By Jasmine Haynes, Web and Social Media Specialist
In today's modern society of spread-out cities and suburbs, congregations pursuing the great commission to "go ye
|J.D. McAdory (driver's seat) pictured with (l to r) pastor, Robert Brown and wife, Betty and (retired elder) Patrick Phillips.|
therefore and teach all nations" need a transportation ministry to achieve their goals in mission work.
Unfortunately, churches often opt out of owning a vehicle due to scarcity of funds, fear of liabilities and a lack of knowledge concerning risk management. Lay leader of Middlebrook United Methodist Church in Jackson, J.D. McAdory, has been driving for the transportation ministry for almost three years and shared that before the ministry, members with personal automobiles would pick up the church-goers without cars. This limited those in need to only have a ride when car space and time was allotted. McAdory explained that sometimes churches have to look beyond the lack, see the need and walk by faith.
"Through the vision of our pastor, Elder Robert Brown and the goodwill of Galloway UMC, they [Galloway] stepped forward and provided a 15-passenger van to us at no charge and to me, that was a Godsend," said McAdory. "You may have people who are poor or elderly who don't have any other way to get to church and we want to provide them with adequate transportation to come and serve because everybody should be able to worship God, regardless of their economic situation."
According to McAdory, transportation ministry is vital to engaging the whole church in outreach which can range from children and youth activities to neighborhood canvasing by the church's evangelism team.
Several houses of worship fear the heavy burden of liabilities from accidents and mishaps but loss control consultant of Arthur J. Gallager Risk Management Services, Inc., Phil Hinton commented that most churches would be less afraid if they had a solid risk management plan and the right insurance.
"The vehicle is obviously only going to do what the driver wills it to do so we have to minimize risk by knowing who is operating the vehicle," stated Hinton. "We recommend that churches create a current drivers' list, run a motor vehicles report on potential drivers, have pre-trip inspections and trip reports that state where the vehicle is going and when is it coming back in order to manage risks because every time that vehicle leaves the church, there are risks associated with it. There are also federal guidelines and many insurance companies that recommend drivers fall between the ages of 21 and 70."
Insurance program administrator for the Mississippi Conference, Chris Brantley, said that "not understanding what is included in the church's auto insurance policy causes congregations to fear transportation ministry as well."
McAdory admits that originally there were several concerns about the church owning an automobile, but the number of concerns don't compare to the amount of growth that the other ministries of the church have seen since they began using the van.