For some years, the leadership of Chinese Bible Church Maryland (CBCM) had been exploring and praying for an opportunity to establish its first church plant. In 1985, two elders, Rev. Robert Lo and Rev. Samuel To, were charged with the task of laying the groundwork for its first church plant near the University of Maryland in College Park. Besides conducting demographic studies, they shared this vision with the three cell groups in Prince George’s County. After much prayer and preparation, a special kick-off was held on Saturday, March 19, 1988, and the very first Sunday service was launched on March 20, the first day of Spring. We had a burden was to reach college and graduate students, mainly at the University of Maryland College Park.
We initially met at Northwestern High School in Adelphi, Maryland until November 1997. During those years, our members faced a variety of challenges due to the limitations of the old high school facility. The building was old and without air conditioning, so it was very hot during the summer and was very cold during the winter. Co-workers served in hauling essential elements back and forth, such as hymnals, audio system, overhead projectors, musical equipment, church banner, nursery equipments, toys, and even teapots for lunch. Children’s Sunday school classes met in the hallway instead of having their own meeting rooms.
In 1991, we purchased two adjacent properties at our current address, and started the building project. While the costs were reasonable, it was quite challenging for a congregation with a high percentage of students. Also, it was extremely difficult to obtain the building permit. The pastor and other co-workers attended countless city and county public hearings and meetings. A seasoned construction expert informed us that we were in one of the three most difficult counties in the United States to construct a church building. On September 15th, 1996, we held a symbolic ground breaking ceremony. On Friday, November 7th, 1997, we received a temporary occupancy permit. The first Sunday service in the new facility was held on November 9th, 1997. Twenty months later, the church received its final occupancy permit.
Initially, our services were bilingual (English & Mandarin), along with Cantonese translation via FM short-wave transmitter. In June 2001, we were able to have separate English worship service and bilingual Chinese service (Mandarin and Cantonese). Since March, 2007, we have been holding three separate services, English, Mandarin & Cantonese.
Over the years, God enabled CBCCP to grow and inherit the church planting burden. In 2002, CBCCP started the Rejoice Fellowship as a joint ministry with the McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia. By God’s grace, in three short years, the Rejoice Fellowship grew to over 50 people with Cantonese, English, and Mandarin small groups. On July 31, 2005, Chinese Bible Church of Fairfax began the first Sunday worship service in Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, Virginia. God has again made the new church planting a reality.