Fuller Center for Housing’s “Theology of the Hammer” Comes to Their Own Front Door
By: Tracy K. Hall
“We are in Americus. Millard loved Americus and would not leave it. We intend to stay in Americus, it’s our home. We are happy to make the town look prettier. It’s an opportunity to give back to the community. They are supportive of what we do, and we are grateful for it.” David Snell, President of the Fuller Center for Housing has a passion for Americus and a passion for the work he does at the Fuller Center. David sat down for a chat with me with evidence of patching asphalt on his hands and the sounds of hard work coming through the door. I asked him about the work of the Fuller Center for Housing. The Fuller Center has been helping families through the “Theology of the Hammer.” The Theology of the Hammer is rather simple in its words, but rich in its meaning: “Every home that we build is a message about the Gospel. Every home that we build is a sermon of God’s love.” The Fuller Center has long been helping families build homes in over 100 international locations. The hub for this work is located in a familiar pastel building at 701 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Recently, however, the Fuller Center found themselves on the receiving end of the Theology of the Hammer.
The Fuller Center was the recipient of a GoodUse grant. GoodUse provides technical assistance and funding in the form of matching grants to nonprofits to assist them with resource efficacy upgrades to their facilities. These upgrades save the nonprofit valuable funds on utility bills that can be relocated into their mission. GoodUse is investing $30,000 into the Fuller Center. As a match to the grant, the Fuller Center is providing an additional $15,000 in goods and labor. The goal is to upgrade the office in ways that will save the center over $3000 a year. Phenomenally, David Snell reports 90% of all their funds go directly towards services to keep the Theology of the Hammer thriving with only 10% of their funding to “keeping the lights on.” In the end, these upgrades will revitalize their property as well as save them precious funding to further their work. Some of the upgrades include new LED lighting, automatic water heaters, low flow toilets and new insulation. Chris Johnson, the Vice President of Communications relays such savings could allow the Center to build an additional house in some countries.
So how does The Fuller Center for Housing match this grant? With bicyclists! The Fuller Center has volunteers who conduct builds, raise funds and build awareness as they bike their way across the United States. Their labor goes directly to the match required by the grant. The bikers count it joy to be able to “help the folks who help the folks.” They have come from as far away as California, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado and Indiana. As is Sumter County style, many churches have stepped up to house and feed the bikers. Diane Bies of Evansville, Indiana comes to Americus with a love for biking and for the work of The Fuller Center. She has done many legacy builds, “I was so excited to come to headquarters! Everyone has so much fun. I have been wanting to do more builds and looking for the perfect one.” Diane was excited to hear of the opportunity to help in this manner. “I sent out an email to everyone who had been involved in the bike adventures of the past 2 years. It’s really fun because we get to see a whole big project come together. When you look at this office, the modesty of it, we know they are using our money wisely.” When asked about her trip to Americus, she states, “I love the flavor, the porches and all the people.” Diane does not hesitate to speak on the graciousness of our community, how Sumter County has welcomed them with our gifts of hospitality. Diane and the rest of the bikers bring with them an incredible amount of generosity. The bikers pay their own way, most driving from their homes to help make ours better. Diane states, “we are appreciative we are able to serve. It really has been a gift to us.” Diane and the rest of the bikers are contagious with an excitement about being a part of the Theology of the Hammer. Their dedication to the work of the Fuller Center literally spans miles and miles. Next time you are driving MLK, be sure to look at the house on the hill. All that beautiful work done by generous bicyclists tells of the Theology of the Hammer, just like with any other Fuller Center project, you are sure to see a “sermon of God’s love.”