Terry Hunt, pastor of Bluffton’s Tri-County Family Assembly of God, and Steve Bishop discuss the church’s latest men’s ministry project, the renovation of a 1998 Mustang GT. The Sentinel will follow the project through the ‘new’ car’s unveiling and giveaway on Aug. 7, 2015. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)
Terry Hunt, pastor of Bluffton’s Tri-County Family Assembly of God, and Steve Bishop discuss the church’s latest men’s ministry project, the renovation of a 1998 Mustang GT. The Sentinel will follow the project through the ‘new’ car’s unveiling and giveaway on Aug. 7, 2015. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)

PANDORA — On Aug. 1, 2015, a Bluffton church is giving away a car in Pandora. The only elegibilty requirement is that you occupy one seat for one sermon.

The giveaway originated with Steve Bishop, proprietor of Hippy’s Body Shop in Pandora and the Men’s Ministry Director at Tri-County Family Assembly of God, Bluffton. Bishop said he has wanted to rennovate a car as a church project, and give it away to someone in need, for years. So this year, he and his wife located a 1998 Ford Mustang GT in Springfield, purchased it and brought it home.

Bishop said he had originally intended to find a 1968 Mustang, but went with a recent year to ease auto body novices into gear.

“Some of the guys at church have never worked on cars, but they’re going to get a treat when they start in on this one,” he laughed. “This one won’t be overwhelming.”

Although an under-the-hood inspection has already taken place, the car will be moved into the bay of Bishop’s garage on State Route 12 in Pandora, a location which was once the vocational agriculture center for Pandora-Gilboa High School. Once there, the car will be stripped and everything old will be made new again.

In order to get in line for this auto’s ownership, a person just has to attend the Tri-County Family Assembly of God for just one service. After the service, that person can sign a liability waiver and enter their name in a drawing, one which will be held during Bishop’s August car show in downtown Pandora.

Terry Hunt is the church pastor. “I’ve been in ministry 38 years. We’ve never done anything like this. A lot of church’s give away Easter eggs at Easter,” he laughed. “We’ll give away 20,000 Easter eggs at 20 cents a piece…this is kind of unique. And it’s absolutely free.”

Bishop confirmed that all parts of the car’s renewal is being done through donations. One of the church members, Dan Garvey, owner of Ada’s Fine Touch Furniture, does auto interiors and will completely redo the inside of the Mustang.

“O’Rielly’s [Auto Parts] jumped on board,” said Bishop. “They’ve been donating parts for this, anything mechanical. Jeff Parsons of Pandora’s Parsons Auto has been making sure everything is working the way it should mechanically. Doty’s out of Bluffton is going to go through the suspension. It’s basically going to be a brand new vehicle.”

Once the car is completed, it will sport a new coat of metallic black paint. Bishop has a graphic artist friend who may add a racing design.

Hunt noted that the car will not be a “suped-up” auto, but will be a street-friendly vehicle that someone can drive safely.

“When I talk to people out of state, they say, ‘Man, I wish I went to your church. We don’t do anything like that’,” said Bishop. “It’s really neat to hear people’s reaction. They say, ‘You’re just going to give it away?’ Yep. We just want people to come and hear the Word.”

For those who are interested in being part of the project, whether as a donor of parts or labor, Bishop invites them to give him a call at 419-890-6928.