Sheridan Wesleyan Church (SWC) in Sheridan, Wyoming, is not a particularly large church nor is it a particularly small church. In comparison with some of the larger churches in the Northwest District and The Wesleyan Church as a whole, however, it is rather diminutive.
Resources are scarce and budgets are tight, a scenario with which I suspect most pastors in The Wesleyan Church can relate. Therefore, you may imagine the surprise or, perhaps, fear in us when we sensed God calling us to launch a car ministry.
Over the course of the last year and a half, SWC had been asking itself one question over and over again: “How are we, SWC, uniquely equipped to serve our community?” We also asked, “What resources do we have that might meet a need no one else is meeting? Is there a way to reach out to a people group in our community no one else is reaching?”
As our leaders prayed, a clear calling from God emerged. We were to use the old storage shed, actually an old barn on our property used for storage, to serve an underprivileged segment of our population by offering basic automotive repairs and preventative maintenance for low to no cost to them. God had called us to launch “Ignition” with nothing more than that old building for a real start.
We began walking down the path of possibility, not entirely sure where God was taking us or how he would get us to the end. We were fortunate enough to find similar programs modeled well in a couple other communities.
In particular, we looked to the SHIFT ministry, launched out of Fountain Springs Church in Rapid City, South Dakota, for inspiration and guidance. Confirmation flooded us as an immediate buzz began throughout our community when we announced our dream. People and organizations with no connection to our church began to reach out, offering help. Tools were donated, financial gifts received and before we knew it, the old barn-turned-storage-shed was transformed into an auto repair shop.
SWC’s prayer has been and remains to be a group of believers relentlessly seeking to reach the unchurched. Our souls ache to ignite our city for Jesus. We hope that meeting real and tangible needs within our community will pave the way for open doors to the gospel message we carry.
Ignition officially launched in November 2019 and within its first two months serviced and repaired over a dozen vehicles. Two vehicles were donated to the ministry for large repairs. When completed, they will be donated free of charge to families in need.
Each person who visits the shop for repairs or service is asked a question before they leave. “How can we pray for you?” This simple question opens many doors, and our Ignition team has boldly shared the love and hope of Christ through it. One mom broke down crying and told us the story of recently losing a child. Another shared that without the car repair, she was unable to work. Our assistance made it possible for her to keep her job.
Some of Ignition’s “customers” show up to Sunday worship services, others don’t. We pray, however, that each person walks away knowing two things: there is a God who loves them, and there is a church who loves them.
Dustin Stephens serves as outreach and missions pastor at Sheridan Wesleyan Church.