car-problem_web.jpgCOLUMBUS, Neb. – From annoying engine rattles to tires with low pressure, a few church parishioners are helping diagnose automotive problems.

The members of First United Methodist Church taking part in the automotive ministry call themselves SPEED, which stands for Serving People Enthusiastically Every Day. For the past three years, church members with mechanic backgrounds have been holding public vehicle clinics where they do checkups and minor work on automobiles.

The Columbus Telegram reports that last weekend, Pastor Dusty Sprague, along with SPEED members Brandon Figge and Andy Alt, were inspecting vehicles during a fall care clinic in the church parking lot.

They gave vehicles a look-over, checking oil levels, inspecting belts and hoses, and in some cases, installing batteries, light bulbs and wiper blades. A freewill offering was requested for the service, with the proceeds going to the continued outreach of the ministry.
Sprague said SPEED is a unique way for some of the church members to be of service to the community. “We started it because you might not think having mechanic skills could be a ministry,” Sprague said.

The ministry, which currently has six members, hosts an annual public event such as the one Saturday and also meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m. at the church.

Anyone from the community can use the service, whether they are members of the church or not. Those involved use their own tools and can install some parts that are provided by the owner. They don’t do big jobs, but can check over a vehicle and give advice or diagnose a problem.

Sprague said the ministry is especially focused on helping those in need. “It is open to anyone with automotive issues communitywide, and to those who might not have the money to get a mechanic to look at it,” he said.