KANSAS CITY – Volunteer-led construction of a 1,000-seat chapel complex began at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) on May 26.
A group of construction missionaries mainly from Brookwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., arrived on campus May 26, and began prep work for a larger group of more than 150 people who arrived by May 31. Further teams of volunteers from across the nation will arrive at the seminary weekly throughout the summer to build the chapel complex.
According to Lawrence Corley, who has organized the volunteer effort through a network called Builders for Christ, one of the more dramatic moments of the construction took place in the afternoon of June 2 when an all-volunteer team erected some 600 feet of wall. Also that day a truss component was “flown in” so that all the other 83 trusses could be built around it.
“Five of the volunteers during the first week are professionals in the construction industry,” Corley said. “The people doing the bulk of the work are lawyers, doctors, nurses, homemakers, salesmen and others who have been participating in these types of projects for a number of years. This is our largest project to date, but to God’s glory everything is moving along smoothly.”
Corley went on to say that within the first two weeks of the project, the 38,935 square-foot-complex will be completely “dried in” and ready for the teams to work on electrical, HVAC and many other areas. The building will contain a chapel auditorium, welcome center, additional classroom space and corridors connecting the current administration and classroom buildings.
MBTS President R. Philip Roberts said that the focus of this construction project is to increase the seating capacity for chapel services, workshops and events such as graduation and various conferences. He added that another significant benefit of the project will be the consolidation and expansion of the current MBTS library.
The endeavor, which is one of the largest in MBTS history, will extensively employ the use of volunteers. More than 1,500 volunteers from the local area and across the country will contribute more than 80,000 work hours to complete the construction project. According to Roberts, among the objectives for seeking volunteer labor for the project are: training for seminary students to effectively employ volunteers during their ministries and building a sense of community and fellowship between the Midwestern family and those coming to campus to assist with the project.
J.E. Dunn Construction Company of Kansas City serves as the general contractor for the undertaking and will work in unison with the volunteers to accomplish the project. An estimated completion date is late 2010.