Short Term Mission Opportunity in Dalton GA
Help bring the hope of the Gospel to Dalton GA
Grace Presbyterian Church is committed to impacting our community through any possible means. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel; that I may share in its blessings.” We have many opportunities for construction teams, VBS teams, athletic camps, and are continually seeking to expand our ministries.
Dalton is often called the Carpet Capital of the World due to the large number of flooring manufactures in the city. Dalton is located in the northwest corner of Georgia, about 20 miles south of the Tennessee border. The city and surrounding area has a high Hispanic population (around 40%). Due to the current economic situation we also have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Grace Presbyterian Church developed a vision for reaching Dalton and surrounding areas. A key aspect of this vision is to bring in mission teams to work in the local community. We began hosting mission teams in the summer of 2007 and the ministry has been growing steadily ever since. We have a growing Hispanic ministry in the church, a new medical ministry, and the ongoing work of the construction ministry.
We encourage you to partner with us in these ministries and spread the gospel in Dalton and the surrounding area. You will find the work tiring but very rewarding. We always have projects under way and take teams any time of year.
For construction teams, we are repairing and building homes for the elderly, handicapped, and destitute. There is a great need for skilled laborers in everything from framing to roofing to the licensed trades. But if your team does not have skilled laborers we can still use you. We perform all aspects of home construction so there’s always a place for everyone to fit in.
In the summers we encourage youth mission teams to host VBS programs in the local parks. This typically targets the Hispanic population. We are open to other suggestions for ways to show Jesus to our community.
Three meals a day are provided by the congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church.
Driving is the best means of transportation, but if you want to fly, the two best options are the Chattanooga Regional Airport (CHA) located about 30 minutes north of Dalton, and the Atlanta Airport (ATL) is located about 100 miles south of Dalton. If flying, rent cars or vans at the airport, then drive to Grace. It will be necessary to have vehicles for travelling to and from the jobs sites each day.
The maximum capacity of our housing is 40 people. We typically divide teams to about 6-10 people per job site. This obviously changes based on the specific job requirements. Smaller groups are also welcome, even just one or two people. We’ll take all ages, but recommend youth groups have a 3-1 student/adult ratio for Jr. High and 5-1 for Sr. High.
Travel time from the worksite to any possible jobsites is typically less than 20 minutes.
We have a newly constructed team mission house located on the Grace Presbyterian property. This is air-conditioned and houses a total of 40 people, with two large rooms, each sleeping 20 people. These are all bunk beds with mattresses. Each side of the bunk house has 4 showers, 4 sinks, and 4 toilets.
The church is available for your use anytime during the week and includes a gymnasium and meeting rooms. There is also an athletic field for your use.
What will it cost us?
Cost is $150 per person per week. This fee includes meals, lodging, and work supplies. Teams are encouraged to “give above and beyond” that to help cover the cost of materials.
What should we bring?
Safety is the highest priority. Bring work gloves, sturdy shoes or work boots (flip-flops and sandals are not permitted on job sites), safety goggles, and any other items you need to avoid injury. Please make sure tetanus shots are updated.
You will also need to bring sleeping bags or sheets for the bunk beds. You also need to bring towels and your own toiletries. A Wal-Mart is close by. Bring your Bible. You may want to bring spending money for souvenirs or sight-seeing. Valuables like a camera or laptop are generally safe at the mission house but any risks to valuable goods are completely your own.
What will we be doing?
For the construction teams, we may be doing anything from foundations to roofing to flooring and finish carpentry. Requests for help are always coming in, so we remain flexible in assigning tasks and rearranging priorities.
Can non-Presbyterian Churches come?
YES! The majority of teams have come from Presbyterian churches, but welcome everyone in Christ’s body to put feet on the Gospel. This is a project where we can celebrate the unity of the Church.
Do we need to bring tools?
We have a tool truck and a good supply of tools for one job site. For larger teams that will be working several sights, you should plan on bringing tools. Each person should bring a tool belt with hammer, pencil, tape measure, utility knife, etc.
Do we need insurance?
Yes, everyone needs to have their own health insurance and you will need to have proof.
In a typical day, we will get to the job site around 8 am. For teams working at construction sites all day we will get back to the church around 4:30 – 5 pm. Supper will be at 6 pm. Lunches are provided at the work sites. As regards a weekly schedule, we appreciate it if week-long teams can arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, and depart the following weekend. However, we are willing to accommodate teams who are unable to spend a full week with us. We normally do not work on Sundays. Prior to beginning work, all teams will be given a full orientation. Some teams take a half or full day off during the week to rest and sightsee. We also welcome teams for long weekends and partial weeks. In short, if you’re willing to come, we’re willing to have you.
You should appoint a person or persons to lead in short devotions each morning before you leave for work. Some groups have had amazing experiences of sharing and/or prayer with the homeowners. Remember—by serving others, you are being Christ’s body. This is no small responsibility. We often have a “prayer chair” at each job site where each person will take a 10-15 minute shift praying for the homeowners, the team, and the work.
How do you select which homes to repair?
Many of those we help are referred to us by social workers, personal contacts and other ministries. City and county officials also point us to needs in the community.
Where are these homes?
Most of the homes we work on are in Dalton and the surrounding area.
Can we do things besides construction?
Construction is only on part of our ministry. Many teams will work half-days and host a VBS program at local parks in the afternoons. We also have a medical ministry that performs house calls and is open to medical professionals. We have also helped other ministries in town such as food banks, clothing stores, crisis pregnancy centers, and the prison ministry.
Are seniors welcomed?
Some of the most skilled and energetic workers we’ve seen are seniors. But some older folks who may not be able to endure the heavy labor come and work in the kitchen, or help clean the team’s housing site during the day while they are working.
How do we set the date?
Grace Presbyterian maintains the calendar. We have limitations on space, and need at least a month’s notice, so please contact us as soon as possible. It is important also for us to plan the work and have the appropriate supplies available and ready.
Do the homeowners help?
Most of the homeowners are elderly and/or disabled and cannot help. Many times their families are there and willing to help and just need encouragement and guidance.
What good is building homes if no one comes to Christ?
The Church is Christ’s body, and we have a mandate to offer compassion and healing to our neighbors. We are called to serve and leave the results to our sovereign God. Since the church is a permanent establishment in the community, your week of service is just the beginning of a relationship with these families. We will continue to follow up and minister to these people.
Need more information?
Jim Boyd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-934-9261
MNA ShortTerm Missions Specialist
MNA ShortTerm Missions Facilitator