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Alabama Baptist churches serve God by serving others through car care ministriescomment (0)

March 20, 2014

By Anna Keller

Alabama Baptist churches serve God by serving others through car care ministries

Knowing how to care for a car — and what questions to ask related to its maintenance and what mechanical advice to trust — is a daunting task for many people, and so several Alabama Baptist churches have established ministries to reach out to people and help arm them with car care advice they can trust.

“We began doing car care Saturdays a year ago, and up to this point we’ve done three of them with a fourth planned for March 22,” said Keenan Braden, minister of singles at Gardendale First Baptist Church. “Our car ministry focuses on the single ladies of our church — especially single moms.”

At Gardendale First, the church provides free oil changes and inspections during each Saturday event, and if the volunteers detect something more critical during the inspection they help the car owner know the best way to remedy the issue. The church has a partnership with the NAPA Auto Parts store in Warrior, which provides oil and filters for the ministry at cost. In addition to the inspection, the church offers a Car Care 101 class, where participants are instructed on general car care and maintenance knowledge, helping to build confidence of all who take the class.

“They go over things like the importance of proper tire care, the meaning of the gauges on the dash of your car and which ones mean ‘pull over now,’” Braden said. “They even go over basics like how to change a tire.”

First Baptist Church, Pell City, recently launched a similar program after being inspired by a church in Tennessee that has a car care ministry. Member Matt Mosley is heading up the outreach, which will provide basic maintenance checks for single mothers, widows or anyone else who isn’t knowledgeable about car care and is looking for advice they can trust to be fair. 

“What really got me fired up about this ministry is that the men behind it aren’t deacons and we aren’t elders — we’re laymen from the church who know cars,” Mosley said. “I grew up in a house full of mechanics and know that it’s easy for folks to get cheated and taken advantage of. These guys all have a heart for helping people.”

The initial event will be held at First, Pell City, and the church has established partnerships with an Express Oil Change and Advance Auto Parts in Pell City, both of which are donating labor, providing discounts and more. The plan is for this event to be held monthly, and eventually Mosley hopes the church can invest in building an on-campus shop to enable them to provide more extensive repair work for people.

“For now, we’ll do a basic inspection of the car, check levels, recommend services,” Mosley said. “If they need additional work done they can go in the same day or at a later period.”

Willowbrook Baptist Church, Huntsville, has provided more than 100 cars to single mothers and widows through its In His Name Car Ministry, and the church also provides a free quarterly oil change for single moms, widows and wives of deployed soldiers thanks to its In His Name Oil Change Ministry. 

The oil changes take place four times each month and are held in the church parking lot. The church makes things comfortable for both the men volunteering their service as well as the women who are there for car help by putting out breakfast, coffee and juice for all to enjoy.

“My involvement in the program is to head up a team of women who visit with the women while their cars are being worked on,” said Barbara Merchant, a member of Willowbrook Baptist. “If they say something like, ‘Why do these men do this?’ it’s a perfect opportunity to lead in to serving God by serving others.”

Merchant said it also warms her heart to see how many of the men who volunteer with the ministry bring their sons along to teach them how to work on cars and help others, too.

“The women are so appreciative and the men go above and beyond just an oil change,” she said. 

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