Website offers way for churches, groups to post project needs, respond to others

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Rick Barnhart said that back when he was a pastor at First Baptist Church, Silverhill, he used a website that helped him connect missions teams with projects.

It worked well for a long time, then along the way as things were changed at the national level the site got discarded.

But he never forgot how much help it was.

When he joined the staff of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) six years ago, he started right away getting requests for needs around the state and he knew a site like that could help.

“Because my office works so very closely with associations and they have teams that go out and serve, it seemed logical that I might develop a tool such as existed before,” said Barnhart, who serves as director of the SBOM office of associational missions and church planting.

“This past year or so I have been working with churches that needed consulting with architecture and building issues, and the requests just increased tremendously.”

So together with Brian Harris, digital marketing contractor for the SBOM, Barnhart created alabamaprojects.org, a place for Alabama churches and groups to post needs, respond to others’ needs and sell or swap items.

The website has three significant moving parts, Barnhart said.

Needs

This section allows a church or group in Alabama to register a project need through an online form. This can include whole building projects or specific needs like dry wall, plumbing or painting.

After the request is verified with their associational mission strategist (AMS) it is posted for others to see.

At that time team leaders across the state get an email letting them know the posting is there. It will remain posted until the need is met, Barnhart said.

Connect

Teams who would like to do projects and receive updates from the site can register in the Connect section. The team’s information will be kept by the SBOM, and not released to those registering for project needs, Barnhart said.

“The connection team’s information is secure through our SBOM server,” he said.

Swap

Here, in the Swap section, a ministry can post items to be given away or sold. These items too must be verified by the local AMS, but the SBOM is in no way responsible to verify the value or functionality of the things for sale, Barnhart said.

All in all, he said he hopes the site will help connect those with needs to those with skills who would love to help.
“Networking does not need to be limited to those who are ‘in the know,’” Barnhart said. “This tool enables team members to explore opportunities, not just team leaders. This also allows team leaders to be made aware of opportunities almost immediately.”

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