Our current lease expires in October 2022 and we fully expect to renew it. However, in the meantime, we want to negotiate long-term solutions to meet our growing spatial needs. To meaningfully negotiate, it is important for us to be in a financially strong position and have funding that allows us to move forward in a redevelopment project.
Island ECC is responding to God’s call and trusting His guidance. We believe this is the right time for the church to move from rent payment to a long-term lease on a Government Institutional Community (GIC) building and in due course, enable our income to be more fully devoted to ministry.
Will this giving campaign affect the church's commitment to outreach and missions?
No, it will not. We are committed to maintaining all current levels of giving to outreach and missions. This means that all BOLD Faith giving needs to be above and beyond your regular support to the church. In fact, we believe that the growth enabled by the BOLD Faith campaign will increase our commitment to outreach, both in Hong Kong and overseas.
About 21% of Island ECC’s income goes to support mission partners in Hong Kong, China and some countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Island ECC’s current premises at 633 King’s Road currently host churches and NGOs that do not have a physical place to meet in Hong Kong. With a larger facility, our church mission teams and missionaries could provide more education and healthcare to address needs amongst low-income and vulnerable groups.
Why was the decision made for this redevelopment project?
Island ECC has been financially stable over the last 20 years and paying lower than market rates in Quarry Bay and meeting the church’s financial obligations annually. Church leadership does not believe that leasing additional commercial floors (subject to availability) will meet the growth of congregants in a financially and logistically sustainable manner.
We also believe that acquisition of a building is good stewardship practice. After searching for buildings on HK Island for the past 6+ years, there has not been a suitable premise (e.g. commercial, industrial, school) available and affordable for the church.
The GIC redevelopment opportunity is a unique opportunity for Island ECC to partner with two social service non-profit organizations to serve the community, while expanding social programs and providing greater opportunities to spread the gospel in Hong Kong (and overseas through church online).
Island ECC will not be going multi-site due to the higher operating costs incurred, particularly staff resources and facility costs. The redevelopment building will be the church’s main location to support all ministry activities and outreach in Hong Kong and abroad.
Given our growing numbers, have we considered planting another church?
In October 2010, Island ECC planted Watermark Community Church in Cyberport with 200 congregants, a strong leadership, and a 3-year financial commitment. Despite being a successful endeavour that we would love to venture into again, this alleviated our spatial needs for less than a year.
We firmly believe that church planting is an effective and necessary means to reach a broader group of people in Hong Kong, and hope to continue to plant churches in other locations. However, we believe our most urgent priority right now is to secure a permanent facility that could serve as a training centre and hub for future plants.
The economies of scale that are obtained with a larger congregation make it cost-effective while also providing broader ministry opportunities than a small church model.
What is the BOLD Faith Campaign fundraising target?
In 2015, the initial target was to raise a minimum of $1 billion dollars for the Bold Faith Campaign with inclusion of the majority contingency costs.
As of April 2021, the fundraising target is to raise $879 million to meet the total estimated project costs over the coming 5-7 years.
The church would like to exercise good stewardship by raising the full amount and having zero debt for the church. To complete the project as needed, the church may review options such as interest-free debentures and/or low-interest from private loans.
We must stress that the fundraising target number is an estimate, and we won’t be able to project accurate figures until the contracts of professional consultants, constructions, as well as all government land premiums are realized during the redevelopment process of the project.
The redevelopment building/site is in a prime location. Once granted, the church will be able to use the land for a long-lease period without paying for the land. The HK Government has written documents supporting the conversion of commercial and residential buildings for GIC purposes in the North Point district.
What is the current financial position of the church?
God has provided abundantly through the years and church leadership has been wise in determining budgets. We are therefore in a sound financial position and maintaining 6-months of operating reserves.
For those who would like to see our audited financials, you can request a copy from the Finance Department via firstname.lastname@example.org.