A group of volunteers from Georgia converged at the century-plus old First Baptist Church in Petersburg recently and donated their time to build a 2,300-foot fellowship hall.
The new fellowship hall includes a new kitchen and several Sunday school classrooms.
Central Baptist Church’s construction mission team, Builders for Christ, which includes about 30 men, along with their wives and children, drove from Central Douglasville, Ga., to undertake the project last week. The team formed 22 years ago within the megachurch of 2,300 members, and has worked on 22 projects in that time.
Central Baptist’s pastor, Steve McFall, was among those who worked on the project for a couple of those days in Petersburg.
“We started at 6:30 a.m. on Monday and one and one-half-hours later, we already had almost all of the outside walls up,” said Woody Findley, team leader. “We use air guns and air tools … this is a very simple building.
“It’s a blessing to be involved in it,” he said. “We’ll take it as far as we can, then another team will come behind us.”
Although the building quickly took shape, the birth of the project began more than three years ago. Findley searches for projects through Builders for Christ, a non-profit headed up by Bobby Lunceford, although they not affiliated with Central Baptist Church’s team. Findley said he also looks for projects through the North American Mission Board. The church pays for the materials, and the volunteers do the labor at no charge.
“It saves them 30 to 40 percent,” he said.
Findley learned about First Baptist’s project and thought it might be about the right size project for the group to tackle in the one-week time frame. Many of the volunteers use their vacation time each year to help on the projects. While the men do the carpentry work, the women and children help out also, by preparing food, picking up and cleaning the existing church and other jobs.
“We always leave the church cleaner than we found it,” said Findley.
The team has worked all over the southeast – “We just do whatever God wants us to do.”
Findley had ongoing discussions with FBC about the building, and they agreed to have a concrete slab poured and ready for the builders when they got there.
“This keeps the cost down – we are budgeted in our church budget,” he explained.
The mission team pays for its own breakfast and dinner, and the host church gives them lunch.
“It’s a blessing for them,” said Findley, noting that the church can minister to more people in a larger facility.
Last Wednesday afternoon the mission team planned a carnival for the community, offering games and food, and later in the day scheduled a praise band to sing.
“We couldn’t do without them,” Brenda Reavis, a 50-year member of Petersburg FBC, said of the Builders for Christ team.