Mega-church canceled services for a weekend of community projects


Other churches sponsor 'extreme' projects
by Christian Examiner staff report
SCRIPPS RANCH, Calif. — Three area churches are going to the extreme this month to help their local communities through major work projects.

The largest is sponsored by North Coast Church, which is canceled all of its weekend services April 28 and 29 so that its 6,500 attendees can help with 92 major service projects at 54 sites.

Dubbed the "Weekend of Service," the North Coast Church project will include large renovation and landscaping projects at local public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters, along with dozens of smaller projects such as blood drives, beach clean-ups and car washes.

"So many non-Christians think of the church and Christians as a self-contained religious club," senior pastor Larry Osborne said in a news release. We expect this to cause some folks to say, 'I could go to a church like that.' We also think it's the most powerful way to teach our congregation that worship is not just about gathering together to sing songs and study the Bible."

The communities to be treated to the work ministries include Carlsbad, Escondido, Fallbrook, San Marcos, Oceanside and Vista.

According to church officials, each city has a "City Leader" who will oversee the "Project Managers" for each work site. In turn, each work site has delegated "Team Leaders." Participants will have two, four-hour shift options on either day and the weekend goal is to have the entire congregation participate in some capacity.

The event was planned to augment the church's ongoing community service projects handled through the Community Service Ministry.

Some of the scheduled beneficiaries include Green Oak Ranch, Washington Middle School, Magnolia Elementary, Clair Burgener Academy, Michaelle House, REINS, Crown Heights Community Center and Libby Lake Community Center.


More homes to get makeovers

The following week, College Avenue Baptist Church will hold its 4th Annual Extreme Home Makeover, targeting 48 homes or facilities in a one-day effort set for May 5.

"We are gearing up for an incredible day," Bob Thomas, the EHM coordinator said in a news release. "Our teams will repair and upgrade 48 houses this year, including homes where some nice kids really need a helping hand."

In part, the project teams will be upgrading the homes of foster parents who are helping children referred to them by Child Protective Services. In one case, a 69-year-old foster mother needs help with home repairs and yard cleanup. In another situation, the foster parents have seven children to raise.

"Each year, the project grows to help more families and more community projects," Thomas said, "This may be the largest single effort of its kind in San Diego County." 

The College Avenue program will reach homes in San Diego, North Park, La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and Chula Vista. Volunteer teams, headed by an experienced captain, identify homes and projects in advance.

Like the North Coast project, generous contributions and supplies are provided free to the homeowners. Scheduled projects include plumbing, electrical, concrete and carpentry. The volunteers are then assigned based on qualifications and experience to jobs they can easily tackle.

"We even clean windows!" Thomas said. "In just one day, we will clear away 50 tons of trash, paint dozens of rooms, repair leaky plumbing, replace broken windows, fix bad light fixtures, and repair fences."

House overhaul
In the meantime, The Church at Rancho Bernardo has adopted a Scripps Ranch family for a three-week "extreme" home makeover project.

Ministry officials said the family was chosen through an application process that screened candidates for needs and financial ability. 

The church selected a couple who years ago adopted two children as infants. Since then both children have developed serious disabilities—the son has autism and the daughter is developmentally delayed. 

Complicating issues for the family is the poor health of the father who suffered a debilitating stroke several years ago and has limited mobility.

Members of the church are completely remodeling the kitchen and baths to make them handicap-accessible for the father's wheelchair. Secondary goals are to install new flooring throughout the entire house and improve the children's bedrooms.

Many church members have spent their spring breaks working on the house or giving several hours after work. 

Published, May 2007