Chaplains Change Lives While Auto Crews Change Oil in Appalachia

Oil isn’t the only thing being changed at auto service centers in central Appalachia. 

Lives are, too.

Chaplains serve alongside work crews at Fast Change Lube & Oil centers in the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Matt Hinson, regional director of operations for Marketplace Chaplains USA, said it’s common for customers to decide to become Christians while waiting on their oil to be changed. In fact, he said, 400 people made that decision since January alone.

Brian Horton, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Shelbiana, Ky., makes weekly rounds at Fast Change centers in Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Paintsville and South Williamson in Kentucky and in Logan, W.Va. Those rounds give him one-on-one time with employees and customers in a region where half the population, according to some estimates, no longer go to church regularly.

Horton is one of about 1,500 ministers nationwide working with Marketplace Chaplains, which serves 3,400 businesses ranging from restaurants to manufacturing plants to construction firms.

“Jesus said ‘go and make disciples,’ not ‘wait in the church for people to show up,'” Horton said. “Being a marketplace chaplain places me in the real world, so to speak.”

In a good year, Marketplace Chaplains record more than 3,000 first-time professions of faith and another 5,000 decisions by others to recommit their lives to Christ.

Kevin Davis, a minister who owns 20 Fast Change centers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, wants to honor God with his businesses.

“I feel like God gave this as a platform for ministry,” he said. “Life happens. People have heartaches, disappointments and troubles. As the boss, they’re not likely to come to me, so I teamed up with Marketplace Chaplains to provide this service.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press