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Extreme Church Makeovers

Potomac District men find purpose in helping to renovate churches.

Men from all over the Potomac Ministry Network come together to perform extreme church makeovers for churches that could not otherwise afford the needed updates and repairs.

Bobby J. Basham, the Potomac Men’s Ministries director, grew up watching his father and mother work full time while pastoring a church. His father would often stay until 10 p.m. to remodel the church himself. Witnessing the hard work and dedication of his father partly inspired the extreme church makeover program.

“My conviction is ministry shouldn’t be that hard,” Basham says. “It’s overwhelming and hard enough. When you are bivocational, it just takes everything you have.”

Basham’s involvement in overseas missions also played a part in inspiring the makeover ministry.

“I got to thinking about our churches that are small and struggling, and I thought why not do the same concept in our own churches to bring a team together to do construction at home,” he says.

The Extreme Church Makeover program began in 2010 with a project of replacing the roof on a church. A year later, a district Men’s Ministries team did another small project. The success of those caused Basham to believe the ministry could have a larger scope. Potomac Men’s Ministries now completes three projects a year. Fifteen have been finished overall.

Extreme Church Makeover draws volunteers from across the Potomac Ministry Network. Each project typically has 20 volunteers show up for the three-day outreach. As many as 60 men have turned out on a job site. The efforts save churches tens of thousands of dollars in labor costs.

Funds come from two sources. Area churches pay for half the supply costs and the district provides a matching grant up to $10,000. For church plants, the district will fund the full amount. Pastors that benefit from the Extreme Church Makeover also participate in a leadership cohort coaching. The program provides nicer buildings and fosters leadership skills, so the ministries are able to reach more people.

A core group of about 20 guys turn out for every project. Basham and his team make sure there are enough participants from each of the key trade areas. Casey Jones has been part of a dozen undertakings, and acted as the project manager for three years. Jones helps with estimation and running of the crew. Jones views the work as his calling and purpose.

“This is the best way I can think of to be a blessing to others and to be blessed at the same time,” Jones says.

Rob Nutter, an electrician who also helps with promotional photos and videos, has participated in 14 projects.

“When people come in and are saved, that’s what is important,” Nutter says. “The building doesn’t matter, but if it takes a renovation to bring people in to get them saved, it’s well worth it.”

“The heart of it is to come alongside the local pastor and offer encouragement,” Basham says. “The other purpose is to know that you aren’t alone and you don’t have to do it by yourself.”

Rebecca Burtram

Rebecca Burtram is an Assemblies of God pastor in Charlottesville, Virginia, a pastor's wife, mother to three, and an English teacher. She is the author of Our Broken Hallelujahs, and she blogs at rebeccaburtram.com.