Church on Wheels: World Changers Church International Invests in the Local Youth

May. 13, 2024 | By CDM Staff

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’” (Mark 10:13, 14, NIV).

            World Changers Church International invests in children all over the world, and our commitment to the youth includes the children in our local community. Truthfully, the Children’s Ministry is never idle. Between hosting annual festivals and offering dynamic aid to families, the ministry is steadily expanding its reach.

            An oft-repeated phrase is “children are the future.” Children represent hope and opportunities for unity. Whatever circumstance a child is born under, it is essential to remember that they are important to God. We move forward with this in mind! Nearly thirty years ago, Pastor Jon Carr and Pastor Debra Carr gave their love of children literal wheels, and during their fifteen years at WCCI, they brought this love to Fulton County.

            The best ideas don’t start in our heads, but our hearts. Since the 1960s, when rulings against state- and school-sponsored prayer began to alter the educational landscape, missionaries and churches alike have initiated creative ways to tell children about Christ. One of these unique avenues to continue ministering to children has been historically dubbed the “Bible Bus.” As children, Pastor Jon and Pastor Debra experienced this outreach, and it led them to create the outreach ministry, Judah Generation.

             The mission proceeds like this: volunteers set up attention-grabbing flags and attempt communication and advertisement about the upcoming event through appropriate channels in a community or apartment complex. They obtain permission beforehand when necessary, and by playing music, offering gifts and aid, and talking about Jesus, volunteers initiate a relationship with parents and guardians and provide an informative session about their activities.

            They return a week later in their brightly-painted trailer, hoping for parental permission to bring the children to the WCCI campus. On campus, the kids are ministered to and given a meal, then they return home with tools such as anger management strategies. Pastor Jon stated, “Children often solve their problems with their fists. There’s an old saying: ‘If every problem looks like a nail, and the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, that's what you use.’ So we train them to understand that there are other tools in their toolbox.”

            The importance of Judah Generation cannot be overstated, especially as a year-round outreach mission. When they conducted this outreach at their home in California before they moved to Georgia, Pastor Jon and Pastor Debra visited communities as frequently as five days a week with dedication and hard work. Apartment complexes and other communities eventually admitted to the benefit of this ministry on wheels, and gangs even protected them.

            During visits, volunteers are also able to advertise WCCI resources for those in need, such as our food bank, ultimately making a mark that cannot be erased. The safety of both volunteers and families is taken into consideration, and a security agent remains on the premises during the entire duration of the outreach. Parents come to rely on the scheduled time, and children come to receive understanding of who Christ is and what He’s done for them. Some of them even accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Though it may not seem to be a lot on the surface, giving away even material things like televisions can spark hope and curiosity about Jesus. Pastor Jon recalls how some volunteers who lived in housing projects as children explained that their motivation to help was rooted in how much they enjoyed similar outreach efforts they experienced as children.

            WCCI’s Children’s Ministry has also been able to minister to children at the schoolhouse; through an after-school program called Child Evangelism Fellowship, Children’s Ministry has initiated a Good News Club in Fulton County. The Good News Club takes place within local public schools and teaches students about the Bible. The Equal Access Act and the First Amendment allow for religious groups to meet on school grounds when class is not in session. As a result, volunteers visit two local schools once a week.

            Pastor Jon cites the consistent excitement the students show week after week. With stories, games, and an engaging curriculum, it is no surprise that they anticipate the Good News Club and invite their friends to participate. Within the weekly Bible lesson, the students are given a verse to memorize and a chance to receive prizes. Some have even expressed it’s the highlight of their week! The volunteers include surprise elements, which the students also enjoy.

            To participate, students require a signed permission slip from their parents, and nothing goes on that the parents do not know about. Standard safety measures are followed, and unlike many other clubs, this program is free to attend. The volunteers add a personal and communal touch to the gathering.

             Participation unlocks benefits not only for the students in the Good News Club but for the whole school. It is through partnerships such as this one that WCCI is able to help low-income families at other times, such as during the holiday season by providing Christmas gifts. They also offer opportunities to visit the church campus to create crafts for certain holidays. The Good News Club informs the students about upcoming giveaways, festivals, and of course, church services, so they can relay the information to their parents or guardians.

            Many of the volunteers are from the WCCI Children’s Ministry and all go through background checks and training. It can be difficult to find volunteers who can be available at that specific time after the school day, so the Good News Club relies heavily on senior citizen volunteers.

            As a young couple, the Carrs’ initial desire was to introduce their children to Christ through an experience that was similar to the one they had in childhood. This desire became an action that spread throughout their neighborhood. Their first children’s outreach ministry was in their home! Once they became children’s pastors, they implemented this same outreach right away.

          “We knew no one could take care of our kids like we could,” Pastor Jon said. They both trained as missionaries in Springfield, Missouri, and their capabilities have proven to be top notch time and time again. Unfortunately, without programs like Judah Generation and the Good News Club, many children would not receive comprehensive information and knowledge about Christ. World Changers Church International is extremely grateful to partners, members, and volunteers because while it may seem like this only a small thing, seeds need water before they can grow large enough to offer shade to others.

 

BIBLE BUS - The Washington Post

Children's Ministry Outreach Interview-20240418_105230-Meeting Recording.mp4 (sharepoint.com)

A Brief History of the Church Bus Ministry in America – Help4Today

Can public school students learn the Bible? Here's how we do it (usatoday.com)

Students learn Bible truths in retrofitted school bus | Baptist Press

 

WCCI Children’s Ministry encourages members to volunteer their time to this ministry.

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