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Congregation uses innovative nonprofit ministry to build new church



Westside Christian Church, an Oklahoma City congregation, has teamed with an Enid nonprofit ministry to build a new facility by using an innovative construction partnership. Howard Faerber, Westside's pastor, said the congregation will save $200,000 by partnering with Church Growth Ministries of Enid.

Westside was founded in a member's house in November 2003, before eventually renting storefront space at N.W. 122nd and Rockwell Avenue. In early 2006, the elders began discussing property for a move to a permanent facility. Dennis Jackson, one of the church's five elders, said the congregation found and purchased land just west of Morgan Road on Northwest Expressway in July 2006.

Faerber said some elders were familiar with Church Growth Ministries and its founder, Joe Wilson, a retired minister in the same denomination. Facing a $1 million price tag for the new location, the church approached Wilson about working together with his ministry to erect the new church.

Church Growth Ministries is affiliated with World Mission Builders, an international nonprofit that helps small churches in the U.S. and developing nations build churches for less money than traditional methods.

CGM is a volunteer-based building ministry. Most of the volunteers are retired or semi-retired, and those who are not often take vacation time to drive hundreds of miles to work on projects. Volunteers travel all over the U.S. and the world from a dozen different states. For a project like Westside's, CGM asked that the congregation house and feed the volunteers for their entire stay.

While volunteer work provides a good portion of the savings, CGM's use of "panelized" outer walls enables the congregations to avoid traditional construction costs and erect an outer shell in about one week.

In addition, Westside's congregation has responded by donating their own time and skills to the job. Faerber said nearly two dozen men have been on the site helping with construction.

The volunteers from CGM tend to travel as husband and wife teams and the women work on the site sweeping, cleaning, carrying tools and supplies, and even some unlikely jobs. Fae Wilson, Joe Wilson's wife, operates the forklift.  "Greg Horton

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