News

The Volunteer Organisation Serving God by Repairing Dilapidated Churches

By: Amy Cheng

A roving ministry that travels to different towns in caravans to repair, renovate and restore churches has been around for almost 50 years but not many people know about them.

Mobile Mission Maintenance (MMM) works on churches and other buildings used for Christian outreach, relieving ministers of this work so they can concentrate on preaching the word and reaching communities.

James Lacey, Chief Executive Officer of MMM, believes this work is important because many churches are under resourced.

“What we’ve found over many years is that there are a lot of churches, more in the rural and regional settings, that struggle financially,” he said in an interview.

“They may be able to get money together for materials but they just can’t afford the labour, and that’s where MMM can really step in.

“We can send work parties to some remote areas and really change or turn a whole community around by providing an update or much needed facilities.”

“The ministry is underwritten and underpinned by prayer; that’s a core value of the whole mission,” – James Lacey, CEO of MMM

How does MMM help churches?

A typical project will usually go for two weeks and will see a team of about 10 volunteers painting and repairing an old church.

The tasks are broad and varied but there’s a job for everyone, Mr Lacey said.

“Some people might end up with a roller or a paintbrush in their hand, some people might help with morning tea or lunch, some people might be off set and help with IT and communications,” he said.

“There’s always a role for everyone; if you’re willing, there’s a spot for you.”

Over the years, MMM has worked on churches in Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Lismore, Wollomombi and other areas.

“Churches may be able to get money together for materials but they just can’t afford the labour, and that’s where MMM can really step in,” – James Lacey, CEO of MMM

Dependent on prayer

One of the expectations at all MMM job sites is that volunteers must stop for morning tea and prayer and devotions time.

“Everyone understands that the ministry is underwritten and underpinned by prayer; that’s a core value of the whole mission,” Mr Lacey said.

“As a mission, at the end of the day, we operate by faith… we don’t have any huge benefactors throwing a lot of money at us, it’s purely by donation.

“We see prayer as important for our safety on our site; any site injuries are very, very rare, and that doesn’t mean we don’t take all the necessary safety precautions, it just means that God must be answering our prayers… because we would not meet the average outcomes.”

Throughout the day, the volunteers will interact with people at the church they’re helping, who often provide morning tea and lunch to the team.

“We try and draw them into the morning tea and devotion time; we want to encourage them with the work (we do), but we also want to bring spiritual encouragement as well,” Mr Lacey said.

“We see prayer as important for our safety on our site; any site injuries are very, very rare,” – James Lacey, CEO of MMM

History of MMM

In 1974, a pastor in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, was frustrated with being unable to find builders to construct his church building.

After crossing paths with a group of Christian tradesmen, they volunteered to construct his church, which became Kramer Memorial Church.

A year later, the tradesmen who worked on the church were moved to conduct a survey to assess the needs of the “missionary scene” in Australia, particularly in isolated outback regions, in terms of building and maintenance.

The findings showed that many people were serving in evangelistic ministries, such as church planting, medical work and other missionary work, but they were often hindered by poorly maintained facilities.

MMM began on 1 August 1975 as a direct result of this survey and was founded by Gordon Blowers and David Dawson, who organised the survey, along with Murray Kaye and John Walder.

It began as a ministry based in Australia but is now international, with teams working in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Zealand, Zambia and Hong Kong.

“We’ve got guys who are into their 80s still working with us,” – James Lacey, CEO of MMM

Who are the volunteers?

MMM is dependent on its volunteers and some of them are not young, Mr Lacey said.

“A lot of the people are highly qualified; one of the guys who heads my projects department is an ex-Boeing engineer, so his attention to detail is amazing,” he said.

“We’ve got guys who are into their 80s still working with us. The only thing we say is ‘if you’re over 80, we can’t cover you with insurance, so you’re not going up a ladder’ and we still find things for them to do.”

There are 13 projects pencilled in for this year but the organisation is having trouble finding willing workers.

Mr Lacey believes a part of this problem could be due to the ministry not being very well known.

“I’ve been seven months into this job and I hadn’t heard of MMM even though my background is as an architect… which informs me that we have to get our name out there.”

MMM is currently looking for volunteers in urban areas to help with repairs, anyone who can give a few days over a weekend or a week during school holidays.

“I’m really proud of what we have done and what we are doing, it’s an amazing group of people.

MMM is currently looking for volunteers in urban areas to help with repairs, anyone who can give a few days over a weekend or a week during school holidays.


Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Supplied

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