PETERSBURG, Va. -- The current economy has shut down many a builder's dream. But imagine this -- a church construction firm that's doubling its business.
Glen Trematore's career has taken him from Wall Street to his own start-up -- Church Development Services.
The mission: help churches expand their physical facilities.
"It's a privilege. I'm humbled by the fact that I get to do this," Trematore said.
It's hard to imagine that a church construction firm could grow in these tough economic times. But that's exactly what Church Development Services has done. Last year, it did $4 million worth of work. This year, they expect $7 million.
"They're taking some risk. They are taking some risk. They're looking past the fear and God's blessing that," Trematore said, referring to the churches he's helping expand
Trematore says there's no one reason why his company is so busy these days. But churches like Pine Grove Baptist can help explain.
This small country church knew it needed to expand.
"Folks aren't going to sit elbow to elbow for an extended period of time without something on the horizon take place," Pine Grove's pastor Rodney Jenkins said.
So Pine Grove took a leap of faith, hiring Glen's firm and waiting to see how God would work.
Miracle No.1: selling its old church at market price -- in a depressed real estate market.
It's what Trematore calls "God's economy."
"Someone will step in the gap. There'll be an unexpected gift. It could be a gift of labor, it could be a gift of money," Trematore said.
Church Development Services offers low-cost building plans. And, it offers expertise in creative financing, including access to private equity. That's helping churches expand that would otherwise be unable.
"Right now, it's the financial component -- it's not the health of the church. The church is awesome," Trematore said. "It's the fact that the banking system really took a hit in September '08 and as a result, they're unable to make the loans they could otherwise make."
So, thanks to this financial know-how, faith, and the mysteries of God's economy, churches like Pine Grove are springing up across the country.
They're pointing their communities to the power of God. And finding their own faith strengthened as well.
"They've seen where faith does pay off. It's real. When you trust God, He's going to provide for your needs," Pastor Jenkins said.
"If God puts it on your heart to expand your church, and if you're growing, and if He's bringing people to your door, then I would say -- move forward."
*Originally published September 29, 2009