It was the early 1950s. At the time, truckdrivers made their living in harsher conditions. With fewer highways and interstates, a trip that would take a couple of days in present time could take close to a week. There were fewer places to rest and less means of communication which sometimes made the profession much more dangerous. A driver would have to be away from his home for weeks and even months at a time. He would have to leave behind everything he held dear including family, friends, a home and his church.
The roads were lonely – missing the comfort and some of the conveniences made available today – and it would test a truck driver’s faith. Knowing that a church could be hard for a driver to find, in 1951 Transport For Christ began their ministry in America. They decided to bring church to the drivers by constructing their first chapel out of the very type of trailer their trucks would carry each day. Inside of this large freight trailer, they laid out chairs, a pulpit and Bibles and drove to the truck stops and rest areas where drivers would seek comfort.
TFC has declared that their goal is “that no trucker should have to drive more than a day without being able to find a TFC Mobile Chapel.” Combined with a mission “to lead truck drivers as well as the trucking community to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith,” they have taken some of their largest steps yet towards these goals in the last 13 years.
For the first 35 years as an active ministry, TFC was primarily mobile by moving from truck stop to truck stop along the U.S. highways. During that time, they were able to launch a magazine in 1957 called Highway News and Good News, originally called Highway Evangelist. With the success of six chapels and a magazine, TFC was making a genuine difference for people with unique needs and schedules.
[Transport For Christ] decided to bring church to [truckdrivers] by constructing their first chapel out of the very type of trailer their trucks would carry each day.
By 1985, only two of the six original chapels were in operation. Though even with the number of locations being limited, thousands of truckers were able attend church services on the road and more than 100 truck drivers were dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ each year. In 1986, a truck stop owner requested that the first permanent chapel be created at their Harrisburg, Pennsylvania location where 150 drivers gave their lives to Christ in the first year alone.
Having a home base gave members of the community the chance to volunteer for the church. From that point on, Transport For Christ’s formerly Mobile Chapels were placed permanently at truck stops around the country. This made a dramatic difference in the operational costs. By 1990, TFC was a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, an agency that is dedicated to keeping transparency between the public and a ministry. The ECFA acts as a middleman between the ministry and their financial backers to ensure that money is spent ethically and managed responsibly.
Through the mid 90s, TFC placed Mobile Chapels in six new locations: Council Bluffs, Iowa; Nashville, Tennessee; Toledo, Ohio; Omaha, Nebraska; Cordele, Georgia and a second chapel in Elkton, Maryland. This brought the gospel to truck drivers all over the map, proving that TFC was ready to branch out to the world. In that same time, they inaugurated their second Russian chapel by planting one at the largest truck stop on the famous Ring Road in Moscow, Russia.
With the new millennium came eight more chapels and the chance to ship a third chapel to Russia, where it proudly stands in Moscow. Shortly after, Transport For Christ spread on to the West coast of the U.S. with chapels in California, Colorado and their first one in Canada.
With the organization placing so much focus on planting permanent churches, for a brief time none of the TFC chapels were mobile. This changed in 2005 when the International Office of Transport for Christ built a special Mobile Chapel to be displayed at truck shows, conferences and events in North America. This helped to bring attention to the ministry and it’s unique way of sharing the gospel.
By 2007, TFC saw an opportunity to spread its ministry even to locations beyond where its chapels could go by starting a website. They named it Drivers Wellness and it serves as a place where truck drivers can find resources for a number of problems they may face on the road including loneliness, stress and health. On the site, drivers can find helpful videos and podcasts put together by truckdrivers and pastors that understand how exhausting the profession can be at times.
Today, Transport For Christ preaches the gospel in permanent churches located in communities all over the world and brings their famous mobile chapels to highways across America. In the last few years, they have placed five new Mobile Chapels in the U.S. and Canada and continue to plan for more in the coming years. Since 2010, TFC has taken their ministry a step further by partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking in an effort to fight against human trafficking worldwide.
The ministry transports the love of Christ to the trucking community and its supporters through 34 locations in North America and active ministry in Russia and Zambia. Their magazine also reaches Africa and Australia and Driverswellness.com is available worldwide. With the combination of their fully operational permanent and Mobile Chapels across the globe, their successful magazine and helpful website, it is clear that Transport For Christ has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
As they continue to travel the globe, bringing the love of Christ with them, they are changing the world. They are helping a community that reaches across the globe and have taken the road less traveled to give to those that are always on the highway. To get involved, contact Transport for Christ International by calling (717) 426-9977 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.