Our church had met in a storefront for five years when we decided we needed more room. For several years, we had eyed the property across the street, a building that needed major remodeling. We offered $25,000 and finally settled on a price of $35,000.
Any mortgage would seriously tax our church budget, and the cost of remodeling still lay ahead. We needed to paint inside and out, erect walls for office space and classrooms, fix the roof, and lay new carpet. To save money I served as general contractor and carpenter. We were anxious to move in, so the remodeling was a high priority for the church and my daily schedule. After a quick morning devotion--a fast reading of a psalm and a "Bless me today, Lord!"--I rushed to the job site, where I hammered nails, called subcontractors, took estimates, and directed volunteers, often until eight o'clock at night.
Only after that, when I was done with the building project for the day, did I start my pastoral work: writing sermons, visiting in homes ...1