CENTERVILLE -- Would Jesus change a single mom’s car oil if he were physically here today?
A group of volunteers at First Baptist Church in Centerville think so, and they’re doing just that from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I definitely say he would, and here’s why,” said Dell Taylor, leader of 150 or so volunteers involved. “Jesus wasn’t opposed to getting his hands dirty and serving people in practical ways to show his love. Plus, he offered the gift of eternal life to all people freely and without reservation. The single mom’s oil change is for all single moms without reservation. We don’t ask them to prove they’re single moms or that they’re in need. We just ask they come.”
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Taylor said the oil change includes a new filter, checking and toping off fluid levels, checking tires and wiper blades and an overall look at the car for general information and safety.
He said the group can’t really do further major repair work.
Taylor said single moms should enter the church’s parking lot off Houston Lake Boulevard on Saturday and will be told what to do. That will involve turning their cars over to volunteers for the oil change while they -- and their kids -- have breakfast in the family life center, where there’s a children’s play area and an opportunity to hear the Gospel.
He said the oil change might take about 20 or 30 minutes.
“This also offers us opportunities to serve that don’t require getting under the car getting greasy,” Taylor said. “We started the oil change 12 years ago and do it twice a year, usually in March and September. It was my friend Rusty Hartzog who had the idea. I’m not much of a car mechanic, but there are all kinds of ways to serve. About 30 men do the actual oil changes at six change stations. Other men and young people drive the cars around, do checks and help while a group of ladies check the moms in, serve breakfast and take care of them. At the end, we show the moms what we did and talk to them a little about their cars.”
Taylor said on some occasions, the cars have been a bit scary.
“We’ve had cars that poured out coolant as fast as we could pour it in,” he said. “We’ve had cars that when we unscrewed the oil plug there was hardly any oil. We’ve had tires so thin and worn you could hardly believe it. We hate to see those go without knowing something’s going to be done. But we have almost brand new cars come through, too.”
Though it isn’t part of their routine service, some single moms have gone away with extra help.
“You can tell some of these single moms can’t make ends meet, much less take care of their car,” he said. “It can be heartbreaking and we’re glad we can do what we do. Sometimes, people here have taken it upon themselves to help with new tires and other things.”
Taylor said one mom was in tears when her car wouldn’t start at the end of its oil change.
“Someone from the church sent her to a dealership and replaced her vehicle for her,” Taylor said.
That’s not routine, he said, but it happened.
Taylor said the event routinely sees about 160 cars come through. He said some people give $35 to sponsor a single mom. It costs the church about $3,000 for oil change materials, additional costs for food and other items plus some unconditional love and acceptance church members happily give.
“The single mom’s oil change is an opportunity for our entire church family to minister outside the walls of our church,” said Allen Hughes, the church’s senior pastor. “If we can express the love of Christ to single moms then we’ve accomplished our goal. God has allowed us to touch many lives through the oil change that goes far beyond changing oil in cars. We’ve seen lives changed for eternity.”