Maranatha is a non-profit, responsive organization that works in conjunction with the Seventh-day Adventist Church to provide strong, dignified structures for worship and education. Around the world, there are thousands of congregations praying for a proper church to call their own while meeting in sheds or under trees. Children are going to school in dilapidated buildings, causing their quality of education to suffer. To fill this urgent need, Maranatha constructs churches and schools—facilities that later become centers of outreach for a community. History has shown that the construction of churches and schools is a catalyst for membership growth in a region.
To broaden the impact of the work, Maranatha organizes short-term mission trips. Averaging about 10-14 days, these mission projects mobilize volunteers who are willing to fund their own travel and lodging for a life-changing service experience. Once there, volunteers not only work on the construction site but also organize service activities, such as medical clinics and educational programs for children. The mission experience can have a transformative effect on a volunteer. From exposure to a new culture and society to a deep spiritual growth, people return changed and ready to positively impact their own communities at home.
Each year, Maranatha organizes more than two dozen Open Team Projects, which are coordinated by Maranatha staff and invites anyone to join. Additionally, Maranatha helps teams to create their own projects, called Group Projects, to build Maranatha structures.
Since 1969, Maranatha has worked in more than 80 countries around the world, including North America.
In 1969, John Freeman decided he wanted to take his family on a mission trip, specifically so his daughters would have an opportunity to understand the value of service. The concept of a short-term mission project wasn’t new, but Freeman put a twist on it: he wanted everyone going to fly their own planes. By trade, Freeman, who lived in Berrien Springs, Michigan, had a business focused on photography and printing. But he was also an amateur pilot. So he contacted all the private pilots he knew and asked them to fly down with volunteers to help build the Eight Mile Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grand Bahamas.
So a small team of 28 young people flew to the Bahamas over Christmas break and built a church.
The project inspired the creation of Maranatha Flights International, an organization of volunteers who would fly their private airplanes to build churches around the world. People called it the Christian Peace Corps, and the concept grew in popularity among Adventists.
In 1973, Maranatha organized a large-scale project in Yellowknife, Alaska, to build a church. Nearly two dozen small planes flew into the Northwest Territories, and the event caught the attention of Adventist Church leadership. Maranatha was brought into the spotlight, and the concept gained traction in the public eye.
In 1982, the board hired Don Noble to begin running the organization, which was based in Berrien Springs. At the time, the office had a staff of two, and they were organizing just a few projects a year. Then in 1989, Maranatha Flights International merged with Volunteers International, a Virginia-based humanitarian organization. The organization was renamed Maranatha Volunteers International; in the same year, Maranatha headquarters moved from Berrien Springs, Michigan to the Sacramento region of California.
A few years later, Maranatha embarked on a project in the Dominican Republic that changed the organization’s approach to construction. At the urging of a board member, Noble organized a multi-church construction approach in the Dominican Republic. In 1992, 1,200 volunteers converged on the capital of Santo Domingo to construct 25 urgently needed churches. The effort was a huge success and a watershed moment for Maranatha. From that moment on, the organization moved from doing a couple of projects a year to concentrating efforts to build multiple churches in each country it entered.
Throughout the 1990’s, thousands of people got involved with Maranatha projects. Partnering with the Adventist World Church, large-scale projects were completed in numerous countries.
In 2008, Maranatha unveiled the One-Day Church, a church frame and roof kit designed to be built in a day. Made of galvanized steel, easy to construct, and relatively affordable, the One-Day Church concept caught fire. Two years later, Maranatha launched the One-Day School.
The resulting increase in infrastructure met a crucial need for congregations around the globe. Additionally, Maranatha introduced many church and school groups to short-term missions.
Today, Maranatha organizes approximately 50 mission trips each year and more than 2,400 volunteers participate. Thousands more support the mission work through donations. Over the history of the entire organization, nearly 70,000 people have volunteered on a Maranatha project.
2013 Net Assets