I can always count on getting a text message from Tennessee every January 15. Today marks the 29th year…….
“Good Morning, Pastor, as I rejoice this morning of the 29 years of my birth in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful that you were a part of the first years of my birth. I pray that you and your family be blessed today as we join and rejoice in the mighty and great things that He has done and will continue to do in our lives. God bless you forever, my Brother in Christ.”
Jeff McGuire is continually grateful for his relationship with Jesus Christ and grateful for the ones who shared the remarkable gospel story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with him.
In the 1970s-1990s the bus ministry was an integral part of the evangelistic outreach efforts of local church ministries everywhere.
On January 15, 1990, Jeff, as a young adult and Dad got on that bus with his kids and after hearing the Gospel message that Sunday morning became a part of God’s family and was baptized. It dramatically transformed his life forever. Jeff was one of multitudes who heard the gospel because of a sold-out bus captain and driver. Those little bus kids of the 70s, 80s and 90s are all grown up now and have families of their own and live all over the country, as well as remaining in the Tidewater area of Virginia. We hear from them often, in fact, we recently attended a “bus reunion” in Suffolk that several of the Smithfield kids had.
My first experience with the bus ministry came when I led a bar tender to Christ. God radically transformed him. He had a precious wife and four kids, who would run and hide when he came home at night because of his undesirable behavior. God called him, and He gave his life to reaching kids for Christ through the bus ministry. His name is Cecil Davis. He now lives in the Va. Beach area and often calls or messages me to say, Preacher, I love you and you will always be my preacher.
Also, my dear friends, Rudy and Charlene DiGiovanni who lives in Chino, California were so involved in bus evangelism. I love them. Then very often from Martinsburg, West Va. Woody Gilmer calls to say, Preacher, I love you. Do you remember the day we had 55 kids on that Smithfield bus? We laugh and chat for a while. There were also many other adults like the Fishers, Brothers, Larry Boyette and those too numerous to name that were also involved in our church bus outreach.
The Lord only knows who really was impacted from the love that flowed from bus workers who climbed on those old buses (which were cold in the winters and hot in the summers) early on Sundays to love on kids who otherwise may not be receiving love from anyone else. I am so grateful for those days.
The bus ministry was a method to reach people for Christ. With gated communities, and security reasons, the bus ministry is no longer a popular or a viable method in reaching people for Christ. Today there are other methods for evangelistic outreach. I am reminded of a quote by my teacher and friend, Dr. Elmer Towns…
“Methods are many, principles are few. Methods may change but principles never do.”
Methods of outreach often change; however, the Gospel message never changes. The power of it is still changing lives today. Amen and Amen!!!!