By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – On the two-by-fours that will make up the skeleton of the office and bathrooms, volunteers had scribbled Bible verses as mementos of their work.
A door frame quoted Joshua 24:15, which reads, “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”
“We’re so grateful for this,” said the Rev. Terry Ledbetter, walking between the frames that will soon turn into new rooms for NorthStar Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Saltillo.
A crew of 50 volunteers from Georgia were moving like bees in a hive Thursday, sawing, measuring and hammering, erecting the skeleton for the church’s new facilities inside a 40,000-square-foot warehouse on Bauhaus Drive.
They’d answered a call that Ledbetter issued through the Web site of the North American Mission Board, a kind of nexus of resources for all things practical among Southern Baptists.
“We call it ‘The Bridge,'” said Ledbetter. “There are groups, like these good folks, that do this all over the country.”
The congregation of NorthStar has seen this move coming for some time. Ledbetter gathered the church’s first 18 members at the Lee County Baptist Association building in 2005, but since then it’s been growing by leaps and bounds.
From its beginning, NorthStar blended currents of the “missional” movement, such as contemporary praise music, along with a kind of jeans-and-sandals approach to Sunday worship focusing on engaging culture and meeting people, as the phrase goes, where they are.
Ledbetter estimated at least 75 percent of people coming into the fellowship have either never been to church or have long since fallen away from regular church attendance elsewhere.
The new building will give the community twice as much space as it has in its current home on Old Highway 45.
Since Monday, the Rev. Matt Riggs had been bunking at Tombigbee State Park with his group from SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Ga. Thursday he seemed to glory in the smell of sawdust and the pounding of hammers.
“We’re just trying to be part of the good things NorthStar is doing,” he said.
Ledbetter turned in a slow circle, looking at what his church’s members and out-of-state visitors had accomplished so far.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” he said, adding that the church’s 500 members hope to be moved in by August.
“Over there will be the coffee shop,” he said. “There’s where we’ll have the classrooms.” Then he opened his arms to an expanse of some 8,000 feet skirted by wooden and metal studs.
“And this,” he said, “is where we’ll worship.”
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.