Gospel Gimmicks: Ice Cream Bus Ministry

Want to get more kids to come to your Sunday School? Looking for a way to get more names and addresses of potential targets? Welcome to the exciting world of the Ice Cream Bus Ministry.

Listen to this Ice Cream Bus Ministry success story!

As an example, the first time a group of four women took one of our ice cream trucks into a neighborhood, they took 17 new names down and had 7 of those kids come to Sunday School and church the next Sunday. A week later, they received 13 new names. One week later, they received 23 new names. That is 53 new names in three weeks! In all my years of calling, I never have been that successful in getting new names for any bus route I did in such a short period of time…The only draw back I could see in this ministry is the workers getting overweight!

Gospel Baptist Church

And surely no parent would object to complete strangers handing out sugary foods in an attempt to get personal information and proselytize their children. Strangers with ice cream — what could be creepy about that?

66 thoughts on “Gospel Gimmicks: Ice Cream Bus Ministry”

  1. Luke 14:23 is not talking about a brick and mortar church building. It is talking about the kingdom of God, not a place where religious meetings are held. The brick and mortar building is neither the “Church” not is it the “house of God.” We are the tabernacle, and we make up the Church… not the material building we erronously and unbiblically label church or the house of God.

  2. Let’s be careful with how far we take that argument. Yes, “church” doesn’t refer to the building, but it certainly can refer to the local assembly; the fact that Christ himself called local assemblies in Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3) by the same word used for the universal church in Matthew 16 (pick a language – original Greek, English, any other modern language translation, doesn’t matter, it holds true for all of them) says as much. There’s enough nebulous wiggle-room in “ecclesia” that it could be referring to those called out of the world and into Christ (universal church) or the assembly of the same (local church).

    In the end it’s a moot point. Even if you say that one-on-one discipleship is the only way to expose someone to the Gospel and make them a disciple, they’re going to have to identify with a local assembly at some point (unless you’re a Harold Camping fan). Even clear back in the NT, you find people going to the synagogue to hear some rabbis named Jesus or Paul or Aquilla or whoever.

    I just don’t see the “you don’t need to bring them into the church building” argument.

  3. Can you really look around at present day Churchianity and tell me is has any resemblence to 1st century Christianity? Paul wrote to the Church (singular) at Cornith. I think it is safe to say modern denominationalism had killed the NT idea of the “local” church. In fact, that was what Paul was criticizing in the first chapter of 1st Corinthians.
    I’m not claiming one-on-one is the “only” way to proclaim the gospel, what I am saying is the way we practice “church” and our idea of evangelism being to bring the sinner into (what is supposed to be the assembly of of the saints) in order to get them under the sound of the gospel, preached by the hired professional; because the body of believers have not been prepared according to Ephesians 4, in order to do the work of the ministry… yeah, I have a huge problem with that. The Clergy/Laity way we do church makes for passive, lazy Christian’s in the pew and makes for dictators in the pulpits. Then my biggest beef is with the cheap easy believism gospel that has been perfected by the likes of Jack Hyles and the “Stop Light Evangelism” tactics that were perfected at Hyles/Anderson back in the day. All in the name of numbers. All because the god we serve is some weak anemic old man wringing his hands hoping that someone will be persuasive enough to get someone to say the sinner’s prayer… and really mean it.
    And lest I be accused of pointing out all the errors and not doing anything myself I witness regularly but I am not responsible for “closing the deal”, and counting coup. If the God I serve is not Sovereign and able to save His own, then it’s all for naught anyways. You see, I wanted to make sure I didn’t go to hell when I was 9 years old, and I prayed that prayer and I was told I was good to go. When I was 38 the Lord saved me and made me His own. If the Soverign God had not kept me and saved me… If I would have died, I would have been hanging on to a prayer, that I really meant all the way to hell. So this is a personal thing with me. But I have been to verbose and I have taken too much of your valuable time. I bid you Adieu.

    1. I can look around and find a lot of churches that look like what the Fathers taught and what the church evolved into in the first several centuries, but no I can’t find what the early NT church looked like. Go meet in someone’s house and post a guard or go meet in a graveyard or something if you’re looking for a really early NT authentic experience. You probably need the real probability of being used as a torch or lion food if you want to keep it real.

  4. Don,
    I know many people that were saved when they were little, and meant it. I believe they are saved, but only God knows for sure. We do not see a child ask Christ into thier heart, then forget them. We keep telling them about Jesus, not knowing if they were sincere or not. Only God knows. But I do believe children can be saved!
    Luk 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    Luk 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

  5. I’ve never said children could not be saved. But I also know that children are easily manipulated into coming down to the “altar” and making a “decision.” I know that it goes on in the fundy ministries in order to crow about the numbers saved. All this decision making and “granting God access” makes for life long “altar atheletes” who make dozens of decisions and somehow never come to the saving knowledge of the truth. I also know that my testimony isn’t the only one out there of a hit and run victim of easy believism. The history of the IFB is filled with, “get ’em to say the prayer, make the decision, affirm the questions the pastor asks in front of the assembly, dunk ’em and move on the the next victim.” I know that guys like Phil Kidd and his ilk are masters at scaring the bee-jeebers out of kids and they, in turn, grasp at something anything to soothe their consciences for the moment but after the ranting and horror stories are over they are left with hollow desisions. I’m not saying kids can’t be saved but it is God that does the saving, not getting them down toan altar in order to say a prayer or make a decision. (That is the legacy of Charles Finney and his heresy)

  6. If the reality of a biblical hell is a reality, then scaring the “bee-jeebers” out of anyone would be a smart way to go.

  7. If the reality of a biblical hell is a reality, then scaring the “bee-jeebers” out of anyone would be a smart way to go.

    Also since Jesus used these manipulative tactics to get folks to make decisions. Or was that Paul who used these manipulative tactics? Refresh my memory on who it was that used these tactics in the Scripture to get kids and teens to make decisions.

  8. I’m with Don on this one. In the early church (Acts through the Pauline epistles), the terrors of hell and the law were not used to witness to unbelievers. The grace of God and His mercy were paramount in these writings. This whole idea that we have to scare people into heaven so that they have “fire insurance” is actually unbiblical. Read through the early church epistles and see how much of the law and the terrors of hell were used to witness to the Gentiles. The epistles that used the law like Hebrews & James, were written to Jewish believers to explain the Law from a Jewish perspective (read the context of who it is written too). Why? Because many were trying to put the church under the law – again.

    As far as the word “church”, that’s a mandated word from the KJV translators. The word originally used was “congregation” as far back as Tyndale. “Ecclesia” has always referred to an assembly and not a building. The KJV translators were instructed to keep certain words in that would keep people in bondage to the Church of England’s power. That’s why the Puritan’s refused to “bow the knee” to the king of England and left for America (carrying Geneva Bibles and not KJV’s as is so often stated from fundy pulpits).

    As far “child evangelism”, I’m not opposed to children being saved. I’m opposed to trickery & deceit just to fatten numbers and look good for all the other pastors & churches.

    As far as the “church” proper, it wasn’t a place where evangelism took place. It was for the believer to be fed and to minister to one another. Look up “one another” and see how many times it’s mentioned in the NT. Yes, unbelievers did come to these assemblies but the focus was on Jesus Christ (the Good News) and His sheep.

  9. The grace of God and His mercy were paramount in these writings. This whole idea that we have to scare people into heaven so that they have “fire insurance” is actually unbiblical.

    Precisely. Doing something purely for form’s sake would have been recognized by the early Church as a hallmark of paganism.

    And thanks for pointing out the ulterior motives behind some of the KJV translators’ word choice. Sarah Ruden, a classicist who has translated Virgil and Aristophanes, recently published a very good book called Paul Among the People. She places St. Paul in his proper historical context, one of the issues she tackles being the word ekklesia.

  10. If anybody tried to “save” MY children without MY permission, I’d probably shoot them.

    Ok- I wouldn’t really shoot them. But I would take their cell phone.

    (seriously, though- they’d get hurt)

  11. heehee its really funny how all the fundies from this church descended on this post… i bet the pastor mentioned it from the pulpit and encouraged people to defend the faith!!

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