Hosting Volunteer Builders
If you are one of the many churches who have chosen to use volunteer labor to help you in our building project, we have compiled the following information to help you and your teams. I believe this information will help you to complete the task in a way that will glorify God. It will also help your congregation to be more prepared and to have a pleasant experience. The main responsibilities for the church to consider are: (1) Transportation to and from the airport and to and from the work site. (2) Housing (3) Kitchen facilities. We will go into this further later on in this booklet. It helps the team if the church will assign a person to be in charge of each of these responsibilities. Most of all, remember to be flexible. No two teams will be alike. Different teams require different things. Let us break this down and be more specific.
The contact process works in many ways. Remember to plan ahead. The further in advance you decide to build, the more likely you are to get teams. Most teams plan for the summer in October and November. Many volunteers need to make vacation commitments early. You should contact NAMB as soon as possible. You can reach NAMB in Atlanta at 1-800-462-8657 Ext 6445 or 6440. You can also contact NAMB on the web at NAMB.net. Interested building team can get your information and then contact you.
A second way on the contact process is personal contact of known teams. This can be done by contacting other churches that have completed a building project with volunteer building teams. They can give you the name of the team leader and you can contact him personally.
A third way is to send a mess mailing to team leaders all over the United States. Most states have a list of construction teams. You can contact the conventions in each state to get the lists. Explain in your letter what you are planning to build and the dates you will need the teams. Remember some teams have special qualifications and are specialized in one area of construction, such as framing, electrical, sheetrock, and finish, etc. Some teams are large and some are small. It is best to have your large team to be the first team on the project. Smaller teams can follow up to do the rest.
The first team will need the slab in place or a sub floor ready to erect the walls on. You should try to get this done many weeks before the team arrives. Sometime weather will play an important factor in this. If the project is large, an onsite supervisor is money well spent. If you have trouble in locating a project supervisor, you can contact NAMB and they can help. He can help to expedite the work and materials for efficient scheduling. This will save you money over the course of the project and give you better results. A member of your building committee should be designated to work on the scheduling and the arrival of the building teams. Be sure not to overlap the building teams. This can create a big problem. Remember to get as many teams as possible to help you complete your building program. The more help you can get, the less you will have to do.
There are many ways to provide housing. Our favorite is to stay in church families’ homes. The bonds made with new friends are irreplaceable. As you receive the roster of people from each team, request the ages, occupation and if any one is allergic to any thing such as cats or dogs and smokers and nonsmokers. Try to match up team members with the congregation. “Please” tactfully assign your host homes by being aware and sensitive to the needs of the team members, ages, occupations, allergies, etc. Also, be sensitive regarding cleanliness and atmosphere of the host homes. Remember 60% of the team’s time will be building, 30% sleeping and some in between for meeting with their host families. Always try to provide a bed or a mattress for the building team member. Do not put them on a cot. They will be working 10 to 12 hours each day and will need rest. If your church is small and cannot accommodate a large team, you may want to ask a sister church to help out. You could try to obtain group housing at a school campus or military base nearby. A local motel may give you group rates. If you use a motel, you should be responsible for the cost although some teams will insist on helping with the cost. Remember that some teams will be coming in RVs and will need a place to park. The church grounds are the best. However, an RV park may be needed. Having done all the above, church families’ homes are the best and hotels are the least desirable options.
There are several ways to do food. However, remember to be flexible. Do whatever works to feed the team. Some teams arrive on Friday and some arrive on Saturday. The host church and the host families should be prepared to feed the team through the weekend. This can be handled in different ways. Friday night on arrival of the team, the church can have a pot luck or the host church families can be responsible for their team member. Saturday is totally the responsibility of the host church. Sunday is also the responsibility of the church or the church families. The team responsibility will begin with breakfast on Monday morning. They will continue the entire week. It is always helpful if the host church can furnish the evening desserts a few times during the week. We like to invite the host families to eat with the team. This varies with each team.
The host church needs to provide a kitchen large enough for the team’s kitchen crew. This can be done on site of the existing church or the kitchen of a nearby sister church, or by using the kitchen facilities of a campground or school where you have access. An additional refrigerator is usually needed to keep enough food for the team for a week. You will need electric skillets, griddles, pots and pans, coffeepots, tables, chairs and ice maker or a supply of ice. As I said before, a person from the church should be assigned to work with the kitchen crew. They will make contact weeks before the team arrives. And again remember to be flexible!!!!!
Most church building teams will carry an accident insurance policy for the team. This is usually purchased through companies affiliated with NAMB. However, it is the host church’s responsibility to make sure that the church insurance will be extended to volunteer workers. This is very important and should be covered with the team coordinator.
If your team arrive by mass transportation, such as airplane or bus, you will need to transport them to the work site. Church buses, vans or trucks are needed for luggage and tools. If team members stay in homes, the host families will need to transport them to and from the work site or lend them a car. (Note: You can ask all the members of your church for any unneeded car or truck the team member can use for the week). If the team is in mass housing facilities, you will need to arrange transportation from their lodging to the work site. Many times the team member will drive his own car and will transport themselves. Remember to have someone from your church be responsible for transportation.
As teams contact you, some will want to schedule a day to sightsee. Others will not. Assist them in locating some attractions that are no more than three hours away. If they have flown in, they will need to use tour buses, church buses and vans or rental cars. Your host families may want to take them around on Sunday afternoon to see a few things.
Each team does the work day differently. Some start early (6:00) and then eat later (8:00). This lets the kitchen crew go to work the same time as the men. Other teams eat first and then go to work. This means that the kitchen crew will have to get up approximately two hours before the men. Mobile Baptist Builders do the first and then they will put off lunch until 1:00. They then work until 5:00 or 6:00 and then eat dinner. Remember that each team is different so be flexible.
Remember: Host as you would like to be hosted. Make your team as comfortable as possible. You may need to erect a tent, obtain extra cooking utensils, and do many other things to meet the challenge. Flexibility is important. The teams will be saving you a lot of money in labor cost. Host church, you want to have your people participate in the building process, mealtime, prayer and praise time as many as possible. They will find this very rewarding. Make their stay a pleasant one and they will go out again to help yet another brother and sister church.
Pastor of Host Church
Each building team does things differently. Some have devotions 1-3 times a day, in addition to dedicated service at the end of the workweek. Other teams also have devotions during the day and after the evening meal. They have a praise and worship with testimonies. This is usually the best part of the whole mission trip. It is a revival that will inspire your people to get involved in mission, as well as to look forward to future team’s arrival. Take advantage of this and encourage your people to become involved. Remember that each team is different and they do things differently.
No two teams work, worship and do things the same way. Our Motto is “Being Flexible.” You will get something from every team. Remember they will all be the same, yet different. Each team should have leaders for various responsibilities such as the head cook, sightseeing coordinator, construction boss and worship leader. Find out who they are and work closely with them. Most teams will bring their own cooks and kitchen crews; However, some may not. That is why flexibility is important.
The “Most Important” Prayer Ministry Coordinator
Purpose: To establish an intentional prayer effort to support the construction period of the home church.
- Develop a monthly prayer calendar for each month during the construction phase.
- Develop a visual reminder for church members to be praying for the construction phase and teams.
- Develop a prayer chain ministry to keep the church informed on critical and urgent prayer needs.
- Develop and oversee monthly prayer vigils for the construction phase and ministry.
- Enlist prayer warriors for the effort of developing a strategic prayer ministry.
- Maintain a list of current prayer needs for the construction period and for the church as a whole.
For more details and information call or write Burben Sullins at 7268 Cottage Hill Road, Mobile, Alabama 36695, 251-633-6402, or 251-633-6672. Fax 251-633-8437 Email BSullinsJR@aol.com Web MobileBaptistBuilders.com
Remember church building began 2000 years ago with two nails in the hands of a carpenter.