Summer 2015 Newsletter

August 29, 2015


First, an apology to Jacob Varghese.  In the last edition of our Newsletter we misprinted Jacob’s name as Joseph in the Varghese’s testimonial.

This edition of the Newsletter includes testimonials from an assembly with a current loan and a couple that have served the Lord both overseas and stateside, as well as my thoughts on contractual arrangements when considering the construction of a new building.

Maybe the most important decision to be made when it comes to construction is the type of contractual arrangement best suited to the assembly’s situation.  There are two primary arrangements to be considered:  the traditional arrangement of Architect-to-Owner and Owner-to-Contractor; and the Design / Build arrangement of Owner-to-Contractor with the Contractor providing the necessary architectural services.

In the first arrangement, the Owner hires an Architect to design a building suitable for his needs and reasonably within the established budget.  Once the Architect has designed the building and prepared the necessary construction documents, the Owner hires a Contractor to construct the building.  Determining the best Contractor for the job may include asking several Contractors to bid the project, or selecting one Contractor from a list of Contractors narrowed down through a qualification process.  In this arrangement, the Architect’s contractual relationship is with the Owner.  The design is undertaken by the Architect’s direct interaction with the Owner and he serves as the Owner’s representative during construction.

In the second arrangement, the Owner hires the Contractor who in turn hires an Architect of his choosing to provide the required architectural services.  The Architect works for the Contractor, designing the facility and preparing the necessary construction documents.  The Architect’s work should be in keeping with the Owners’ wishes, but he has no direct contractual obligation to the Owner.  The plans may not be as detailed because the Contractor has already been determined eliminating the bid process.  Any competitive bidding will occur among Sub-Contractors. The Architect’s participation may be minimal during construction as the Owner interacts directly with the Contractor.  The responsibility of observing the Contractor’s work to ensure that it is in accordance with the construction documents falls upon the Owner.

Maybe the best way to explain these two arrangements is by the following diagrams:

Hired by Owner
Hired by Owner
Hired by Owner
Hired by Owner

Each contractual arrangement has positive and negative points:

Traditional Arrangement


  • The Owner works directly with the Architect to convey his design intent resulting in construction documents for bidding and construction that reflect the Owner’s wishes
  • The Architect works as the Owner’s agent to see the project through to the desired completion without being financially obligated to the Contractor


  • The Owner does not benefit from the Contractor’s cost analysis through the design phase to ensure that the project stays on budget. Owners often want more than the budget allows, and an Architect may be happy to oblige them resulting in a more prestigious project.
Design / Build Arrangement


  • The Contractor alone is under contract to the Owner; he is solely responsible for architectural services and construction
  • The Contractor has control over the project from beginning to end permitting him to hold tight to the Owner’s budget


  • The Owner may have less involvement during the design process as the Architect works for the Contractor
  • The design and construction drawings may not be as detailed as those that include a bidding process
  • The Owner has no independent representative looking out for him, the Architect being financially obligated to the Contractor and not the Owner.

There are nuances to both contractual arrangements, but these are the salient points to consider.  It is impossible to overemphasize the need for careful due diligence.  Check every reference, even those that come with the disclaimer, “they will probably not give me a good reference.”

For commercial projects like “church” construction, a licensed Architect’s services will be required.  This is true whether the Traditional or Design / Build contractual arrangement is used.  Generally, states require that the Architect of record – meaning he placed his seal on the drawings – at least oversee the architectural work.  If someone states that he is a licensed architect – and the term “licensed” is important – ask for their license number and check them out.  Most state architectural boards maintain a list of architects licensed to practice in their state.

Many state and/or local governments require that Contractors be registered with any municipality in which they offer construction services to the public; check out any Contractor under consideration.  He will likely do the same thing before signing a contract with the assembly, so make sure your house is in order.

A good, honest Design / Build Contractor that works with a qualified, licensed Architect may offer the best solution.  This contractual arrangement benefits the Owner by having the Contractor’s expertise in costs throughout the design and construction document phase.

Chapel Testimonial - Believers Gospel Chapel

After much prayer and many meetings with all the oversight of Augusta area assemblies, a Bible study was started in 1972 with the goal of planting a new assembly in South Augusta. One year later, on the second Sunday in September, twenty-five people crowded together for our first meeting in the living rooms of the Child Evangelism Fellowship House. A month later, with the help of Stewards Foundation, we purchased an old Army Chapel that had been relocated to Young Drive in South Augusta. We remained in that location for approximately ten years at which time it became apparent that the Young Street facility could no longer meet the growing needs of the group. With the help of Stewards Foundation, we were able to purchase ten acres of land farther south in Richmond County, and a new chapel was erected on the site with Mr. Tom Taylor being present for the dedication of that building.

Believers Gospel Chapel has been blessed with many opportunities for outreach over the years. These endeavors include the commendation of the Speichinger family and Tim and Lori Dejong to foreign missionary work. Many in the assembly are actively involved in prison ministries that include the Emmaus Prison Ministries of Georgia, a counseling ministry for the Richmond County jail, and outreach counseling and chaplaincy programs for law enforcement officers. For the past ten years, an annual mission trip to Veracruz, Mexico has been undertaken where we work with the Rio Blanco assembly team and brother Jose Barrios. This outreach is among the people that live in the mountains surrounding the area. We have been blessed by witnessing the conversions of many to the Lord Jesus, as well as the growth of new assemblies there in the mountains.

The assembly has been a part of the work at various camps in the area including Camp Hope and Marsh View Bible Camp. We have also been involved with the Christian Release Time Education which ministers to approximately 900 students. For ten years we provided the leadership at Augusta Center for Biblical Study, a small Bible college for resident students as well as students from the community at large.

An active part of the ministry at Believers Gospel Chapel has been in conferences including Skyland Bible Conference and Rise-Up, as well as hosting the South Eastern Workers Conference on many occasions and various area-wide missionary and evangelistic meetings. Many from our fellowship were involved in planting a new assembly in Lincolnton, Georgia a small town located approximately fifty miles from the chapel.

Although we have participated in active outreach activities and have been greatly blessed by reaching beyond the walls of the chapel, we have enjoyed great fellowship within the group. The passage of time has brought challenges including the death of several leaders and the relocation of others. However, we remember the faithfulness of God in the past. Therefore, we look to the future with assurance knowing that the God who has been with us all along the way continues with us now and will continue in the future to equip us to reach another generation for Him. As was said in I Samuel 7:12, “Ebenezer, hitherto Jehovah has helped us.” We continue to look forward to the Lord’s provision, guidance and sustenance in the days ahead…. until that great day when the Lord calls His family home.

I (Charles) was born and raised in a coal mining area in southern West Virginia. It was there that I first heard the gospel of grace. After several months of deep conviction and being persuaded by the Spirit of God that I was a sinner, I trusted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior at the age of 18 years old. Harry Pilkington a Canadian worker who was serving the Lord with his family in West Virginia led me to the Lord on a Sunday evening in a little two-room country school.

Darlene was born and raised near Plymouth, Wisconsin. After her family’s house burned down, they moved to an area where a godly couple associated with the local assembly in Sheboygan, Wisconsin showed interest in her family. She was saved in 1957 at the age of 15, being led to the Lord by Mrs. George Lartz (now with the Lord).

We had a thirst for the Scriptures from the time we were saved and God used this to bring us to Emmaus Bible School in Oak Park, Illinois. It was a blessing to be at Emmaus while William MacDonald was president. During our years at Emmaus we became vitally interested in serving the Lord overseas. By the end of our studies we had become very interested in a short-term group called South East Asia Literature Crusades (SEALC) that later became Literature Crusades. The focus was to visit key cities in South East Asia for a period of time and concentrate on large distribution of gospel literature. Working with local assembly missionaries, we used Emmaus Bible courses as follow up for all contacts.

One year after our marriage in 1963, we moved to Huntington, West Virginia to work with a small assembly. I took a job with a painter while Darlene worked in a Christian Bookstore. During the following year our interest in serving the Lord overseas continued to grow.

On August 3, 1965, we received a phone call from Kevin Dyer, the founder of SEALC. He told us that a new team was being started in Seoul, Korea and that our best friends from Emmaus days were to be the team leaders. It was the open door we had been praying about. We arrived in Seoul in May 1966. I became the team leader after one year, as our friends needed a break and returned to the states for a year. After another year and a half we were asked to assist in starting a team in Tokyo, Japan. We relocated to Japan in September 1968 where two teams were started: one in Tokyo and the other in Osaka. Adrian and Betty Presson were such a great help to the team in Tokyo. We served the Lord in Korea and Japan for over four years, returning home after the 1970 EXPO in Osaka.

While in Korea, I was privileged to have Bible studies with both Middle School and University students. This was in addition to full days of distributing literature and helping with the Emmaus work that was begun a few years earlier by Wilbur MacAfee who lived in a rural area. Several students were saved in those classes. All of them have gone on for the Lord. It has been a thrill to see them develop and go on to serve Him. One of those early converts lives with her husband in the Chicago area. We still remember the night this young student came to our house because she wanted to be saved. What a privilege to see her in tears, as she trusted the Lord Jesus for her salvation.

After a one-year furlough, we returned to South Korea where we studied the language and carried on an itinerant ministry among rural assemblies of believers. Assemblies in West Virginia and Lombard Gospel Chapel in in Lombard, Illinois commended us to the Lord’s work. We returned home after eight years on the mission field.

In 1981, I joined the staff of Emmaus Correspondence School (ECS); Darlene joined the staff in 1983. I resigned after 20 years with ECS in order to continue itinerant ministry among assemblies, which ministry continues today. Darlene continues to work part-time at ECS, now called ECS Ministries.

Our traveling ministry takes us to assemblies in the Midwest, the East and the Southeast US, and Canada. Once a year we return to West Virginia and visit assemblies there. One of them is located in the same coal-mining town where I spent a large part of my growing years.

We adopted two Korean babies, Sheri and Kristy, while serving in Korea. Now we have two beautiful Amerasian granddaughters.
Looking back over the past fifty years, we can clearly see the providence of God leading us from one stage of life to another, and filling our hands with opportunities to serve the Savior who loved us and give Himself for us. What a privilege we have had to serve the best of Masters!