INDEPENDENCE – Baptist Builders from several churches are helping revamp the facility of Beverly Hills Baptist Church, a nightmare of deferred maintenance and upkeep. Despite the physical labor and financial savings the construction mission is proving for the church, God has also used the group to help facilitate a different sort of restoration.
In the eight years Brian Grout has served at Beverly Hills, the maintenance and upkeep costs have been through the roof – sometimes quite literally. The church has spent more than $185,000 on upkeep and repairs, replacing nine furnaces and air conditioning units, every roof on the building, concrete and more.
“It was spiraling,” Grout said.
Baptist Builders showed up. Volunteers from First Baptist in Bevier, nearby Sterling Acres Baptist and Country Meadows Baptist are currently in the middle of remodeling the Beverly Hills’ lobby and bathrooms, which Grout describes as “straight out of the 1960s.” They’re also adding showers to let the church house out-of-town mission teams, letting the church expand its ministry in new and different ways.
“I hadn’t realized until a few years ago how beneficial Baptist Builders is to churches,” Grout said. “If a church doesn’t need that work, maybe they have the guys who have that passion and the know how in construction and manual labor to help another church.”
The remodeling wasn’t the only way Baptist Builders helped repair Beverly Hills, and that need had been put off for decades. Grout didn’t realize it at the beginning of the project, but there was a hidden legacy of conflict between his congregation and one of the churches helping through Baptist Builders.
When the police have to be called to a church business meeting, something has gone terribly wrong. But that’s what happened one evening in the 1980s at Beverly Hills. Tempers flared, relationships tore apart, and the local body of believers broke fellowship and split. Two staff members and more than 100 people left the church, starting Country Meadows four and half miles away.
Heads have long since cooled – and the membership and staff of both churches largely turned over. But with the construction project, the two congregations are back together cooperating for the sake of the Kingdom. The two current pastors – Grout and Country Meadows’s Ashley Olinger have met with each other and marveled at how God is at work.
“We’ve gone out to lunch and talked about how neat it is that even though the people who were here when the split happened (and there are a handful still at Country Meadows), how a church that split has now come back to work in a spirit of renewal and restoration,” Grout said. For more information about Baptist Builders, go to mobaptist.org/dr/baptist-builders/ or contact volunteer coordinator Mike Hibbard at 660-815-3459.