It does not look like much now.
Every wall in the building needs paint; some windows and doors require repair or replacement; bathrooms cry out for an overhaul; and a hole in a floor is large enough for a man to fall through to the ground.
Chris Hall and his wife, Charlotte, are working diligently to get the building at 1409 Wildwood Ave. in Columbus ready to be their home and the home of True Worship Ministries, of which he is pastor.
A makeshift red wooden sign nailed to a fence outside announces True Worship's arrival.
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"The church is going to be in front and we will live in the back," Hall said.
As he spoke, Hall stood next to stacks of lumber and Sheetrock being used in the renovation of the building that was once used as a day care center.
Hall said local businesses have been generous in their donation of building supplies.
"God is certainly with us," he said.
Some construction will be necessary, and a wall could come down to make room for a proper sanctuary.
The couple arrived here with their three children from the Jesup, Ga., area in December. They have been putting out flyers about the church and have been seeking donations outside the Kmart on Airport Thruway.
"We've been selling doughnuts," she said.
The Halls were planning to begin holding services on July 7, a Tuesday, but they already held an unexpected service this past Sunday.
"A woman found one of our cards and said she wanted to find a church," Chris said. "She did not want to wait until July. She wanted a church now."
So the Halls held a service amid the debris, using wooden benches from their dining room set and some camping chairs. About 16 attended, some of that number being family members. The Halls plan to continue the Sunday services at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Getting closer to the pastor's family is what brought the Halls here. He was born and raised in Columbus and is a Hardaway High School graduate.
Hall served in the Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Through the years, he has worked as a truck driver and a mechanic.
"We feel the Lord brought us here and picked out this location for the church," the pastor said.
He described True Worship Ministries as a place where people can come together and worship God with total liberty, a place where the Holy Ghost can have his way, a place where people can come to find salvation, refuge and strength.
"People can come with an open heart and mind," he said.
"People can come as they are. We are not here to clean people up. We let God do the cleaning. We let God do the judging."
The pastor was ordained in the Church of God in 2004.
"There was a time I never would have thought I would be doing anything like this," he said. "I drank, I smoked, I cussed. I did whatever felt good."
The change came at a revival in 2003.
He was going through a rough time. His first marriage was on the rocks.
"I was not looking for a relationship with God. I even questioned if there was one," said Hall, who was raised Baptist.
At the revival, he said he felt God tug at him.
"I thought it was just the moment because everyone was emotional," he said.
He said twice at the revival he asked God to show him a sign and twice he did.
Hall said he heard God speak to him, "Chris, you are going to preach my word."
"Chris has been blessed with his ability to get people's attention. The way he can speak is a gift," the pastor's wife said of his preaching.
Despite all the work going on, the Halls said they have already been collecting clothes and other items to give to the needy.
Those interested in assisting can call 912-202-6041.
She said that while they might have a lot of work to do on the building, "our ministry has definitely begun."