they might have to cancel closing the contract in the afternoon. Around noon, the pastor was located and he was on a flight back to Dallas from Houston. He had to go to Houston the evening of the 13th because his daughter was in the emergency room. At 3 PM of Jan. 14th, the African American church’s pastor completed the transaction with the Hispanic church. Our transaction with theHispanic church also took place on the same afternoon at around five-thirty. This fulfilled God’s promise to theHispanic churchthat our church would finally be sold to them. Our amazing Lord always delivers what He promises.
At last, we had finally accomplished the church relocation mission that God entrusted us with. Looking back at the whole process, we had passed through the winding and bumpy roads, all with God’s guidance and blessing.
I thank God for giving me the opportunity to participate in the church relocation project. Twenty years ago, I was involved in building the first Formosan church. In my lifetime, I had the honor and priviledge to serve God twice in the sacred works of the construction of our first church in Garland and therelocationto the new church in Plano. This was not only a special grace God gave me; it was also the most meaningful thing in my life and I would like to share my personal testimony and wonderful experience. It is my hope that each of us can learn from the church relocation project to experience God’s presence and vigilance. Without God's guidance, we wouldn’t be here to worship, and praise Him together today. Let us attribute all the glories to the omnipotent, faithful, merciful, compassionate, and listening-to-prayer God, our Father in heaven.
The will of God is greater than our own will, and God’s achievements are also greater than what we ask for because God is so wonderful and trustworthy. God bestows to us well beyond what we ask. We planned only to buy about 2.5 acres of land, hoping to pay off the loan in 3 to 5 years, and then we planned to build a church on the land. However, within one and a half years, God gave us a five-acreplot of land with an 18,000-square-foot church in Plano. We also simultaneously sold the old church. The process was very complex, involving people of five different races buying and selling three different church properties at the same time. Even the officer of the title company told me that these were the most complex transactions he had ever handled. Before we could buy the new church, we had to sell our old church. Originally, we signed a contract with the Indian church, and they later called off the deal. We then quickly signed with the Hispanic church to sell our old church. But in order for the Hispanic churchto buy our church, they had to sell their property to the African American church first. And the African American church also needed to obtain a bank loan to buy the Hispanic church. The ultimate success in coordinating the intricate relations among the parties involved and the timing of each and every deal to satisfactory conclusion was truly miraculous. Only God can bestow this upon us. If one part failed, this sale could not have been completed. I believe that this plan was God’s will, otherwise it would have been impossible to complete such a truly complex transaction within four months. Now that we can all cherish our God-given, wonderful new church, I hope we shall rededicate ourselves and work together with the blessings of God’s love to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in generations to come.
A Brief History of FCCD on its 30th Anniversary
by Shan T. Chen
On October 12, 2008, Formosan Christian Church of Dallas (FCCD) celebrated its 30th anniversary and the relocation of the church's facilities from Garland to Plano, Texas. On that day, a special worship service in celebration of this historic event was attended by approximately 150 people, including a mix of Christian believers , local Taiwanese community members, and other guests. The keynote speaker was Rev. Ko-Fu Cheng, a professor in the Singapore Seminary and a pastor at a local church in Singapore. He also led a two day spiritual revival for FCCD members in conjunction with the 30th anniversary celebration. As part of this celebration, FCCD members recalled the church's early beginnings and the many blessings received since its humble start.
FCCD was established on July 30, 1978. This start of FCCD's journey was full of wonders and miracles. The founders were Mr. Duo-he Cheng and his wife, Mrs. Rae-Mei Pan. At the time, Mr. Cheng was a graduate student, majoring in geologic physics at the University of Texas at Dallas. Then in March 1978, during a school-sponsored field trip to the Santa Barbara sea shore on a rock collecting expedition, Mr. Cheng was walking along the sea shore with fellow students when, suddenly, he and two other graduate students from Taiwan were struck by a large ocean wave about 20 feet high. All three students were swept away by the hungry ocean. Miraculously, Mr. Cheng did escape being carried out to sea, but he was the lone survivor. He believed that, but God's grace, his life was spared for a specific purpose. After much discussion with his family and with the encouragement of his brother, Rev. Rae-Shoung Cheng, Mr. Cheng and his wife planted the seed of FCCD.
The very first meeting was in a class room at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Among the 20 adults and 20 children who attended this first meeting, only three families were Christians. Rev. Rae-Shoung Cheng made a special trip to Dallas from San Francisco to conduct this first worship service. In this meeting , each attendee made a special commitment and pledged funds to hire a full time pastor . Within two months, through the tireless efforts of Rev. Rae-Shoung Cheng, FCCD was able to hire its first pastor, Rev. James Chi. At that time, he was still a student in a theological seminary in California. When we looked back at the very start of our church, we can see that God truly blessed the Church with His grace. FCCD started with only three Christian families and within only two months from that first meeting, the Church gained a full -time pastor to shepherd its members. As recorded in the Bible, Jesus replied to the rich ruler, "what is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
One of FCCD's immediate problems after its establishment was to find the next location for its worship services. Many local churches were unwilling to rent their church facilities on a long term basis. As soon as our congregation moved into a new church location to hold its worship services, we had to immediately begin the search of locating another church to host its worship services. Fortunately, because Rev. Rae-Shoung Cheng was at that time the executive director of the Asian Churches of the U.S. Methodist Church Association, we were able to rent church facilities to host our worship services in a timely manner with his help and his relationship with American churches. One statistic that helps put FCCD's nomadic beginnings in perspective is that during the first eight years since its founding, the Church moved a total of five times, with our shortest stay in one particular church at less than one year.
Due to the constraint on the total number of class rooms available to us during this time as well as the very limited time the church facilities were often available to us on many Sundays, we were often unable to conduct Sunday school classes for our adult congregation members. However, we were able to conduct the children Sunday school class without interruption since the inception of the Church. In fact, by the grace of God, a large majority of those children who did attend our Sunday school classes were baptized and became Christians when they came of age. To address the problem that faced our adult congregation, adult Bible classes were conducted on Friday afternoons at the homes of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Under the guidance of Rev. Chi, each attendee rotated the responsibility of leading and teaching these Friday Bible studies. It was through this teaching of the truth in the Bible that many non-believers in the Taiwanese community became Christians, and the number of people attended the FCCD worship services increased gradually.
By the grace of God , with the tireless leadership of Rev. Chi, and with the united heart of its members, the Church was able to purchase in January 1982 a plot of land consisting of 2.5 acres in the city of Garland, Texas and to begin designing blueprints for a church building. The ground -breaking ceremony was held on April 20, 1986, and it was followed by an excavation to establish the foundation pillars of the Church.
Then on one day in June of 1986, during the phase of building the concrete floor of the foundation, the workers, who began work at sunrise, rushed to complete the 7800 square feet concrete floor due to the threat of afternoon rains. Initially, the work went smoothly; however, that afternoon, rolling black clouds appeared in the sky, and the radio broadcasting reported possible flooding in the Dallas area as heavy rains were expected to sweep into the area. Around 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., heavy rain dropped onto the newly poured concrete floor, and as the surrounding streets flooded, it became extremely difficult for cars driving around near the Church. Many workers were worried, and their anxiety was clearly seen in their faces. During these anxious moments, Rev. Chi invited me to walk quietly with him to a corner to pray earnestly for God's help. For the next five to six minutes, as strong winds buffeted around us and thunderous skies dropped pouring rain continuously onto the concrete floor, the workers watched us with tense expressions as we both finished our prayers. Rev. Chi then invited me to pray together again. As water begin to pool around the lower part of the concrete floor , the workers quickly added more concrete to that part in an effort to keep the entire floorlevel . Not long afterwards, the thunderstorm quickly stopped, the weather cleared and sunshine peeked through the clouds. The foreman who had seen us praying was so moved by this and said, “It was a miracle. I deeply sensed that the Lord is a true, faithful , always with us , and listening to our prayers, God. FCCD is built by Himself, and we must thank Him and praise Hi."
It took five months to complete the new Church building. On November 27, 1986, which was Thanksgiving Day, we formally moved into the new Church for Thanksgiving worship service. This marked the end of an era where FCCD was without any permanent location for its worship services, which nomadic period lasted over eight years. Our original plan for building the new church was to use the church facilities to provide a place for worship, but also to provide a space that may be used by the local Taiwanese community. To accomplish this, we first built an activity room with capacity of holdingto hold 300 people. This activity room was used to hold worship services and to host other church events; this room was also made available to Taiwanese community for use free of charge.
After moving to the new church facility, in addition to the Taiwanese worship services and children Sunday school classes held on Sundays, we were able to add an English worship service as well as adult Sunday school classes. Several students from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) came to FCCD and led various youth activities and English worship services. At that time, about 75% of the adults who attended the worship services also attended the Sunday school classes. As the spiritual growth continued among the FCCD brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord also blessed our Church by adding more faithful members.
Around the end of 1992, Rev. James Chi accepted a position with the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in St Louis and left our Church after 15 years of faithful service at FCCD. The whole congregation prayed continuously and asked God to send to our Church a new full-time pastor . Thank God for His grace and providence for on January 1993, God sent his faithful servant, Rev. Ko-Fu Cheng to shepherd us.
At that time, Rev. Ko-Fu Cheng had just arrived from Singapore and was studying for his master degree at DTS. God used Rev. Cheng’s special spiritual gifts to minister to our members and to teach us the truths contained in the Bible to boost our faith - that God is with us forever and will guide us at all times.
Under Rev. Cheng's leadership, the Daniel Yuan Mission Fund was established on July 31, 1994. This designated fund was founded to sponsor and provide monetary support for missionaries and various worthy mission projects. The Caring Fund was then established on July 4, 1995 to support the emergency needs of individuals.
During the summer of 1995, Rev. Cheng completed his advanced study at DTS and returned to Singapore to continue his service to the Lord. Before his departure in January 1995, God again sent a gifted pastor, Rev. Daniel Chiang, to shepherd His sheep at FCCD. Under the leadership of Rev. Chiang, the faith of the FCCD brothers and sisters in Christ continued to grow in God, and the Church was able to hire our first full -time English pastor, Rev. Douglas Lew, to serve the needs of English congregation. He stayed in the position for over four years until September 24, 2000. Rev. Sujaya James immediately stepped in to oversee the English worship services for the next year while he pursued his doctoral degree at DTS. He was tasked with inviting guest speakers , including various pastors and seminar students, to preach sermons each Sunday to the English congregation. The Church then hired Rev. Hendra Chousand as our full -time English pastor in November 2001.
When the Church reached its 20th anniversary, we celebrated by hosting a two-day evangelical revival immediately followed by a special worship service conducted on July 26,1998. The keynote speaker for both activities was Rev. Ko-Fu Cheng, who flew in from Singapore for this event. He gave a sermon titled "Where to Search for Peace”, where he concluded that true peace may only come from God. A special publication for our 20th anniversary was published on the church's website on September 20, 1998, and the paperback publication was made available in the spring of 2000.
As time passed, our church found that the demographics of its members were slowly moving from the young adults involved in the founding of the church to an older age bracket. In fact, by the time of the Church’s 20th anniversary, very few of the Church's members were under 40 years old.
When Rev. Chiang took his position as our pastor, he and his wife, Jean Chou , were about 30 years old and did not yet have any children. However, since their arrival at FCCD, many singles and families with small children joined our Church, and the number of our Church members gradually increased. It was during this time in order to meet the growing needs of our children Sunday school program, the Church remodeled and expanded the several old classrooms and our parking lot. This expansion project was completed in the spring of 2003.
On May 7, 2006, the church called a special congregation meeting to approve to move of our Church from its current location in Garland, Texas to a growing area near where many Taiwanese had migrated. The purpose behind the proposed relocation of our Church was to move FCCD to where we would be able to more effectively spread the gospel to non-believers in the local community and lead them to become followers of Christ. A few members did not agree with this proposal because they held a different view about the effect of the move or due to concerns about the increased financial burden on the Church and its members that would be incurred with such move.
This move turned out to be one of the most meaningful events to have occurred for this Church since its establishment . Namely, God responded to our prayers and our fasting and guided the Church through this decision. This great blessing was given to FCCD from our Mighty God. On December 23, 2007, our Church moved from Garland, Texas to its current location at 6700 Independence Parkway, Planojust in time to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus with our Christmas worship service in the newly purchased church facility.
In the processing of moving, all of FCCD's brothers and sisters worked together,regardless of ages. Everything, no matter how big or small the items, were packed in an orderly manner with the guidance of God and the careful planning by Mr. Stephen Lin, who was then in charge of general administration of the Church. From this experience, I saw that all our members had good hearts, and I was very proud to be a member of this big family. Since the time of this move until the middle of October 2008 (which was less than one year), the number of people who attended the Sunday Taiwanese worship service increased about 22% when compared to the attendance rate in our old facility in Garland in October 2007. During this same period, the number of attendees in the English worship service experienced a similar increase. We are thankful to the Lord.
During the past 30 years, the love and grace of God accompanied FCCD as seen by the many miracles continuously happening in this Church. From the miracle that happened with the pouring concrete foundation floor in Garland to and the miracle that happened with the move of our Church to Plano, God makes His presence known. For example, in order for us to complete the purchase of our new building in Plano, four different churches owned by four different ethnic groups (including our own church) had to close a number of transactions within a short 4 to 5-month time window as one church would sell its facility in order to have sufficient funds to buy another church's facility. It is these experiences that led us to believe that our mighty God is in charge of His holy church.
Each church is composed of many different members, and God loves every one of us even though each member has his or her own unique character, background, and propensity for loving certain things. We must celebrate our differences, not just tolerate them, because God wants us to work together for Him. For the sake of unity in Christ, we must not be separated because of our differences, but instead, we must pay close attention to the most important belief - that is, we must conform to Jesus, love each other, and accomplish God’s purpose for leading us here.
I pray that this Church becomes one big family in Christ, comprised of loving members who will express their love for their brothers and sisters in Christ, encourage each other by words and deeds , and learn and grow spiritually rooted in Christ. May we be strongly anchored in this truth so that we may unconditionally love others and serve our Lord.
Choir director: Annie Purnama
Chairman: Mei Hsiang Lee, Secretary: Yue Shoung Lu,
Treasurer: Charlas Yang, Yue Shoung Lu, Jordan Wu
Chairman: Richard Lin, Secretary: Cheng-Hung Yu,
Treasurer: Mindy Kuo, General Manager: Stephen Lin,
Education & Music: Joel Kao, Mission:Richard Lin