Renovating your home, business or church isn't cheap. In Wythe County, the small congregation of Asbury Methodist says it's stepping out in faith to get repair work done on its 100 year old church.
For more than one hundred years, the room behind the pulpit of Asbury Methodist Church in Rural Retreat was used for storage. Looking there today, one sees deep holes and brown dirt as a construction crew work shoring up a shaky foundation.
Asbury has a long line of congregants. Generations of families are buried behind the all-white church.
Inside, deep divots in the pews are a testament to a busier time, but ten years ago Asbury Methodist almost died.
Adam Linkous is Asbury's Superintendent, not its pastor.
"The average attendance was nine. Some Sundays less, four or five Sundays ago we had 16 children we had 48 [adults]. We've seen pastors come and go," Linkous said.
Ten years ago, after several stints filling in as Asbury's Sunday piano player, Linkous decided to join this nearly empty church.
"God spoke to me at our very piano bench and said "I'm not done here. There's still a spark. I need somebody to help me fan the flames," he said.
Two weeks ago, the church noticed how lopsided the pulpit was. Linkous said it was decided to fix it.
"We were going to repair a sagging floor when they tore it out obviously it was much worse. We had structural damage," Linkous said.
Some of those structural problems Linkous blames on varmints like groundhogs that dug underneath the century old foundation. Back then, pastors were called circuit riders, that covered hundreds of miles while tending to dozens of small churches, including Asbury.
Thursday, Linkous said Asbury Methodist now has 40 members and a thriving meals ministry and wants to do more.
"[But] we can't do those functions because we don't have the facility, so while we're fixing this, we're just stepping out in faith," he said.