MOSBY – Volunteers made progress on First Baptist’s new building, but there’s still lots of work to be done, and the state’s Baptist Builders need more manpower to make it and other projects happen.
“This is the first year for a long time that we have had so many opportunities for volunteer work teams in our churches across Missouri,” said Leighton Clemons, coordinator for Baptist Builders in the state. “There is a big interest in helping on a Baptist Builders project.”
Baptist Builders offers a simple way to help construct a new church building while being good stewards: a church provides the materials, and Baptist Builders provide the labor at zero cost. It may be a little bit more time-consuming than paying a contractor, but it is substantially cheaper. Volunteers pay their own expenses, use their own tools and even carry their own insurance.
Baptist Builders was formerly a ministry organized through the Home Mission Board, which became the North American Mission Board (NAMB). NAMB turned the ministry over to individual state conventions several years ago, but it never gained the wide-spread reach of Disaster Relief.
“One of the biggest things I would like to see happen is for team leaders across Missouri to contact me so we can get a network established,” Clemons said.
“Baptist Builders in Missouri could be so much more than it is, we just need to come together as individual work teams so we can know the needs for each job, and how any particular team could help on that project,” he said.
Clemons said he thinks Baptist Builders could go beyond its traditional role of building churches. He said he thinks it can become a follow-up and complimentary ministry for Disaster Relief. The idea is that when the disaster relief volunteers are sent home, Baptist Builders can come in and do some of the specialized work.
One woman Clemons met while on Disaster Relief duty in Colorado was planning on taking two months off of work to get her home back into shape.
“In a situation like that, if we had enough Baptist Builders, we could help her rebuild in no time,” he said. “We love building churches, and we’ll always build churches, but this could be a huge ministry.”
Clemons said one church may have a team of finish carpenters or painters that team up with Clemons, a retired electrician, who can complete a job neither could do alone.
“If a job can be planned out correctly, one team with a particular skill leaves and the next team comes in and does their particular skill,” he said.
For information on individual jobs or churches seeking help, contact Dwain Carter at the Missouri Baptist Convention at 1-800-736-6227.
Koonce earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2005.