Car wash ministry: How one North London church is showing the love of Jesus

Parish Pastor Nick Chanda of the Revival Christian Church of Enfield at the annual Christian Car Wash free community event.Ruth Gledhill

Everyone knows Jesus won't find you a parking space no matter how hard you pray. But in a suburb in north-east London, it turns out He might just get your car washed for free.

A popular church pastor who leads a church that is part of the fast-growing Redeemed Christian Church of God has worked out that one guaranteed way to get the unchurched onto the premises, at least for a cup of tea and friendly chat, is to offer to wash their cars.

So every year, he holds a Christian car wash and just watches them drive in.  

They tried it out at their previous church, Jesus House, and found it worked.

Nick Chanda, the parish pastor, said: "We realised it was the only way to connect with the unchurched community. They would not come to church but they would come to an event like this."

They started it four years ago. "We've seen the community connect with us much better than before."

In their area in north-east London, just one in ten Christians goes to church regularly.

The congregation has grown to about 250 meeting in two services every Sunday. They wanted to do something to connect the 90 per cent non-churchgoing Christians with the love of Jesus.

One of the best ways of doing this, they find, is when they are sitting having a cup of tea or glass of water for 20 minutes while their car gets the five-star valet treatment. 

Why a car wash? "Everyone needs to move from one place to another and the best means of transport is a car," says Chanda.

The Revival Christian Church of Enfield is in a former Midlands Bank at the heart of Enfield.

After almost losing the building, they finally got a mortage with the help of a deposit secured by selling a few inches width of driveway to a neighbouring landlord. They bought it in 2009, renovated it and have been holding services since 2011. Their congregation is all ages, many just walking in from the busy street outside, near Enfield's main shopping centre.

The church is currently prioritising youth work and also helps women in refuges. "There is a lot of God's work that is needed to reach out and show them love to try to get them to have their hearts healed and to know there is a God of comfort."

One of the volunteers, Randy, served on the front line in Afghanistan during eight years in the Army attached to the Grenadier Guards. One of his main responsibilities was running a farm to feed the soldiers. He came back in March 2010. He is in charge of maintenance at the church, and also works in men's ministry and ushering, passing down leadership skills he learned in the Army to the young people in church.

Watch Christian Today's video of Christian Car Wash.

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