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Makeover connects North Mobile church, communitycomment (0)

May 18, 2006

By Donna J. Wright

Capital fund-raising campaigns can sometimes lead churches to take the focus off reaching people in their community with the gospel. But First Baptist Church, North Mobile, in Saraland decided that the two should go hand in hand. 
Scott White, family pastor of the Mobile Baptist Association church, said their building had many areas that needed work. “We realized our church needed a makeover and decided to reach out to the community at the same time we made improvements inside the church,” he said. 
With the popularity of the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the church decided to base its outreach on the premise of the show: doing minimakeovers on two homes for people who needed help. 
The makeovers occured April 1, with some work being done ahead of time. This also marked the start of the church’s one-year capital fund-raising campaign.
Terry Smith, who coordinated the makeovers, said the first house chosen belonged to a handicapped man who lives by himself.
“I got inside and talked to him about painting the living room,” Smith said. “... the next thing I knew, I was sharing Christ with him and he was praying to accept Christ as his Savior.”
White said the unexpected happened often during this project. “We had people show up and do things for us that we hadn’t anticipated.”
The other home chosen had been flooded by Hurricane Katrina. It needed new drywall, paint and appliances. 
Ed Litton, pastor of First, North Mobile, got church members to sponsor him in Mobile’s Azalea Trail Run to raise money. This, plus a golf tournament, provided all the money needed for appliances and materials for the flood-damaged home. 
White said the neighborhoods around the homes joined church members in both makeovers.
Even those who had not been on the work sites were able to see the progress and results through video clips shown in church.
While the church is still making improvements to its own building, members are eager to continue reaching out through renovation projects. “Our pastor often tells us, ‘It’s not just about us,’” White said. “We learned that we need to show people that we care. People who experienced it want to do more.”

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