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New Work Foundation helps raise churches right
Organization provides support to fledgling churches
Kenny Rice, Pastor of Set Free Church near Dahlonega, walks through the chicken house that has been converted to a church. With help from New Work Foundation, Rice was able to drill a well on the property and provide running water for the church. - photo by Tom Reed
New Work Foundation Golf Tournament
When: April 27
Where: Hammers Glen, Homer
How much: $100 per player
Contact: 770-532-3371

The New Work Foundation, a ministry of the Chattahoochee Baptist Association, has been a part of planting and financing several local churches for just a little more than two years.

The goal of the organization is to help new churches come to the area, and members of the group are ready to help any way they can, said Brian Rochester.

“We raise money to plant and to start new churches and that really is the gist of what we are all about,” said Rochester, chairman of the board of trustees of the New Work Foundation. “We partner with the people starting the church. In a lot of cases, it’s not just us giving the money.”

Rochester said along with helping financially, he will enlist the help of other New Work trustees to help the fledgling churches.

“I have a friend of mine that helps reviewing contracts. He’s a Realtor and he looks at contracts,” he said. “Many of them can’t afford that kind of expertise and these guys love it because then they are involved with something that has an internal purpose, using the skill set that they normally use in their job.”

According the CBA Web site, New Work exists to raise and distribute financial resources to new churches in the Chattahoochee Association. The initial three-year plan calls for an outlay of nearly $550,000 to traditional Anglo church plants, ethnic church plants, multi-housing church plants and home-cell network church plants.

“It’s all about return on investment for me ... When I look outside the church I think one of the most effective ways of spreading the gospel and expanding the kingdom is church planting,” Rochester said. “Church growth is not keeping up with the growth of Hall County.”

The Rev. Jojo Thomas agreed that church planting is the way to spread the word today.

“Our biggest challenge that we have right now is finding church planters,” said Thomas, the Associational Missionary for the CBA. “Who are called to this work, have the gifts to do it and find out where those guys are and encourage them to come and invest their life here.”  

For the Rev. Kenny Rice, pastor of Set Free Church in Dahlonega, the New Work Foundation helped in many ways since he planted the “motorcycle church” a few years back, which set up shop in a dilapidated chicken house.

“When we got this property there was no water — we were sharing a spring from the neighbor. But the deal was that if the owner of this property ever sold it we wouldn’t use the spring anymore, so we had to drill a well,” Rice said. “So the New Work Foundation paid for a well over 800 feet deep here. It was like $13,000 that they paid so we could have water. Also, they helped us out with part of the down payment, several thousand dollars just to be able to buy this place. They have been really amazing to us, so we love those guys.”

The chicken house church now has running water and recently was equipped with new windows, also with help from New Work.

“If you ride down the road and see those chicken houses that are about to collapse, that’s how bad they were to start with,” Rice said. “We just went in and started building them up and now they look beautiful.

"Now there’s windows and there’s a new roof. It’s quite a different thing now.”

The foundation has also given financial help to Living Stone Church, Set Free and Lanier Hills Church. The foundation has helped eight to 10 churches in other ways since 2008.

“We don’t just bring money to the table,” Rochester said. “We don’t tell them how to run their church but we want somebody that wants to partner with us.”