The Yellow Bus

I think you could say Herb and Iris Jensen planted the Woodland Church in Woodland, Washington. We didn't quite use that terminology in those days, but that is what they did. Some years later, I became the pastor of that church and got to know Herb and Iris very well because I depended on them for so much — not the least of which was breaking in a new rookie pastor.

Herb and Iris loved Ingathering. I didn't think asking for donations was my favorite part of pastoral ministry. But Ingathering was fun with the Jensens. Through Ingathering with Iris, I got to know every store owner in the small town of Woodland and every one of Herb's business associates. After two or three years of Ingathering contacts, I could go almost anywhere in town and people would see me and call out, "How are you doing, Pastor?" Too bad we don't do more Ingathering these days. The greatest loss isn't a financial one, but that we don't get to know our communities as well as we once did.

Herb loved evangelism even more than he loved Ingathering. Every time an evangelistic series was announced within a hundred-mile radius of the church he would start putting a plan together. It often began with arrangements to rent the biggest yellow school bus he could find. Then he would invite all of his employees and all of his friends to come along to the meetings. That was a lot of people because Jensen and Grove was a big logging business and because Herb and Iris had lived around Woodland for their entire lives.

Sometimes the meetings were at the church, of course, but if they weren't, we'd still meet at the church and fill up the bus with friends, guests and church members and we would get to know one another as we rolled down the Interstate toward our destination.

On the way home, we would stop for ice cream, compliments of our host, with plenty of opportunity for cordial conversation and informal discussion of that evening's sermon topic. What a concept: support evangelism; invite a friend; show people you care; talk about Jesus in a non-threatening way; and discover the thrill of being part of God's plan to prepare the world for the Second Coming.

Public evangelism still works. So why not rent a bus? Or at least fill up your car with people who need to know Jesus. I suppose you could even use a megaphone and shout, "Bus driver! Move that bus!" Move it right down the highway to the evangelistic series now happening at a Seventh-day Adventist Church near you.

June 01, 2010 / Editorial