Our plan for a permanent home for Wisdom International and how you can help make it possible!
Our New Home
The image you see here is an artist rendering of the soon-coming Wisdom International Headquarters. It is both beautiful, and desperately needed!
We're eager to tell you more about our plans to move out of rental space and into a permanent home. This has been on Stephen's heart for several years. As we’ve sought to faithfully steward the resources given to us, our emphasis has been on expanding our international reach as we create and translate content heard around the world. Funds raised for this building project won’t distract us, but directly aid us in our global mission.
We’re dedicating our project to the mission and model we find in Scripture—an Old Testament builder by the name of Nehemiah. Simply put, it’s time to “Arise and build.” CLICK HERE to learn more.
In order to set the context for you, this project is born out of our belief that God is calling us to put down more permanent roots. We have seen God-ordained growth and expansion in recent years, and we feel now, more than ever before, that God is equipping us to be a ministry that endures for many years to come. Yes, we are making bold decisions by faith, but we have a promising future, praying that God will continue to reap an eternal harvest from our labors, for His glory!
Please read on to learn about the project, and please make a special donation to our Building Fund to make this vision a reality!
We are commissioning this building for the glory of God, for the sake of the gospel, and to continue the work of the Great Commission.
Here are answers to some questions you may have:
WHY IS WISDOM INTERNATIONAL BUILDING A NEW HEADQUARTERS?
This ministry was founded in 2001. In the early years, Stephen’s wife, Marsha, converted the bonus room in their home into a “Distribution Center.” Space was set aside in the “school room” where Marsha home-schooled their four children, making room for cassette and CD duplicators, lots of boxes, labels, inventory, and a postage machine. A computer was set up as Marsha typed thank-you cards and carried on a correspondence with inmates and listeners who began to respond.
After a few years, Marsha’s “Distribution Center” was replaced as rented office space was upfitted where Stephen, Marsha, and a producer moved the operations. Still, following even more growth, other staff and space were needed. Over the past 15 years, Wisdom has moved three times to larger rental spaces, occupied by a growing team of staff and volunteers.
Two recent developments finally led us to begin planning our own International Headquarters.
One development was the launch of The Wisdom Journey. Prior to that, the content for our ministry was based on Stephen's pulpit ministry. Those sermons were edited to become the podcast and radio broadcasts called Wisdom for the Heart. The Wisdom Journey is different. It is entirely new and original material, recorded in our rented studio.
When we moved into our current space, it was a quiet office complex. Since then, a busy gas station was built on the empty lot next to us. The constant noises of trucks, cars, and motorcycles have made recording in our office’s studio very difficult. There is a metal roof above our studio. In addition to traffic noise, we also have to stop recording when planes fly overhead, when it's raining, or when the landlord is mowing the grass. We even have to turn off the heat and conditioning to record because our microphones pick up the sound of the air.
We have done all we can as renters to add soundproofing to the office. Despite our efforts, we do not have a proper recording studio. (Read more about our new recording studio beliow.)
The second development is the wonderful truth that our ministry is growing exponentially. The need for additional staff and volunteers has brought us to maximum capacity for the Wisdom Team. With some exciting new opportunities on the horizon—such as the launch of new languages—we are envisioning an even greater need for staff and volunteers, and we need space to grow.
HOW WILL THIS NEW SPACE HELP FULFILL OUR GLOBAL VISION?
Our new building will become the headquarters—a launching pad— for all that God is pleased to do through our efforts.
Currently, we have resources available in nine languages, including English. We are producing and distributing two daily radio programs and podcasts (Wisdom for the Heart and The Wisdom Journey). Through our publishing arm, Charity House Publishing, we are developing a growing library of print resources, also shipped from our office.
Our prayer is for the Lord to provide the resources so that we can translate The Wisdom Journey and make it available to the nations of our world. Currently, we have listeners using our online resources from 185 countries each month. Ultimately, we're praying that God will allow us to translate The Wisdom Journey into the top 100 most understood languages of the world, enabling this teaching series through all 66 books of God’s Word to be available and understood by almost everyone on the planet!
Our new building will not accommodate every aspect of this vision. Even today, for instance, our Spanish translator lives in Texas and our Mandarin translator lives in Beijing, China. Our future translators will continue to live in various parts of the world as they do now. But we need an office staff at the headquarters to launch, oversee and finance all these ministry opportunities.
WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR CONSTRUCTION, AND WHEN’S THE GRAND OPENING?
We are currently working on zoning and site plan approval. We expect that process to be complete in the spring of 2023. Construction will be right after that. Once we break ground, we expect the building to take up to 12 months to complete. We are praying that we can occupy the building in early 2024.
We will will keep this timeline updated:
- 9/24/2021 - Signed a contract to purchase 1.24 acres in Clayton NC.
- 4/6/2022 - Hired an architectural firm and began the design of the site and building.
- 8/18/2022 - Closed on the purchase of the land.
- 2/18/2023 - Held a fundraising banquet which raised over $660,000 toward the project.
- 2/20/2023 - The Town of Clayton voted to approve rezoning of the land.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THIS PROJECT?
In order to move in debt-free, which is our goal, we need to raise $3.6M.
That’s a big number! We’re trusting God to provide what we need, and we’re praying that we can move in debt free. We’re asking you to be part of God's provision for this project.
Even though we’re asking you to help us with cement and steel and bricks, your investment represents so much more. This building positions us to reach even more people. This isn’t a resting place to maintain the status quo. This is a launching pad for new and expanded ministry.
God is using Wisdom International to make disciples of the nations, and edify followers of Jesus Christ. The reason we keep at it is because God’s Word has the power to change lives. This project positions us to do even more!
A Studio To Meet Our Needs
One of the biggest challenges our ministry faces today is that we are an audio-based ministry without a professional recording studio. For most of the existence of Wisdom International, this has not been a problem, because our audio has been taken from Stephen Davey’s teaching as a pastor, recorded from his pulpit.
But with the creation of The Wisdom Journey, recording original content in-house has become a regular part of our weekly schedule. Unfortunately, this need has highlighted some deficiencies in our current office space that is impacting the efficiency and quality of our work.
In our rented office space, we have made as many modifications as we are allowed to make to ensure the highest quality of our work. These modifications include installing sound-resistant foam paneling in our studio, and using the highest quality microphones we can.
But there are some issues with recording and sound quality that we are not able to fix in our current studio. For example, our current heat and air conditioning system needs to be turned off during recording. Our microphones pick up the sound of the air.
Our metal roof makes it impossible to record during moderate or heavy rain. And our new neighbor, a gas station and convenience store, has introduced a new traffic pattern to our office. In what used to be a relatively quiet area, now cars, trucks, and motorcycles are coming through constantly. We can hear engine noise inside our recording studio, and every time we do, we have to stop and wait for that vehicle to drive off.
These various factors have one simple result: our productivity in recording is significantly less than what it could be. Our recording sessions often take double the time they should because we have to pause and wait for sounds to subside.
As a professional broadcasting ministry, we need a professional, high-quality studio. That’s one of the reasons this building project is so important.
Our new building is going to have a totally soundproof studio capable of recording even higher quality audio. This portion of our office will be a cement bunker, with insulation between the walls and an airflow system that runs silently through the walls and into the studio. We will be able to soundproof not only the walls, but the ceiling, enabling us to record regardless of the conditions outside.
Volunteers and staff members will be able to carry on conversations outside the studio, speak on the phone with callers, and greet our in-person guests, without causing any disruptions for the recording taking place. And our studio will have the aesthetic elements to create not just high-definition audio, but engaging video as well.
As we refine all the details for this studio, and prepare to build, we are trusting God to make this endeavor possible, and pray frequently for God to bless our work as we seek to serve Him as professionally and proficiently as possible.
Arise and Build
Throughout time, there have been important “hinge moments” that changed the course of history.
One of those moments came during World War Two. Winston Churchill was told by many of his advisors that Britain had no hope of defeating Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. They encouraged him to pursue peace, even in the form of surrender. Churchill refused and recommitted Britain to the fight. He famously said, “If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
The truth is, every individual, every organization, and every nation have hinge moments. They may not alter the course of world history or turn the tide in a global war, but these moments are what define the purpose of our lives and ultimately, write our spiritual legacy.
Wisdom International has approached a hinge moment. We're inspired by an Old Testament leader who obeyed God’s call to undertake a daunting building project. Leaders said it couldn’t be done. Obstacles and opponents tried to keep it from happening. But with courage and faith, Nehemiah led the people to rise up and build!
As we begin our own building project, we want to explore—and imitate—the example of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah served the Persian King Artaxerxes during the Israelite’s exile from the Promised Land. When Nehemiah heard of the dilapidated condition of the city of Jerusalem, he mustered the courage to ask the king to allow him to return to his homeland and rebuild the city to its former glory.
The king granted Nehemiah’s request, and he set out to convince the governors of the provinces around Israel to help him in this endeavor. He knew the task would be difficult—he knew others had tried before him and failed.
When Nehemiah arrived and eventually announced the building project to the people living in Israel, he said: “Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision” (Nehemiah 2:17).
Don’t miss the use of the first-person plural pronouns in this charge. Nehemiah neither puts the burden on the people, nor does he attempt to shoulder the entire burden himself. He invites the people to join him in this cooperative effort, urging them to join him in taking ownership of this grand project.
As Nehemiah continues to encourage the people, he humbly shared his trust in God: “I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me” (Nehemiah 2:18). Nehemiah could have said, “I convinced the king with my bold vision for this project and the king agreed to send me.” Frankly, Nehemiah could have taken the credit for the completion of the project as well.
Nehemiah knew what we need to remember today: God’s will has never been accomplished through human strength. As evangelist D.L. Moody used to say, “There’s no telling what God will do through someone entirely devoted to Him.”
For the most part, Nehemiah’s initial challenge to the people was successful and they responded in unison: “Let us rise up and build” (Nehemiah 2:18). But not everyone signed up to serve. In fact, several leaders mocked Nehemiah and threatened the people who partnered with him. Throughout the entire project, enemies and detractors would make numerous attempts to stop the building project.
Following Nehemiah’s example of courage and persistence, the people remained undeterred by the hostility and opposition they faced.
At one point, Nehemiah responded to their enemies by making a bold prediction; “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20).
This is the challenge we want to adopt for our entire ministry staff, partners, and listening family. We aren’t unaware of the challenges we face. Already, during our initial planning, we’ve seen cost estimates increase dramatically due to inflation and supply-chain shortages. If we relied on our own strength to accomplish this task, these turn of events would discourage us from this strategic and critically needed project.
Building a permanent headquarters for Wisdom International is a task God has placed on our hearts as a ministry. As we seek to steward the resources He blesses us with, we are committed to relying on His strength alone.
The Lord might make it easy, or difficult, but together we can finance this project and continue facilitating our passion to teach God’s Word around the world.
As missionary statesman and pioneer, Hudson Taylor, often said: “The ministry is a constant cycle of three phases:
Impossible . . . Difficult . . . Done!”