According to Pollard, the non-profit organization started at his church in 1987, and the group built its first church in 1988. Since then, the building of churches is typically an annual affair, and this year the organization has 94 men from eight states and 30 churches.
“We basically started as a small unit, and now we’re big,” he said.
The current project began after the organization heard from Leon Thomas, pastor of the Lancaster church. He contacted the group after hearing about Carpenters for Christ working on Grace Fellowship Church in Stanford three years ago.
Initially, Carpenters already had committed to another church for its project this year, but the project fell through and Lancaster was the next option.
Once a project is selected, the volunteers sign applications, take vacation and pay $150 to participate, which is how the group finances its operations.
The volunteers began arriving in Lancaster last week and started framing up the new church from a foundation that already had been prepared.
“Building the church is a big family reunion for us every year,” said Pollard. “‘Cause that’s the only time we see these guys. There’s 40 something from Alabama, and the rest are from other states.”
It’s a time of spiritual reunion for the men. They have a devotional after every meal and pray before they start work. On Sunday, they furnished speakers and singers after asking Thomas.
“We let him rest for the whole day,” Pollard said.
To include church members in the project, Carpenters for Christ invited them to come to the site Saturday to write scriptures on the walls and participate in a wall-raising ceremony. On Tuesday, the church’s cross was erected. Wednesday night, members came to the building site again to eat food and hold a service in what would eventually be their completed church.
“It’s just a great bunch of men who get together and do the Lord’s work,” Pollard said.
Pastor Thomas sat and watched as the new church was built before his eyes.
Thomas, who’s been pastor at the church for two years, said the need for a new facility became obvious as services became overcrowded.
“Actually, there’s been a dream since back in the ‘70s to relocate and build a new church,” he said.
The original church dates to 1920, and the current facility was built in 1950. Once the new building is complete, the old one will be for sale. The first services are expected to begin in the new church by late October.
Thomas considers it a miracle that Carpenters for Christ had to cancel with another church and instead come to Lancaster.
“The Lord opened the door,” he said. “Our people just can’t believe that it’s happening. This is so exciting.”