Again today, I'm posting a portion of my recent newsletter. This part concerns funding the construction of church buildings. Now let me say right up front, I recognize that a building is not a necessity for a church. Lots of churches all over the world meet in homes, or even outdoors. However, the desire for a church building is very high among the new churches here - and new churches are springing up all over the place.
From the newsletter:
The construction of church buildings is another ministry area where we strive to make dollars go further. While a building is not essential – many of the churches we work with meet in homes – the lack of a building is sometimes a detriment to church growth. Most homes in our area are extremely small and dark, and holding meetings outside isn’t a viable option during most of the rainy season.
If a congregation desires to construct a building, we are available to help. Allen will meet with the pastor and congregation members and discuss construction details with them. While we do receive some funds for church construction, generally this isn’t a large amount of money, and we receive requests for construction help from many churches each year, so part of what Allen does is to advise the church members on how to build their buildings in the most economical way, making use of local materials and skills. Over the years we’ve learned a few tricks which can help make an adobe building much stronger and longer-lasting than the traditional construction methods, so Allen passes this information along to the congregations.
Once the new building has a foundation and walls, using mostly labor donated by the church members and locally acquired free building materials (sand, rocks, gravel, dirt for adobe bricks, hand hewn lumber), we use our limited funds to help buy roofing materials, which generally are not locally made. With walls, a roof, and a dirt floor – but no doors or windows – a congregation can begin to use the building immediately, while the process of completing the structure can take place over time, as funds allow.
Using this method, we’ve helped approximately 15 congregations construct buildings this year alone and more than 70 since we moved to this part of Honduras six years ago. Our cost for one of these projects is typically about $800, for a church which will hold 200 or more people.
Next up: The cost of running a pastor training school