When the chance to retire finally came in 2018, Steve and Darlene Wilson knew exactly what they wanted to do: buy a camper and use their skills for a greater purpose.   

As a former maintenance electrician, Steve spent decades honing his expertise in electrical wiring. As a former church secretary, Darlene dedicated many years to the church and became familiar with common needs churches face.  

Their combined knowledge and skills, coupled with a love for serving others through missions guided them to become volunteers with TBM Church Builders.

On the jobsite, Steve focuses his time on building and electrical work while Darlene can be found wherever she is most needed. Whether it’s hauling wood and using nail guns or keeping the space clean and the volunteers hydrated, she’s ready to serve however she can. 

Her first order of business, however, is always connecting with the church secretary.

“I call the church secretaries and ask, ‘What do you need done that us women can help with?’” she said, noting the church secretary is usually the best person to talk to concerning needs of a church.  

The answer can often entail tasks such as tidying up the library, cleaning the kitchen or making items for a partnering ministry, for example baby hats and blankets.

“Darlene is someone I lean on,” said Steve, about his wife of nearly 48 years, sharing that the time spent together on Church Builders projects has been blissful. “She is truly my soulmate. I just enjoy working with her. … You spend most of your life working and gone during the day. It’s different when you’re retired. I just enjoy having her around.”

The couple almost never misses a Builders trip and even invited their son and grandkids to work with them on a recent project in Houston. For the months of May and June, Steve and Darlene are serving in Utah, where Church, Camp and Cabinet Builders are working together to build a parsonage, with space for Sunday school classes in the basement.

“It’s a blessing just to get to meet the people at the churches that we help,” Steve said.

Darlene agreed, saying they are blessed on every project. She encourages anyone, man or woman, looking for purposeful ways to spend their retirements to come visit a Builders project.

“Come on your first one, and you’ll be hooked,” she said. “Even if you don’t think you have any skills, you can learn. If you have a willing spirit to learn, then you’re in. … When you spend two weeks together, you build camaraderie, you build a family.”


TBM Builders ministries – including Church, Camp and Cabinet Builders – empower churches, camps and other ministries to accomplish their God-given visions of expanding the kingdom of God. Click here to learn more about opportunities to volunteer with TBM Builders.