Centreville team builds churches in several states, sees needs metcomment (0)
June 23, 2005
By Grace Thornton
In Pastor Ken Fuller’s office, several engraved plaques are spread around, remnants of road trips men from the church have taken over the past seven years.
“The newest one is a really nice one from a church we visited out West. It’s cut in the shape of the state of Oregon,” Fuller said.
But that’s just memorabilia, he said — what’s more of a treasure in his eyes is the shape the men left that Oregon church in and the way the group has been shaped over the years into a team of master builders for the cause of Christ.
Fuller, pastor of Centreville Baptist Church in Bibb Baptist Association, has been leading a construction team at the church on yearly trips since 1999, shortly after he was called as pastor — and had been leading building teams for about seven years beforehand, too.
“Once a year, we get the name of a church off the North American Mission Board’s list of churches that need assistance with a building, and we pray about it until we feel we have the right site,” Fuller said. “We spend a week trying to help them with their construction.”
Last year’s trip was to complete a project begun the year before at Foothills Baptist Church, Medford, Ore. The team built most of the church, and Fuller was recently invited back to preach during the building’s dedication service.
“Our denomination is not as prevalent in the West, and it’s harder for the churches out there who need help to get teams that will travel that far,” Fuller said.
“The men who went were willing to make the trip, paying their own expenses and taking their vacation time to do it. It’s a wonderful team and a real joy to work with them.”
This year’s trip was to Blue Mountain Baptist Church, Walla Walla, Wash., May 28–June 4.
The congregation — on average, 55 people — meets in a school building, and the 26-person team from Centreville framed up the church’s first sanctuary the week they worked there.
“None of the guys on the team are professional carpenters — they’ve got careers from mill worker to accountant,” Fuller said. “They have just learned over the years and developed their skills and talents.”
Take Randy Chism, for instance.
Chism, a sales representative for several factories in Alabama and parts of Tennessee, has become quite a pro at electrical plumbing and carpentry over the years.
“I observe — I watch and ask questions,” he said. And he said he feels called to go build.
“I felt a blessing out of this trip, and last year’s was such a blessing, too,” Chism said. “There’s a real need there. I wish we could do this every month.”
The Oregon and Washington trips were Chism’s first ones, but before those the men also covered Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina, leaving things behind them a little better built than before.
“This is one thing I really have a great love for,” Fuller said. “There is excitement among the men and on their faces when they come back, knowing they have made a difference.”