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Retirees Serving the Lord through Construction

Retirees Serving the Lord through Construction

Retirees Serving the Lord through Construction

As most people look toward retirement, they see a time for hard-earned rest.

A group of retired men from First Baptist Simpsonville / Upstate Church (FBS/UC) have chosen a different path.

“We retired from the work we were doing, but we tried to retire to something that was worthwhile,” Tony Brown, a member of FBS/UC and a leader in this collaboration, said. For years, these men have dedicated their time in retirement to serving their community, particularly through construction projects that benefit various Christian organizations. One of their most cherished partnerships is with Camp McCall, an SCBaptist Camp and Retreat Center started in 1960.

The team works to renovate the pews that lined the chapel.

Construction at Camp McCall

The relationship between this group of men and Camp McCall runs deep, spanning decades of shared experiences and mutual support. Brown recalled his involvement with Camp McCall in the late ’70s. “I was RA director and sent kids up there to their Lad Camp,” he said.

Once Brown’s sons were old enough to attend, he would accompany them to camp as a chaperone. Over the years, this initial connection led to a longstanding relationship, with Brown and his fellow church members actively engaging in service projects at the camp.

About a decade ago, spurred by a desire to contribute meaningfully to the community, Brown and Matt “Spinner” Allen, Camp McCall Director, discussed construction projects at the camp. What started as small weekend endeavors gradually evolved into significant undertakings, including the renovation of the chapel and the remodeling of the missions guest house.

Built in the 60’s, the chapel’s last large-scale renovation was over twenty years ago. “For many of us, we figured this was our last opportunity to work on a major project with the chapel, so we had to do it the best we could to leave it for generations to come,” Brown said.

This chapel renovation, completed over eight days with meticulous attention to detail, transformed the worship space. With freshly painted walls, refurbished pews, and more, the chapel will provide a space for life change and for sharing the Gospel.

Part of the Family

“It’s hard to express how much these men have meant to the ministry of McCall,” Allen said. He explained that many of the projects these men have undertaken at McCall would have been hard, if not impossible, to complete otherwise. Like Brown, many of the men attended Camp McCall in the 60’s and had sons who attended or worked on summer Staff, making the work an emotional connection for many of them.

Allen said that, initially, he kept track of the hours these men contributed to the mission, but “lost track when they were into the thousands.”

“They know how important it is to the ministry and understand that by serving camp, they are serving SCBaptist churches that are utilizing McCall more than ever before,” Allen said. “They have become much more than volunteers—they have become part of the family.”

Laying the Foundation for Ministry

The impact of their work extends far beyond the physical improvements to Camp McCall’s facilities. Through their service, these retired men embody a spirit of selflessness and dedication to a greater purpose.

Their motivation stems from a desire to serve the Lord and make a tangible difference in God’s Kingdom and the lives of others. “If we claim to be Christians, we are called to service. And whatever that is, we need to respond to that and make ourselves available,” Brown said.

Brown shared that the men see themselves as operating in the background of ministry. Although they may never see the life transformation that occurs inside the chapel or the guests blessed by the missions house, they know they are contributing to the ministry in their own way.

“We know that it takes more than one person to get the message across,” Brown said. “We feel like we’re a group behind the scenes and laying the foundation for those to present the Gospel to other people.”

Team members commemorate the chapel renovations.

Serving the Lord

The scope of their service goes beyond Camp McCall, encompassing projects both locally and regionally. From building wheelchair ramps to assisting refugee ministries, these men are committed to answering the call to serve wherever there is a need.

Brown wants to encourage others to serve in whatever way the Lord calls them to. “All we can do is make ourselves available, do what we’re called to do, and leave the results up to the Lord,” he said.

He also emphasized that the options for serving the Lord are endless. “Everybody can do something. You don’t have to build a house or put on a roof or cut shrubbery, but everyone can do something,” he said.

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