Our Beginning and Purpose
JACK BALLARD CHURCH BUILDERS, INC
The Church Builders Ministry of Mount Carmel Christian Church began rather modestly in 1971 and truthfully was never envisioned on the scale or level at which it now operates. Where this work is now can be traced not to the intent and design of one person, but more to the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the marvelous workings of God.
Mount Carmel had just relocated (1969) from a location on Candler Road (1904-69) in Decatur, GA to Rainbow Drive because of the need for larger facilities and ample room for the expected growth. After building a magnificent 1,700 seat auditorium and a “Red Barn” serving as classrooms and recreation, the church faced growing pains and limited finances. A plan was conceived to construct “temporary scout huts” that were 24’ x 36’ in size and mount on skids where they could be moved later and given to other churches. Volunteers were requested to start a building on Friday afternoon and continue work on Saturday. To the absolute amazement of everyone involved the initial building was COMPLETE and ready for use after some 16 hours of work! This was a simple building – tin roof, rough exterior siding, individual air conditioners, drop in ceilings, and simple panel interior finish, with cheap carpet on the floor. Still, it looked great and more than that served a special need. The total cost was about $1,800 and an adult class moved in on the first weekend. This was repeated one month later, then, followed the third and fourth and fifth hut in rapid succession. They were called “temporary scout huts” because this required no permits, no plumbing, no inspections, no rezoning, etc.
As volunteers rejoiced after each project they realized their potential. How blessed we were as a church family to have so many skilled and viable people to accomplish such a feat and so quickly. We were sobered by the realization that other congregations had needs like ours, but lacked the manpower and know-how. Wouldn’t it be great fun and fellowship (not to mention what it might mean to others) to assist other churches.
The first opportunity presented itself when a friend of Jack Ballard serving a congregation in Greenville, SC, knowing of our abilities and willingness, invited us to come over and help…they were enlarging their facilities. About 25 men made the trip to Greenville on a Thursday and stayed until Saturday evening…what was laughingly called the 1-1/2 Day Church Builders became the 3-1/2 Day Church Builders and the ministry was launched.
The original projects involved Mount Carmel purchasing all of the materials and providing all of the labor – presenting a group of people with a new building that was debt-free! Soon the ministry had grown to such proportions that this became impossible to continue and we learned some painful lessons. By providing everything, we robbed the local people of involvement financially and otherwise; it wasn’t good. It was “our” building and not “their” building.
Modifications came rapidly – small buildings 40’ X 80’ grew larger and larger and significantly more complicated and sophisticated. 3 ½ days became one week; one week became two weeks; two weeks became almost three as an Advance Crew got involved. Buildings of 9,000 square feet began to appear. Instead of driving to Greenville, we were flying to Hawaii…and Canada…and California…and Texas. Mount Carmel and other supporters now were paying for transportation, lodging and meals with local congregation purchasing all of the materials. It worked beautifully.
We now look back after the completion of 96 projects (as of 2010).We have been to Canada 2 times, and to 25 states – Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, California, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oregon, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, Alabama and Arkansas. While working mostly with churches, we have constructed group homes for the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped in Tennessee and Kentucky. We have also constructed buildings at Christian Service Camps in Kentucky and Michigan.
Our involvement with other congregations made us numerous friends – friends who also had time and abilities. Through the years, we have recruited workers who regularly come from other congregations and meet us to share in each project. It is NOT just a Mount Carmel ministry anymore.
What has been accomplished? It would really be difficult to measure the impact this program has had in the Lord’s work. Buildings are tools that God uses in a mighty way! Thousands are worshipping in nice facilities thanks to the work of many volunteers and faithful supporters. This was a vision seen by Jack Ballard back in 1972, and without that vision, this would never have become the instrument that has given so much in the way of hands-on ministry. Ask any Church Builder or Christian who now worships in one of these buildings what Church Builders has meant to them…first you’ll see a tear, then a smile and if they can, a word about God and His wonderful work! Church Builders is more than constructing buildings, it’s a ministry! It’s life changing! TO GOD BE THE GLORY…FOREVER AND EVER!!!
After the Lord called Jack Ballard home in February, 2007, the name was changed from Church Builders to Jack Ballard Church Builders, Inc. The Project Manager is Dale Sikes of Stone Mountain, GA. Dale is a member of Mt. Carmel Christian Church.
Note: Jack Ballard Church Builders Inc is a 501 (c) (3) organization and a Ministry of Mount Carmel Christian Church, Stone Mountain, GA.
Revised Mar 2011