The sight of RVs camped together might bring to mind fishing, camping or road trips. However, for Laborers For Christ, it’s not the call of the wild that brings the campers, but the desire to give back to LCMS entities through their work on construction projects. While there, the workers become embedded in the community, treating the congregation as their own temporary church. The workers of Laborers For Christ drive their RVs to work sites and contribute directly to active ministries by building or improving the spaces they operate in. They attend worship and Bible study, often flying back for the building dedication after the work is complete.
The ministry of Laborers For Christ combines service and expertise, which it then offers to LCMS organizations ready to grow or improve their buildings. They’re often able
to offer more competitive rates than a typical general
contractor or building company.
Jeff Herndon, Director of Laborers For Christ often can
help save money from the moment they start with
renderings. Herndon says, “It’s hard to have a capital campaign without images of what [the building] could be.”
However, not every congregation knows the best architects or firms to hire, which can mean paying too much at the start at the project. Most churches don’t know how much renderings should cost, and having an experienced can help guide them.
In addition, the Laborers For Christ team is able to offer full project management, from start to finish, similar to a general contractor. With a project manager and a team of skilled workers motivated by the Gospel and desire to serve, Laborers For Christ can typically cut building costs
by 10 to 30 percent.
The Architectural Advisory Committee of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund will often come at no cost (or charging only for travel) to visit the property. For a small fee, there can also be a site and facility analysis. For example, a school wanting to add classrooms may find they can remove walls to better use their space, rather than construct a whole new space. A committee member can also advise on the ramifications of ADA compliance and other code issues to help inform the plan. Knowing these variables at the start of the project means a better plan, smoother execution and avoiding surprises.
By the time the RVs roll in, much of the work has already been done. The project manager usually oversees any excavating, plumbing work or pouring of concrete. Laborers For Christ have worked on many projects in the Missouri District.
Last fall, we wrote about a set of apartments being rehabbed by Lutheran Development Group (with help from Laborers For Christ), to provide quality affordable housing to people in the community. Chris Shearman, the Executive Director of Lutheran Development Group, expects to be able to lease the apartments this fall. With windows and dry wall now being installed, the potential and future of these buildings is starting to be visible from the street. This is no small feat, because as sometimes happens in construction, they found unanticipated problems once they started work on these buildings. Shearman notes the community response to their work has been quite positive, with significant quality of life improvement beyond quality housing.
Laborers For Christ has made a large impact on the apartments, churches and schools across the Missouri District, giving people appropriate and welcoming spaces in which to conduct their ministries.
They’re also looking for more volunteers. With on-the-job training, this is a phenomenal opportunity to serve the many people working in LCMS ministries. To learn more about this ministry, contact Casey Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 590-6207.