Laborers For Christ assist
with Trinity Lutheran building project
LABORERS FOR CHRIST Bob Jacobs, project manager for Laborers For Christ, hammers a board while laborers Jody Meredith, in doorway, Frank Bottorff, Dan Meredith and Bernie Kuenzel (from top on ladder) perform other tasks at the construction site at Trinity Lutheran Church. The group of retired Christian men and women are assisting in the church's $1 million expansion project. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Ida Brown / religion editor
June 7, 2003
For one group of workers at a North Meridian church construction site, the building project is more than just hammers and nails.
Originally from Minnesota, Jacobs and her husband, Bob, came to Meridian in late January to get the project moving before the arrival of their four cohorts a group of retirees known as Laborers For Christ.
Organized in 1980, Laborers For Christ is a group of dedicated retired Christian men and women who volunteer their retirement time to work for congregations, schools and organizations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) World Mission to help them construct buildings needed to carry out their ministry. The mission is headquartered in St. Louis.
While some of the workers are retired professional contractors, most come from other walks of life: retired railroaders, insurance people, policemen, truckers, teachers, architect, mechanics and pastors.
LCMS organizations which participate in the program as a means to complete their building projects often save from 10 to 30 percent of the cost of building with a general contractor. This is achieved through two sources. An LFC project manager manages the projects on the church's behalf, eliminating the fee of a general contractor. Also, labors are paid minimum wage and are covered by workman's compensation.
Laborers For Christ provides:
Regional consultants who help the organization understand the building process and who are available during the planning process to help ensure an expedient start.
Preconstruction coordinators who help with materials procurement, subcontractor bids, budget reconciliation and costs, subcontracts and final lender documents.
Project managers who manage the building project on behalf of the organization, schedule materials, delivery, subcontractors, laborer and volunteers and direct daily activity.
Laborers who work five eight-hour days each week for the organization.
Building for Trinity
Laborers For Christ has a roster of several hundred laborers who work in teams of as many as 12 at construction sites throughout the United States from four to seven months a year. Most laborers own mobile living quarters that are moved to the worksite or a campsite, where they live for the duration of the project. If a laborer does not own an RV, the congregation may help them locate housing.
Much of the work performed by LFC laborers includes is carpentry. Most of Trinity's construction includes concrete and steel.
Bob Jacobs is the project manager. In their 13 years with Laborers for Christ, Jacobs and his wife have worked on 22 projects.
On Saturdays, congregation members join in the work. And on Sundays, the LFC workers worship with the church.
Completion of the building project is projected for September. And though the LFC laborers stay may be short, they as well as their spouses who travel with them are very much committed to the endeavor.