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Adventist businessman Garwin McNeilus updates delegates on progress made on the One-Day Church initiative. Behind him, a screen shows a completed church in Ecuador, one of 3,000 manufactured since the project's launch last year. [photo: Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN]
October 13, 2009 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Author: Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN
The production of church-assembly kits is accelerating to help church infrastructure match membership in regions with soaring church growth, a Seventh-day Adventist businessman told Annual Council delegates this week.
The One-Day Church initiative aims to tackle the more than 100,000 pending requests for permanent church structures around the world, said Garwin McNeilus, who helped develop the concept.
A joint venture of Adventist-laymen's Services and Industries and Maranatha, a supporting ministry of the church, the One-Day Church project is responsible for manufacturing some 3,000 church kits and shipping well over a thousand to locations worldwide since its launch last year, said Maranatha president Don Noble.
But with 4,000 new Adventist congregations formed each year, according to the church's Office of Adventist Mission, McNeilus and his production team are stepping up output.
The recent purchase of a steel-bending machine allows the team to complete more than seven times as many church kits per day than previously possible. The $650,000 form roller -- purchased at a fraction of its worth at $38,000 -- can bend pieces of steel at 100 feet per minute to form beams for the structures.
As the name suggests, church kits -- which fit in the back of a pickup truck -- can be constructed in under a day. The basic building is easily adjusted to suit a variety of culture and geographic areas, and the galvanized steel frame withstands termites, rust, heat and Class-3 hurricanes, church leaders said at the project's launch.
One-Day Church kits have been adapted for use as schools, dormitories and housing for faculty and staff, McNeilus said, in some cases providing an entire campus. Citing the church's membership gains of 1 million this year, he said such versatility would be vital in supporting education for new members' children.
"Building these churches and schools is an endowment for the future," he told delegates. "When I look at one of these buildings, I don't see bricks and mortar, and I don't see steel -- I see people."
After his presentation, delegates moved to accept a vote of appreciation for McNeilus and other Adventist laypeople who are, as world church president Jan Paulsen put it, the church's "partners in mission."
Paulsen said the One-Day Church project illustrates the "driving elements" behind the church's success -- "zeal" and a reliance on God.
Reflecting on the project's impact, Paul S. Ratsara, president of the church's Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region, called it a "Godsend" for new membership. Mozambique, a country within the region, has received 250 church kits.
"Our region is growing so fast, and housing new believers has long been a challenge," Ratsara said. "The timing for the One-day Church project was ideal for us."