FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (BP)–A North American Mission Board website has connected more than 47,000 volunteers with about 1,100 ministry projects since its inception in 1999, and recent changes have made the process easier than ever.
The site, located at www.thebridge.namb.net, allows individuals and groups of volunteers to locate churches and other ministries needing help with construction, Vacation Bible School, neighborhood surveys and other missions efforts. And with a revamp of the site completed earlier this year, churches can now post their projects directly without going through their association or state convention.
“It’s very user-friendly,” said Joel Phillips, coordinator of the site for NAMB. “… It’s a simpler registration and simpler search process. Of course we’ve expanded the project database and more opportunities are out there.”
Phillips led a workshop on The Bridge for participants in NAMB’s Connection 2003 conference Aug. 1.
NAMB introduced its first Internet-based volunteer/project database system in 2001, bringing an end to the previous complicated process that involved published project lists that were soon out of date.
One of the key changes in the revamped system is that projects can be entered into the system directly by a ministry group, whether a church, association, state convention or other kind of ministry. The only requirement is that the church or ministry be verified as Southern Baptist, a step taken by either the association, state convention or NAMB.
“It can be done as quickly as a half hour” from the time a pastor posts a project, Phillips said.
The volunteer’s profile also includes special skills the individual or group possesses. The result is that volunteers can search for project needs that fit their criteria, and ministries with projects can search for volunteers who might be available for specific tasks.
Providence Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., for instance, was able to build a $1.2 million building for about $680,000 using volunteer labor obtained through The Bridge.
After hiring a contractor to frame and roof the building, the church posted its other specific needs on the site well before the work actually began. The building was completed by 550 volunteers in teams ranging in size from two to 120.
“This experience has shown us that God will take care of every need on His timetable, from providing the volunteers to bringing new members into the church to help,” said Jeff Fox, pastor of Providence Baptist.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: EXPLAINING THE BRIDGE.