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Pastor Revs Up Community Engagement with Car Engine Project

Valter Andrade turned a blown engine into an opportunity to bring new people to his church.

Photos courtesy of Emmett Sinnott

In an unconventional approach to community outreach, Valter Andrade, pastor of the South Carroll (Westminster, Md.) church, has utilized his love of cars to bring new visitors to his church. With a background in mechanics and a passion for tinkering, Andrade turned the misfortune of a blown engine into an opportunity for bonding and learning.

The South Carroll church organized a series of engine-building workshops over three consecutive Sundays in April, using the pastor’s 1987 Chevy C10 as the focal point. With each session dedicated to a specific phase of engine construction, the event attracted both car enthusiasts and curious neighbors.

Each session saw an average of 20-30 participants, with approximately 15 visitors from the community joining over the three weekends.

Andrade believes that events like this provide a valuable icebreaker for people who may not typically engage with the church. “There are people who might not be interested in coming to a Bible study but would be interested in coming for something else,” he said. He added, “If I have these other interests, then other people probably do as well, and I can use it to connect with them and build a relationship.”

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