Raising the Church, Volunteers build new children’s church
By Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader
A group of 200-250 volunteers traveled to Orange to help Cowboy Church of Orange County make a dream turn into reality this week.
For approximately two years, the church has worked on building a new Children’s Church and with the help of Baptist Church Builders, it is happening.
In one week, the group will turn the space where a concrete slab was laid into the frame of the new church which will be attached to the main church.
“The old building was separated from the main church and this is much closer,” Pastor Dale Lee said. “It will also be connected so the parents don’t have to get out in the weather. They will feel better having their babies closer. It is all a God thing.”
The building is not just for the children attending the church now but for future children as well.
“As a church, we are reaching out to young families,” Lee said. “So this is not just for our children but for those we will reach in the future.”
Baptist Church Builders mission statement is “To provide volunteer labor and guidance in order to build churches for smaller membership congregations so that God will be glorified and His kingdom extended.”
Formed in 1978, a volunteer from the first group of builders, Fred Cross, was also on hand at Cowboy Church this week.
“He has been with the group the longest,” TJ Click said. “He is over there on the lift.”
Click has volunteered with the organization since he was 15.
“My first build was in 1982 in Billings, Montana,” Click said. “I love donating my time. It is rewarding to donate back to the church. I love the people. It is like a family reunion.”
Another volunteer, Wes Ratliff, said he was just a youngster as his first build was in 1995.
“My first project was in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” Ratliff said. “I am by no means the youngest one here.”
Ratliff and Click pointed out children who were hammering nails on the new church. Some as young as seven or eight. The oldest volunteer was in the late 80s.
“I do this for Lord,” Ratliff said. “People found the Saviour right there where the concrete was poured before we started construction.”
While the group does not finish out the church, the structure will be framed out, in the dry when they leave Friday evening.
Many times, after the group helps a church with building, persons from that church will become volunteers for the next build.
Each one pays their own way for travel, lodging and food.
“Some will take a week vacation and it is their only vacation for the year,” Ratliff said.
Contractors and church volunteers will complete the rest of the building with a grand opening to be at a later, yet to be determined date.
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