Matt and Allison Liberio could barely believe how God had worked time and again on their behalf over the course of the last week — they had been praying and dreaming of this day for years! And now, for the first time in the history of Chi Alpha Denton, they owned their own facility, miraculously, debt-free!
Since its founding in 2002, Chi Alpha Denton has held most of its meetings at local AG churches in the area. Matt, the Chi Alpha director and campus pastor for the Denton location since 2014, says that although the churches have been extremely generous toward and supportive of Chi Alpha throughout the years, they weren’t located very close to the campuses the ministry serves — University of North Texas (UNT) and Texas Women’s University (TWU). Also, in recent years, as attendance numbers regularly approached or exceeded triple digits, space was beginning to become more of a challenge.
In 2019, Matt, Allison, and what they refer to as “an amazing team of staff pastors who serve Chi Alpha” formed a four-year plan for the ministry. One of five goals they entrusted to God to accomplish was have a ministry facility near the campus.
“In the fall of 2020, so many things stagnated due to COVID,” Matt says. “Half the students weren’t on campus, so I felt now it was time to start raising money toward buying a facility — let God use this year for His glory.”
Almost immediately and, admittedly, somewhat shockingly, Matt says they began to receive significant financial gifts toward purchasing a building. “We received $3,000, $5,000 gifts and then got invited to a church’s Wednesday evening service, and they gave us over $8,000 — God just kept surprising us.”
Suddenly a piece of property became available in November that was relatively close to UNT, but at that time, Matt says they hadn’t raised enough to buy it. By February 2021, they had raised $50,000, which would have been enough to put down a sizeable down payment on the property, but the building had already been sold.
As it turned out, without that disappointment, Chi Alpha Denton may have missed out on an incredible blessing.
“Between mid-January and mid-April, students, working extra jobs and extra hours, contributed over $7,000 to the fund,” Matt says. “They really wanted to see it happen.”
Then, it did. An Apostolic Church within four blocks of UNT and wedged between five massive student housing complexes, came on the market in early April. Matt called his realtor and set up a time to view the property the next day.
The property for sale included an 1,800-square-foot church building and a small 930-square-foot parsonage, a 1/3-acre lot, and a location that couldn’t be better.
“The pastor walked us through the property — sharing that he really wanted the building to be used for ministry,” Matt says, “and then, before we left, he prayed with us.” The asking price was $285,000.
Inspired, Matt quickly contacted lenders, district and local, to see about a loan — both seemed interested in helping. Then he made one more call.
“We have a supporter who expressed interest in and is capable of funding a loan,” Matt says. “So I called and asked if they would consider financing the loan for us so we wouldn’t have to pay interest — it would be $200,000.”
Four or five hours later, Matt received the exciting response: Yes!
“Of course, I was really excited,” Matt says. “And I told them that we would need to work out the terms of repayment. Then they said, ‘There’s no need to repay the money; it’s our gift to Chi Alpha.’”
Matt was speechless.
But the blessings didn’t stop there. To that point, they had raised over $70,000 (in addition to the $200,000 gift). So, with an expectation of a counteroffer, Matt put in a $250,000 bid on the property.
“Probably the value of the whole thing was more like $350,000, but they listed it at $285,000,” Matt says. “We made our offer — they accepted with no counteroffer and we closed in three weeks . . . in a matter of seven days, we located, looked at, secured financing, and had our offer accepted for our own facility!
“That Monday night after we found out they accepted our offer, we had a service — no one knew what had taken place,” Matt recalls. “We were speaking a series about the provision of the Holy Spirit and God’s favor — the service went way past the normal time. As we concluded, I told them that I had a testimony of what God’s favor looks like today and I told them about the building . . . it was like a bomb dropped; everyone was so excited!”
E. Scott Martin, the national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, a U.S. Missions ministry, states, “I am very grateful for the longevity and faithfulness of service to Chi Alpha at the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University by Matt and Allison. I have discovered two significant keys to growth and fruitfulness of Chi Alpha on our universities: longevity and anointing. Matt and Allison bring both of these qualities to Chi Alpha UNT and TWU. We celebrate with them the sacrificial financial gift the Chi Alpha ministry received as God desires to see Chi Alpha advance on UNT and TWU. I believe the building, along with our Chi Alpha team, will be conduits of spiritual awakening on the university.”
On May 5, the day after Matt and Allison were given the keys to Chi Alpha’s new home, they held a celebration worship service at their new facility with the students — praising God for His blessings and provision.
“It may have seemed like a seven-day miracle,” Matt says, “but the Lord opened the hearts and used the giftings and heard the prayers of so many people, churches, friends of Chi Alpha, and alumni throughout the years to bring us to this point — people who laid the foundations of this ministry. We’re so thankful for not just my team, but for the teams who have invested in the past.”