Coffee County pastor launches AED ministry

Coffee County pastor launches AED ministry

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Minutes matter. They’ve mattered for the whole 25 years Will Jordan has been a paramedic. They matter if you’re in a rural church with the nearest ambulance 15 minutes away and they matter if you’re at a First Baptist Church and are right next door to a station that provides emergency medical care.

That’s why Jordan — who also serves as pastor of Newbia Baptist Church, Elba — said he wants to see every church in his association, Alabama and beyond have an AED device ready and available in their building.

“We have so many older folks and even younger folks with known heart conditions, let alone the ones who have heart conditions and don’t know about it,” he said. “But there’s been such success with resuscitation. If there’s a chance to save them we want to be equipped. God is the one who’s going to save them but He can use us as tools. As Christians we need to be ready.”

Restore rhythm

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, uses electric shock to restore a heart’s rhythm. It’s used when people have sudden cardiac arrest and if it’s available within the first minute the survival rate is vastly improved, Jordan said.

“Many of our churches are located in rural areas with extended time for EMS response,” he said, noting that even if the church is close to a station it would be difficult to get an emergency responder there in under a minute.

‘Chain of survival’

He said the “chain of survival” starts with bystanders recognizing the problem early and starting CPR and defibrillation right away.

John Granger, director of missions for Coffee Baptist Association, said he believes with more AEDs available and more people trained in how to use them lives will be saved.

“You never know when a heart attack will take place and if you have someone trained and right there then the likelihood of them getting beyond it is much greater,” he said.

AEDs are like a life jacket on a boat, he said — you don’t need it until a crisis, but “when you need it you need it.”

“For a fairly small price you might be able to save someone’s life,” he said.

For any churches interested, regardless of denomination, Jordan is offering free AED and CPR training and certification as well as help in securing AED devices at a reasonable cost. 

To contact Jordan, email