Vestavia Hills UMC's Mobile Recreation Ministry allows churches to reach out through play


On August 21, 2010, Vestavia Hills UMC (Central District) will celebrate 10 years of ministry in the "Lighthouse," the congregation’s Leisure Ministry building. The congregation also celebrates that during the last 10 years its leisure ministry has expanded beyond the “Lighthouse” with a mobile recreation ministry.

Vestavia Hills UMC Director of Leisure Ministries Jim Frazier says, “When we built the Lighthouse, we dreamed that children from all around Birmingham would come to enjoy this state-of-the-art Christian Life Center. We quickly realized that transportation is a very big issue, particularly for folks not in our immediate location. So the concept of Mobile Recreation was born: if children can't come to the Lighthouse, then we will take the Lighthouse to them!”

The congregation purchased a step-up van from Golden Flake and named it "The MRV," short for Mobile Rec Vehicle. [They now affectionately pronounced its name as "the merve." ] They loaded the MRV with their Lighthouse moonwalk, popcorn machine, portable sound system, and countless other recreation items and have transported the items to the inner-city of Birmingham and throughout the state of Alabama. In 2004, they even took the Mobile Rec team to Bolivia.

Fraizer jokes, “Everyone wants to know how we got The MRV all the way to Bolivia!”

This mobile ministry has allowed the congregation a unique way to share the love of Christ with many.

“Over the past ten years, we have given out thousands of Bibles, have shared Christ, have shared Christian fellowship, and have broken down some barriers -- all while playing games,” Fraizer says.

Now, the congregation has another dream - to help other churches start their own Mobile Recreation ministry.

In the mean time, they are sharing the blessings of this ministry with others. They have a way that churches can contact them about booking The MRV to use for an event. The request system is part of the church’s website. Go online to under Leisure Ministries click on Mobile Recreation.

“We still don't charge for this ministry but we gladly accept donations to help with the cost of gas and Bibles,” Fraizer explains.

If your congregation would like more information, please contact Jim Frazier at or (205)769-0126.

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