JACKSONVILLE — They come from all over the state – and in this case, Colorado and Oklahoma, too – to serve the Lord, helping not only to throw up buildings, but build up the Body of Christ in different ways.
They are the men and women of the Texas Baptist Men Retiree Church Builders., who have been doing this since 1979.
More than 40 members of the group have spent the past two weeks at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, throwing up walls inside an 8,000-square-foot steel-frame building that will feature four offices, eight classrooms, two restrooms, storage and a big commercial kitchen.
“God has blessed tremendously in regards to growth: We were at 60, and now we're at 350 to 400 (members) in a year-and-a-half, and we needed the space desperately for classes” and a fellowship hall, explained associate pastor Brian Faulkner.
But like many congregations, only a certain amount of funding was available to immediately build, so church leaders contacted TBM to help out.
“It's a burden that they took off our church, in regard to expense,” Faulkner said.
In another sense, the men and women – through their joyful ministry – are giving Woodland Heights church members (who range from their 20s to 40s in age) a wonderful role model to emulate by demonstrating “the giving of time” and selves, he added.
But to hear their guests speak, it's they who receive the greater blessing.
“It blesses our hearts to be able to help other people,” said lead electrician Jim Mohle of Waller. “It's a blessing from the Lord.”
Wanda Olsen, of Colorado, described the different ministries the group is involved in.
While the men focus on construction, the women lead a Bible study and visit local nursing homes and shut-ins, among other things. “We try to reach out in a variety of ways,” she said.