G.O.D. Int’l has a new addition on its property – an outdoor pavilion! This addition to our campus has long been needed and hoped for. The pavilion project was completed in just over three weeks, from fundraising to completion. The structure covers 800 square feet and seats approximately 70 people comfortably.
It became clear over the summer that a pavilion was needed to provide a place of shelter for our G.O.D. Elementary school students, neighbors, Community Events, and youth involved with Students Living a Mission (SLAM). In those high-temperature months we had to get creative to provide shade for the various activities and ministries we host. Now, the pavilion provides a permanent structure to meet those needs. It serves as a location for community meals, Elementary School class sessions, Bible Studies, meetings, and bleachers for our intramural sports seasons. Betsy Johnson, Principal of the G.O.D. Elementary School, said of the pavilion, “It’s a huge benefit to the elementary school, as our students eat lunch there every day. Since we don’t have a separate cafeteria, this gives us a space outside of the classroom to eat.” In addition to a place to eat, the G.O.D. preschool and elementary school are able to utilize the outside space to do art projects and nature activities.
Once the pavilion was prioritized as a need, the next step was to gather the funds for construction. Because every ministry dollar is already allocated for operating expenses and international support, it required creativity to generate the funds necessary for this project. Thus began a weekend fundraising campaign involving the entire community. The goal was to raise $1500 in two days. Our first step was the oldest fundraising technique in the book: a car wash. “People humbled themselves… they volunteered to wash cars, something they probably hadn’t done since high school,” said Rosemary Sherrod, manager of our organization’s Resource Management department. The car wash took place at two locations, where mothers and children, old and young participated, and garnered $900 in a few hours. A good portion of this amount was gained as customers gave beyond the suggested donation, knowing they were supporting our ministry.
Following the car wash, G.O.D. Int’l hosted a movie night in our outdoor amphitheater, donating all funds raised through concessions to the pavilion project. After the car wash and the move night (which raised a little over $200), the G.O.D. community was invited to give the necessary funds to finish the project. At the close of the weekend, we had met our goal of $1500. Three weeks after that date, the structure was completed.
The cost to build the pavilion covered materials beyond those that were donated. All labor was done by volunteers and supervised by Music City Handymen, whose employees donated their time. Other volunteers who worked on the building had not participated in such a project before, and it became a learning opportunity for older and younger alike. Shortly after the completion of the pavilion, G.O.D.’s Bible Study at Center Street began utilizing the structure for their weekly Bible Study. Joshua Barnett, head of the planning committee for BS@CS, said of the pavilion, “It gives us a convenient, comfortable, and enjoyable venue for fellowship and a shared meal before we study the Word together.” Since then, it has been the frequent location for events and even, more recently, a wedding reception.
Although the pavilion is by all appearances just a roof on four posts, it has already and will continue to serve our community and the surrounding neighborhood, being of great benefit to many as we continue to facilitate summer kids camps, children’s education programs, and times of fellowship. We are thankful for the motivation, collaborative efforts, and generosity shown by all those who gave of their time and skill towards this task.