By Ansley Brackin
Communication Specialist for The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
Since the founding of City On A Hill in 2006, Rev. Chris Bryant and the congregation sought to evangelize within the Woodstock community. Inspired by the fact that single moms make up a large portion of the working poor, Single Moms Gas Give Away was created as a mission to provide a helping hand each year around Mother’s Day.
A mobile gas service comes to the church parking lot and church members offer other car maintenance services to the moms as well.
“We wanted something that connected to our culture and also fit into the Mother’s Day season… We are definitely a gas culture,” says Bryant, who explains that Jesus too found tangible ways to show God’s love through relating to the way of the world.
City On A Hill, also known as COAH, successfully chose to supply a resource that is, indeed, vital to busy moms. It is also something that pumps a large chunk of change out of the pocket of any gasoline user.
A special offering is taken during services to support the mission. This year, about $7,000 was raised, along with additional budget savings of about $2,000.
Thanks to this generosity, COAH added advertising this year. With the help of social media, signage, and word of mouth, the goal was to serve 300-350 families. Being in its seventh year, it has become an expected event within the community. Last year, their Facebook post about the give-away was their most shared post of all time.
When single moms pull into COAH’s parking lot this year on Saturday May 17th, they will be greeted with immediate hospitality. Water and popsicles are handed out to mothers and children as they go through the line of services. Window washing, tire pressure checks, oil changes and other car check-ups are offered as donations by various auto businesses while families wait for their turn to receive up to 10 gallons of free gasoline.
Mothers are also given flowers and a card, provided by the children’s ministry, along with a prayer request card, as Mother’s Day gifts. Though filling out the prayer card is optional, the congregation hopes to be able to pray for as many participants as possible.
Last year, two moms felt so welcomed by the Give Away volunteers that they went through the line twice, not to receive more services, but to continue to fellowship with the congregation. Several single mom participants visit COAH again for worship, however, most of the event’s evangelism attracts other community members who are simply inspired by the mission as a whole.
“People want to be a part of a church that is involved in something like this,” Bryant shares.
Bryant hopes that as attention on the Single Mom’s Gas Give Away continues to increase, more churches will be encouraged to join their mission and even start their own gas give away. The hope is to extend the radius of service of single moms.
COAH’s mission can only productively provide for so many people. The farther families have to drive, the less helpful a free tank of gas becomes. Contact Rev. Chris Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in extending this mission to your church.
Share this event with single moms around the Woodstock area. Single Moms Gas Give Away is on May 17th from 11AM-1PM at City On A Hill, located at 7745 Main Street, Woodstock, GA, United States 30188.