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.
The 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.
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
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
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.
It 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
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
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
The 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
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
Food 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
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.