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Chapter II  Beyond the Four Roads

 

My home church, First Baptist Church, Euless, TX, conducted youth choir trips.  Robert Waggoner, the Minister of Music, considered as an integral phase of his ministry taking young people on mission trips across the country every summer.

 

It was Robert’s opportunity to reach out beyond the 4 walls of our church.  It gave him the opportunity to work with the youth choirs.  He taught them that it is not ‘us 4 and no more’ but instead a community and a world beyond Euless that needed Christ.

 

FBCEuless.gifThe youth choirs were divided into two groups – junior high and senior high choirs.  The junior high choir would go out for a week at a time each summer while the senior high choir took a full two weeks of ministry.

 

The junior high choir trip covered 500 miles one way with a special day at an amusement park enroute and then back to Euless.  Each night was in a different host church and they presented a special music choir presentation for the young people of the church.

 

Previous arrangements were made for accommodations with families in the host church and the kids were spread throughout the community during the evening in different homes.  They were brought back to the bus the next morning and we loaded for the next destination.

 

The senior high choir, who were the well versed and experienced travelers, would cover up to 2,500 miles one way.  They stayed out for two weeks and conducted back-yard Bible studies in communities that needed help with their outreach programs. Every evening included special music choir presentations in host churches along the way.

 

Our youth were given strict guidelines on dress and decorum when in another church.  For example they had rules governing how short their dress could be if wearing shorts.

 

Many times our youth would come back to the bus in the morning with shorter than allowed dress because the host church youth did not share the same rules.  Robert was quick to point out that we do not conform to local custom, but had rules governing the trip by our church.

 

Traveling on the bus gave Robert an opportunity to share with both age groups in Bible study.  They also played games on the bus to entertain themselves as we traveled.  And you always had the bus clown who kept everyone in stitches.

 

FBCEulessChoir.jpgIt gave the youth a great education seeing other parts of the country.  Many had never been out of Euless.  They also had an opportunity of ministry in host churches other than First Baptist Euless.

 

Working with the young people from different churches gave our youth the opportunity of expanding the scope of ministry.  And it was a great time to make friends with young people across the country.

 

Many of the First Euless young people entered the ministry full time as a result of the exposure they had in working with churches through these mission trips.  They recognized that they had a special gift either through music or in sharing the gospel.  It advanced their resolve seeking God’s will for their lives.

 

We took the youth staff with First Euless, Robert and his music intern staff, chaperons, and the kids on the trip.  Each had a responsibility and accepted their task eagerly on the coach.

 

I worked my schedule so that I could go with Robert on these trips.  I went not as a chaperon, but instead as a driver.  My ministry was for 18-wheelers and to be on the road with them while serving the Lord was indeed a privilege.  I had many opportunities to meet with drivers in truck stops and share our work.

 

I believed that being on the road was as important as any preacher standing in the pulpit preaching the Word.  Both of us were using our God-given talents reaching the lost for Christ.  The pastor preached behind the pulpit and I preached behind the steering wheel driving the coach.

 

FBCHouston.jpgThe trips also gave me a great break getting out of the office and being part of the outside world.  One of the great factors was that I could do this as a professional driver for the charter company and get paid for doing something that I truly loved to do.

 

As was my custom, I scheduled the choir mission trips with charter companies for the church.  Robert and I would determine his destination; number of miles we could travel each day; and the possible local churches to serve as host churches for the kids.

 

Our church was well known in the Southern Baptist Convention and churches welcomed us in their fellowship.  Churches were aware of Robert and his ministry as he had been ministering on the road for years in the churches he served prior to coming to First Euless.  Ours was an extension of his ministry forward.

 

The host churches eagerly accepted the challenge to prepare food and accommodations for the kids for the tours.  They knew that not only were they getting a great service for their youth but they were equally joining with us in reaching others for Christ as we traveled.

 

Travel arrangements for the choirs were made with local charter companies.  Based on the number of young people, chaperons, and staff, we could have as few as one coach or up to as many as three coaches on a tour.  On this tour we were using one charter coach and the church coach.

 

Spaghettie.jpgFood was provided by the host churches for each choir presentation.  The food was usually youth oriented.  Many times we got ‘spaghetted’ on a choir trip.  Churches just automatically assumed that spaghetti was the food of choice for young people.

 

One church asked if we were getting enough spaghetti and we laughed with them.  They provided roast beef, potatoes and carrots.  It was a great change of cuisine for the choir.  The youth loved their understanding.

 

Truett Cathy, the late Founder of Chick-fil-A, once fed the entire choir all the way to Euless from Atlanta, GA.  He had his office call ahead and arranged with his franchises to prepare the meals according to our schedule.  Evening meals were with host churches but noon meals were with Chick-fil-A.

 

 

 

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