Last summer, hundreds of volunteers gutted and transformed eight homes in West Louisville.
Southeast Christian Church partnered with Pastor Daryl Wilson at Greater New Beginnings Christian Church to move church members into renovated homes with the goal to transform lives in the community neighbor by neighbor.
Volunteers from Southeast and Greater New Beginnings worked side by side to gut homes, hang drywall and install new kitchens, bathrooms, fixtures and appliances. They painted and installed carpet, even landscaped yards. When the homes were finished, they looked new.
Families chosen by Greater New Beginnings attended home ownership classes at The Fuller Center for Housing and invested sweat equity hours in the project.
As they worked on homes, they had no idea which one might be the home they’d own someday.
A year later, all eight families are 100 percent compliant with the project.
This summer, the transformation project will expand to 12 homes in West Louisville. Southeast will partner with several churches, The Fuller Center for Housing and Crossroads Missions.
The project is already creating excitement.
Help Build Hope with Crossroads Missions
Crossroads Missions was founded by Southeast member Rob Minton 20 years ago.
In September 2006, Southeast partnered with Crossroads on Help Build Hope, the unforgettable day 6,300 volunteers built 1,944 walls for 33 homes to be delivered and assembled in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
This year, Crossroads Missions will organize volunteers and oversee construction for the transformation project in West Louisville.
It’s a massive undertaking with room for more than 4,000 volunteers, who can volunteer for hours, days or more. Families and small groups may volunteer to serve together.
Minton is more excited than daunted by the enormity of the project. It is what Crossroads Missions does across the United States and in Mexico.
“I love seeing what the body of Christ can accomplish when we work together,” Minton said. “When people show up to rebuild a house, it’s almost never the group we’d choose. Most are not decorators, homebuilders or men and women skilled in the trades we need. But when we get 10 or 100 volunteers together, they are able to transform a home. Their skill set is valuable to the kingdom.”
That excitement, Minton said, is contagious.
“What we see everywhere is these projects give people meaning and significance,” he said. “Transforming a neighborhood helps people move from the pew to the parking lot. Projects give them a chance to get them into the community and neighborhood. As people volunteer in West Louisville, they’ll see that their time, gifts and resources are making a difference. At the same time, they build relationships with other volunteers and homeowners.”
The Fuller Center for Housing
Corneilus Butler, the executive director at The Fuller Center for Housing of Louisville, saw house-by-house transformation with Southeast and Greater New Beginnings last summer.
“It was a tremendous blessing to the community and families at the church,” he said. “The Fuller Center for Housing is a ministry that was founded by Millard Fuller, who also started Habitat for Humanity. His goal was to keep Habitat for Humanity Christ-centered. When that didn’t work out, he founded The Fuller Center in 2005.”
Since then, The Fuller Center has grown to include 71 affiliates across the United States. Currently, they are building and renovating homes in 16 countries and dozens of communities in the United States with the goal to help the more than 1 billion people worldwide who live in poverty and the 100 million who are homeless. Every project in the United States is matched by one on the other side of the world.
Churches partnering with Southeast on the project will choose applicants dedicated to the vision to transform the community. Those applicants must complete home ownership classes at The Fuller Center, invest sweat equity hours and qualify for a low-interest mortgage.
“At the end of the day, it’s never about homes,” Butler said. “It’s about lives transformed going into the homes.”