The vision for Transport For Christ began in 1951 at a Youth For Christ rally when founder Jim Keys (age 21) asked, “If there is a Youth For Christ, why can’t there be a Transport For Christ?”
For the first seven years Jim, along with a group of volunteers, worked to lay the foundation for an organization that could meet the specialized needs of the trucking industry. Their purpose was to promote a practical application of Christian principles by making chaplains available upon request.
In 1958 the chaplaincy program began when Jim quit his truck-driving job and became a fulltime chaplain. The motto for the ministry was “SAFETY IS OF THE LORD”. Transport For Christ was incorporated in Canada in 1961.
TFC crossed the border to the United States in March 1966 when a driver from Texas picked up a copy of the ministry’s magazine, Highway Evangelist, and invited Jim Keys to Texas. The creation of the first mobile chapel was a major breakthrough for the ministry and was dedicated to the Lord on June 29, 1968. Truck drivers were attracted to it because it represented their industry. This chapel crisscrossed Canada and the United States, covering about thirty thousand miles per year. In the early seventies, two more mobile chapels were built and were based out of Hamilton, Ontario. New chapels were prayed over and dedicated to the Lord and added to the fleet.
On weekdays safety films, followed by a short gospel message, were shown to employees of truck terminals. That pattern, including visiting truck stops, churches, truck shows, etc., on weekends continued until 1986, when it was suggested by truck stop owners at P&M Plaza in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that the chapel be parked there for the winter. It soon became evident that this was a much better situation than having to schedule and move the chapel to a different location every few days. Thus began the era of permanent chapels.