One of Jill Kruckenberg’s first experiences with Habitat for Humanity was a Framing Day in Rockford a few years ago. Little did she know that this day would impact her for a very long time.
Jill found herself working alongside an excited, nervous, empowered Habitat homebuyer, who was on her way to becoming a homeowner.
After some of the walls had been raised into their places, the homebuyer was perched on a ladder, nailing in a piece that would hold two walls together. Jill remembers watching the young woman looking out over the maze of walls.
“She turned around, and kind of was surveying the whole entire thing. And she looked down at me, and she goes, ‘this is mine,’” Jill said. “And I have been one hundred percent, literally hooked ever since.”
Jill has now been the Thrivent liaison for all of the Chicagoland Habitat affiliate Faith Builds for several years, and has been present for every Faith Build in Rockford. The concept of the Faith Build is a partnership that makes a big impact by building a home for a local family to purchase.
“It’s a three-part formal relationship, in that it’s the faith community, Habitat and Thrivent coming together, but then it’s also the community itself, a partner family, and all of us really coming together to have that opportunity, because we are missionally aligned,” Jill said.
The Faith Build truly brings community members together in a unique way, and helps churches put their faith into action in their own backyards. Thrivent and local churches support the construction of the home financially, and then volunteers from Habitat, Thrivent, and the community unite to build the home together. Churches and other volunteers also prepare lunches for the construction crews, join together in praying for the homebuyer and their family, and more—there are many ways to participate in the Faith Build, and every role is crucial.
“It seems to be the perfect blend that’s getting things done. Not just building a safe, affordable home for a family, but also creating community where maybe it was lacking before,” Jill said. “Friendships have been built out of this, understanding for differences has been built out of this, and the fact of the matter is that it gave us an opportunity to join hands, and to join one another as a total Christian faith community.”
After a year of isolation and hardship for many, Jill said there’s no better time for churches to participate in the Faith Build in whatever capacity they can.
“Churches are always looking for places within their ministries to be the hands and feet of Jesus, they want to have ministries and missions that make sense for their congregations to be able to tap into, and what’s really beautiful is when it happens within your own community,” Jill said. “To be a part of a movement, to be a part of something that is changing the very environment of your community for the better, is something that I think church congregations want to get behind.”
What Jill witnessed during that Framing Day years ago is exactly what the Faith Build invites churches to be a part of: being a small part of a Habitat homebuyer’s story in a life-changing, community-transforming way.
“To give someone an opportunity and a chance, who may not have felt that in any other way in their life, is really something,” Jill said.
Interested in learning more about the 2021 Faith Build?
Join us for our virtual Faith Build Kickoff on March 23 at 1pm! This is the perfect environment to learn all about the Faith Build, hear from church leaders who have participated before, and ask any questions you have. Please Contact Us to RSVP, and we will send you the Zoom link.
You can also visit our Faith Build webpage here.