Men with Tools Help Build the Kingdom

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A Michigan church is helping to build the kingdom of God—one broken car and leaky faucet at a time.

(L-r) Mike Westendorp and Bob DeJong repairing a car.

Photo by Mary Flohr

The Men with Tools ministry at Harvest Community Christian Reformed Church in Lake Odessa, Mich., has worked on a variety of projects, including houses, roofs, washing machines, dryers, landscaping, and cars.

“We’re serving God by serving the community. That’s the message we try to get across,” explained volunteer Phil Burke.

Roughly 20 members of the church, ages 20 to 60, volunteer their time and labor. “We try to help the community out. Some people just can’t afford to take their cars and have them fixed,” explained Burke.

“It’s amazing, the cost of repairs on stuff. A lot of times, a large of part of it is in labor,” explained Bob DeJong, a leader of the ministry. Sometimes the recipients cover the cost of their own parts; other times the church pays for the supplies as well.

The ministry helps out both church members and members of the local community, but it also serves as a blessing for the volunteers. “We wanted to make an intentional male-focused ministry, and what do we do?” asked Jason Flohr, another leader. “We like to fix things.”

Even experienced handymen like Flohr and DeJong can learn from each other. “We’ve been blessed with a lot of talented guys when it comes to repairs and construction. Over the years I’ve found it’s kind of a mutually beneficial thing,” said DeJong.

“When I’m working with the car guys, I know nothing about cars,” laughed Flohr. “It’s a chance to learn skills too. When we do something where I have the expertise, then it’s the other way around.”

“It’s nice to [do] hands on ministry rather than just dumping [money] in the collection plate,” added DeJong. “The guys over the years have found it just as much a blessing for them as the people they are trying to help.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

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