1,000 volunteers will flood to Beavercreek to help build church

Donated volunteer time on University Baptist Church project worth $1.25 million in labor costs.

BEAVERCREEK — Over a thousand volunteers from across the country are coming to Beavercreek this summer to build an 18,000-square-foot expansion of a local church.

University Baptist Church in Beavercreek will be breaking ground this spring on the addition to its church at the corner of Hanes Road and Kemp Road, at no labor cost to the congregation. The church is partnering with Builders for Christ, a national nonprofit that has built 80 churches across the country with an all-volunteer workforce.

Volunteer teams, including those from University Baptist Church, will donate their time over the course of 15 weeks from May to August, representing 85 churches from around the country.

“It blows my mind,” said UBC pastor Jason Wing. “People we’ve never met, they just have good hearts to come here. They’re taking a week off of their summer and instead of taking a vacation, they’re going to work on a construction project for a week.”

Led by general contractors and other skilled professionals, the volunteers come from all walks of life. The 40,000 hours of volunteer work through nonprofit Builders for Christ is estimated to be worth up to $1.25 million.

Founded by Alabama architect Lawrence Corley, Builders for Christ has constructed 80 churches across the country in 41 years, including several in Ohio, and one in New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

The nonprofit averages construction of two churches a year, and volunteers and projects include Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Catholics, non-denominational churches, and others. The project in Beavercreek is one of the largest Corley has undertaken.

“This is my spiritual hobby,” Corley said. “It’s a blending of Christians to do God’s work without regard to their spiritual denomination.”

The existing University Baptist Church is 54 years old, with sanctuary space for 200 people. In the last four years, the congregation has swelled to 800 people, prompting the church to convert a building across the street into a second location.

The new 2,300-square-foot gathering space will be able to seat 740 people, and will include classrooms for students, a commercial-grade church kitchen, audiovisual equipment and dressing rooms for baptism. Total project cost is estimated at $4 million, which includes materials and architectural work.

Once the work at UBC is done, members of the Beavercreek congregation may go to other parts of the country to build churches themselves.

“We have an opportunity to love not only our neighbors in Beavercreek but those wherever they are,” Wing said. “We are on the receiving end of the generosity of churches around the country, and I look forward to the summer of 2023 when we’re sending out members of our church to give back.”

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