155 thoughts on “Bus Ministry: HAC Edition”

  1. Did I miss where he talked about what God was doing? OH wait. He didn’t say that.

    1. I think he said “Let’s do something big for God”.
      This is the work of man. Jack admits it.

    2. And, even though this video is relatively short, it seemed he went on for about a minute and a half too long. Just like a preacher. They love the sound of their own voice.

  2. Do you notice in the title screencap how everyone has the corners of their mouth turned down?

    These are not happy people.

    1. During the whole video I counted maybe 6 smiles. And those appeared when 2 people were sharing a laugh together. Nobody was smiling at anything the good Dr. was saying.

      1. Same here. They actually look very angry. Almost like they just realized they’ve been lied to.

      2. Wow, I was just noticing that from the paused version. I haven’t even watched it yet. So sad. There’s no joy there.

    2. I agree, these are not happy people. They are sleep-deprived, run ragged, exhausted people. HAC is also not as big on the whole “paste a smile on your face for Jesus no matter how you feel” as some other places. This brings back some interesting memories!

      1. Going to MBBC, church three times a week and chapel five just about ruined my health. I “listened to Satan” and dropped out my fourth semester there.

        I’m currently still backslidden according to their standards.

        1. No, you’re not, Mominator. I left there in 95 and after 4 years in a church that was MBBC like, I was so burned out I was angry all the time. My kids bore the brunt of it. I am so glad I left that Cult.

        2. @BobM

          Thanks for the encouragement Bob. I’m know now that I don’t have to perform to win God’s love for me. I’m sure you feel like you have more joy in your life and I’m sure that your kids can see the difference now.

    3. When he said at the end, “let the tears run down your face” I was thinking of all the tears that ran down my face as I was walking the frozen streets of Chicago every weekend knocking on doors of people who didn’t want to be visited, being leered at by drunks in the doorways, and even once abandoned on a corner in a blizzard because the driver forgot he had new girls on his route. I was cold and hungry and tired and defeated every single weekend. And nobody cared. If they want to learn to love people, how about they start with the students who have been entrusted to them.

      1. What’s sad is that they would say it’s all your fault because you have the wrong attitude!

        How about Mr. Hot Shot Schaap and his bragging? It just disgusts me. How much actual contact does Mr. Manogawd actually have with those kids? He leaves the actual running of everything to others, the bus workers, Sunday school teachers, they do all the work and he takes all the credit. He’s too busy preparing sermons and sitting on the platform looking important. I’ll bet he doesn’t know many of those kids’ names. 🙁

        1. No, you are right. And even when he was in college, he didn’t have a Chicago route as I recall. I beleive he was on an A route which is an entirely different story. (If even that much) He and Cindy were royalty, and you can’t have royalty out getting their boots dirty in the mean streets of Chicago.

      2. That happened to me too! I got left behind at a grocery store my second week on the route. I headed for the nearest McDondalds and fortunately a few of the guys decided to have some breakfast and found me! Glad to know I’m not the only one, but sorry it happened to you.

        1. When it happened to me, the driver got all the way back to the college and was walking in to the dining hall, where my fiancee asked him where I was. He got a look on his face and my now-husband got in his car and drove up to get us. We had been on the corner for HOURS and it was a blizzard and there was no place to go because we were afraid to leave the corner. We seriously could have died there. When we finally did get back WE got demerits for riding in a car with a member of the opposite sex. I had called my dad from a payphone though, and he in turn had a bit of a ‘conversation’ with Wendall Evans. Of course they didn’t care if my dad was mad. Or if my partner and I nearly died. All they cared about was that I might have been tempting my fiancee to lust while riding back to the school in his car.

        2. Sims, that is beyond ridiculous! I am so glad you and your partner were all right. I feel so bad that you went through that! Nothing says proper priorities like giving you demerits for not dying due to their stupidity.

          SFL: messing up priorities and majoring on the minors

        3. They should give themselves demerits for expecting a couple girls to freeze on a street corner due to their negligence in picking them up. Of course you were in your fundy skirts and nylons right? If you’d gotten hypothermia and died they’d have preferred that to your getting a ride from your fiance. What did they expect you to do, honestly? Just stand there til one of them remembered you and came? Or just die? Was there anyone else you could have called? I don’t get this at all. 👿

        4. Nobody had cel-phones back then (it was in the 70’s) but even if they did, I didn’t. I had to leave my partner alone to watch for the bus to come, and walk by myself to find a payphone, When I did, I had to call my home (in California) collect because I had no money. My dad then called the college and the police in Chicago. The police never showed up, and evidently the college didn’t take any measures to get us either. If it hadn’t been for my husband we would probably have died. I don’t think an 18 year old who has been raised in a sheltered environment (and sunshine) knows how to cope in a situation like that, but the memory of abject terror and lost-ness has haunted me my entire life.

        5. Wait, let me get this straight Sims… you were left on a Chicago corner, in a blizzard, could have DIED in that kind of cold… and, even though it was the bus driver’s fault, that woman had the gall to punish YOU?!?! 👿 👿 👿 I’m so disgusted right now, I can’t even think straight!!! 👿

        6. @Sims. Your story makes me so mad. They call that Christianity. The more and more stories I hear about Hyles and his crwod, the more I want to shake my good friend who is still a HAC defender. May the Lord heal your wounds.

      3. Well said, Sims!

        I think the entire door-to-door “selling heaven” needs to be re-thought; it was OK in the 1950s when it was relatively safe to answer the door, but this doesn’t happen much today, and people won’t answer the door.

        1. Why was it OK in the ’50’s…it’s still get ’em to make a decision they may or may not even understand, then notch your belt or extremely large KJV1611, rejoice that you’ve “saved” another lost soul, maybe give a decision card to your “soul-winning” boss (or not), skip to the next door and repeat. Do they really give a sh*t personally about these people? Do they understand that Matt 28 says “make disciples, not get “decisions”? Do they care that they might have just helped give someone false confidence in their eternal security? IDK, but I bet they feel really good about “themselves”. Sorry for the rant…hit a sore spot with me.

      4. Sims –

        Your story brought the 2002 girls’ boarding school fire in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to my mind. While the end result of the Saudi quest for morality turned horrific and cost the lives of 14 school girls, I find their thought process similar to Hyles Anderson College punishing you for being saved after enduring hours of freezing blizzard conditions.

        An eerily similar mindset if you ask me.


        “The 2002 Mecca girls’ school fire happened on March 11, 2002 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Fourteen people were killed. The event was especially notable due to complaints that Saudi Arabia’s “religious police” (aka the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) stopped schoolgirls from leaving the burning building and hindered rescue workers because the girls were not wearing correct Islamic dress.”

    4. I’m sure it took more than one “take” to get this. No telling how long those poor kids stood there. 🙁

    1. I think they were intermingled. I think the girl holding on to the arm of the other girl might have been a “bus kid” but it would be difficult to tell. They would all have to meet the standard of dress by the second weekend they came, so they might look very much like the students.

    1. When I heard him going on about the poor and maimed I could’t help but wonder how that made those children feel. Loved? Doubt it. Second class? Likely.

      1. We’ll come get you young and poor.
        The huddled masses yearning to be fed.
        We will sell them an incomplete gospel,
        1-2-3, repeat after me.
        Week after week we will baptize them.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
        I lift MY lamp beside the golden door!
        We will brag of our work at Pastor’s Conferences.

        1. I really should apologize to Emma Lazarus.
          I do feel it ranks right down there with Schaap poetry, though.

    2. Did he really say “the halt”?

      Has anyone EVER used that term in everyday conversation?

  3. I think I see a knee, ladies! Five demerits for all of YOU.

    Haha. I don’t miss wearing a skirt and a pair of stinkin’ hose. I live in the south now and enjoy wearing shorts and sandals. C’mon ladies …FREE YOURSELVES!

    I just remembered being told at MBBC (Maranatha in Wisconsin) that WE wrote the rule book. If we didn’t sin and do wrong, we’d have no rules. It’s all our fault and we were required to take a semester long class just on the rulebook. I didn’t have to take it b/c I transferred in from a “evil” secular college.

    1. It doesn’t matter how long your skirt is, if you got a pretty face and a nice body, men will still lust after you.
      There are a few cuties in the front row on the right. I wish I could save them from the cult.

      1. Agreed. I got SO tired of being told that if a man lusted after me, it was my fault. These men are the types that blame the woman when she’s raped.

  4. I have never been to Hammond and have little knowledge of FBC other than:
    — what Elmer Towns used to write about it,
    — a notorious whack job pastor here in our state who went to HAC,
    — this forum,
    — and FBC’s own self-promotion.

    One would be led to think, on the basis of this video, that this church has transformed Hammond into the Kingdom of God and that it’s well on its way to similarly transforming all of Greater Chicago. Question (for all of you who have first-hand knowledge of First Baptist and HAC): Is this church REALLY all that influential in the community and the area? How do most people in Hammond regard it — is it widely respected, or is it considered an outpost (maybe better said “fortress”) of ultraconservative fundamentalism? I’m really curious to know. I’m also wondering how all those “poor” whom the church is ostensibly reaching are being assimilated into the church once they’re reached.

    1. FBC Hammond has had a bus ministry since the 1960’s, and although they may have made a “dent” in Chicagoland, the area is still pretty much as it always has been. Most of the kids that are reached drop out as they get older. Only a few continue and are “assimilated” into the church as adults.

    2. @WearyPilgrim, the answer to your question about how the church is regarded is “it depends”. Some people really love the church and enjoy watching it on tv but don’t attend. Some attended via the bus ministry as a child and may or may not have fond memories of FBCH. Many of the older people in the area regard the church highly and aren’t aware of the nuttiness that goes down behind the scenes. Most of the under-40 crowd just doesn’t care or even really know that much about the church. And then there are those who still live in the area who were squashed by that ministry or ripped off by one of the church members who owns a business (or home healthcare agency, or was annoyed by a Tru-Green selling college kid, etc) who know about the nuttiness and can’t stand the church. There are also a few who picket Pastor’s School every year. It’s an interesting relationship that the church has with the community.
      As far as the poor being assimilated into the church, I have no clue. I was just a college kid, and we tended to not really be assimilated into the church, so I can’t really speak as to what happened to the poor that were won.

    3. In Hammond, Indiana, FBCH makes a splash. In Greater Chicagoland, most people have never heard of it (including the part of my family that lives in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs).

    4. Whenever we did Tuesday Night Soul Winning in the Hammond area EVERYONE seemed to know who we were, and there wasn’t a door that was opened to us that hadn’t already been visited many MANY times. (This made it very difficult to fill out our activity reports as to the question “Did you share the gospel with someone who had previously not heard it”) They are making an impact, but I wouldn’t say it is a positive one. More often people who saw us coming would shut off the lights and pretend they weren’t home.
      About Chicago, they all knew what the blue busses were doing when we went to Chicago. Or at least they seemed to. It kindof was like selling Amway. You had to try and get your foot in the door even though everyone who might have wanted it had already tried it and the rest knew why they didn’t want it. Once in the seventies, I was watching TV (I was married and off-campus, but still breaking the rules) and heard a comedian making a joke about the church people in the blue busses. I guess that probably means we had arrived in relevance, yes?

    5. I’d say far more people in the greater Chicago area know of Willow Creek Church or Harvest Bible Chapel than this group.

    6. Most ppl in the surrounding cities only know of it as “that huge church in Hammond”. It used to be tho that the city of Hammond itself was saturated with bus ministries because of the Bible Clubs and A Bus Ministry. A few years ago, that changed and there is only the A Bus Ministry which is worked by church lay people only. No college kids. And since church lay people have real lives, there aren’t that many ppl patroling the city. (can’t speak for the poorer areas tho)

  5. A few questions. If the college helped start all these churches in Chicago, how come this bus ministry is not transporting kids to “neighborhood” churches? What is the average age of the bus kids? When I first heard about the ministry back in the 70s, a lot of folks admitted to bribing kids with McDonald’s hamburgers and five dollar bills pasted under seats. Do any of these kids stay beyond the childhood years? Socio-economic status of families of bus kids? I heard years ago that the bus ministry had great results in poor neighborhoods where parents weren’t that concerned about where their kids were going; however, in middle-class areas, parents weren’t willing to let their kids go miles away to an unknown entity.

    I don’t want to appear too much of a cynic, but years ago when I attended Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis, those involved with bus routes told me that their kids basically came from homes where the parents were glad to get kids out of the house on a Sunday morning so they could sleep in late, and they were happy for a free place to take the kids where they would be fed. As the kids got older, they discovered more interesting things to do on a Sunday morning. Almost none of the kids lasted.

    I’m happy that Hyles has the money to buy 22 new busses. How many churches can afford to do that? How many landed in Chapter 11 because they invested in busses they couldn’t pay for?

    1. Most churches get their buses from state or municipal equipment sales or auctions where there isn’t much interest in used school buses and they can be had for dirt cheap.

      1. Most of the busses they had when I was there were FAR overused, rused out, in constant need of repair and extremely unsafe to be riding in. I remember watching the ground go by through the rust holes in the floor. Some of them had no working heaters, and often no working brakes. All the drivers knew how to “downshift” to make the bus stop and there was a long waiting list to get your bus into the bus barn where it could be diagnosed and (probably not) fixed. If my parents had known… Well, let me just say, the few things I did tell my parents about caused so much trouble I had to stop telling them stuff. (because they couldn’t possibly understand serving God in this way… 🙄 )

        1. My fundy church has a large campus – less than 20 years old – with lots of newer buildings…but a herd of crappy buses practically held together with bondo and prayer.

          They appear to have purchased a better bus for the college, but the bus route ones are super cheap with no air conditioning (they are located in a super hot desert) and used to frequently break down.

          Definitely speaks of financial priorities.

        2. In the mid 80s a FBH wanna-be-church had a bus kid killed when he fell through the rusty holes in the floor of the bus.

    2. The kids who truly imbibe the kool-aid and go to the City Baptist schools tend to stick around. However, that is a very small percentage of the overall bus ministry. The reason that these kids come across state lines to attend FBCH is because they are Hispanic. The Chicago churches are started for the blacks, and there is also a church for the Chinese. When I was there, we were starting a Korean ministry out of FBCH, but I don’t know what became of that after I left.

    3. Bob, when were you at Fourth? I graduated from the school there in the mid 90’s – it seems they have become far more moderate fundy in recent years.

      1. Mag,

        I went to Fourth from 1976 to around 1980 when I taught at Pillsbury. The new auditorium had just been built, but the neighborhood was really getting bad.

        One question though. What happened to the pipe organ? Did the church take it with them when they moved out to the suburbs, or was it left in the church?

        1. I graduated a couple years before their new building was done in Plymouth, but I’ve been back a few times. The pipe organ was moved to their new building, although it’s hidden behind fabric shields now – I assume in efforts to keep a more modern feel to the new auditorium.

          From what I’ve heard, they’ve lightened up quite a bit in the rulebook over the last several years – skirts are no longer required for women, for instance. Other fundies have “separated” from them as well, which is always a good indicator – they are not KJVO, and the president of their seminary has written several articles about the fallacy of KJV-onlyism.

      2. @Mag and Bob H–

        I went to FBCDS from ’75 to ’86. They were pretty hardcore fundy, and it follows me to this day. This site has helped tremendously in releasing a lot of the old baggage. I only wish I could say the same for others I know who are still trying to recover from the insanity.

  6. Uh-oh!!! Somebody is afraid somebody will not hang onto his every word…..note the excessive hand movements!!! And is the title of the man next to him his stunt double? “Just stand there and be glad to stand next to a MOG like myself. If it weren’t for me recognizing your bus kidnappings your ministry would be nothing but laughable……better make me look good!”

  7. According to Jack*ss Schaap, the only thing the good samaritan should’ve done was to haul the guy to a local baptist church get him a good screaming at, and then drop him off back in the ditch he found him in.

  8. Schaap forgot to mention the racist quota on the bus routes. We were told no more than 10% “blacks” on our East Chicago route back in the early 90’s. Maybe they have publicly repented of that and changed the policy since then but I doubt it…

    1. That’s also what we had on our routes at our big IFB church! We even had good black kids who got dropped from our route because the MOG had his quota and there were too many blacks on our route. 👿

    2. On the surface, this does sound bad. In my background, I’m thinking of a couple of churches I attended. One was a big IFB church that didn’t have any quota, but was having problems as the black bus kids became teens and started being indoctrinated that the while folk were just trying to enslave them. The church moved away from the neighborhood.

      The second church is in an affluent suburb, and parents are more responsible (or afraid), and generally will NOT let their kids ride a church bus.

      I don’t know if there is any lesson here, other than the quota may have been for other reasons than racism.

      1. There is no other reason. If someone is kept off of a bus or made to sit in the back of a bus because of the color of their skin it is always racism.

  9. If that wasn’t the most bragadocious “Look at how great I am” falderal I’ve ever seen! 😡 Do they ever stop bragging on themselves? Everyone standing there looking so disgusted! 👿

    Come and let us show you how to love people? You can’t love people without us showing you how? And so condescending! How wonderful he is to stoop to condescend with others he thinks are inferior to him! 🙄

    Lord how that man makes me sick! 👿

    1. And nothing like telling poor kids they are poor to their faces. That’s NOT how Jesus did it.

    2. “Come and let us show you how to love people”

      I noticed that.

      If the only reason I know that “yes, Jesus loves me,” is because “The Bible tells me so,” we are in a heap of trouble.

  10. I think everyone looks so miserable because in helping to fulfill Schaap’s vision of 20 new buses and then 20 more, they are all thinking “great, I just got another bus route I am responsible for”.

  11. There is nothing wrong with running a bus ministry in and of itself but when one compares the money and effort that go into keeping such ministry going against how many people are actually converted, it is not a very efficient way of sharing Christ. It is however, an excellent way to inflate preacher’s egos.

    1. I really think it depends on the attitude of those running the bus ministry. I have been a part of a FBC Hammond/HAC type ministry back in my kool-aid days. Looking back, it was a lot of ego feeding for the mog, a FBC Hammond product.

      The one I worked in our current church was a lot different. I didn’t just go out and bring any kid who would get on the bus. I also got to know most of the parents, some of whom eventually came to church and became active. Most of them were low income. We had families in our church who would help them with groceries on occasion, hire them for work, help them at Christmas. I don’t miss the pressure of the first “ministry”. I miss working in the second.

  12. Eeeecccchhhhh. Not a word about what being part of the bus ministry will do to help or teach the kids involved, either the managers or the kids on the route, only that they will be able to get bigger and buy more buses. All about growth, not about God. If you need Jack Schaap to teach you how to love others, you’re already in desperate trouble.

  13. Just looking in the title cap…my heart just went out to all those people lined up behind Schaap, and I thought, “Someone needs to go rescue those poor souls, show them the light and freedom of the Gospel!”

    Maybe someone should start a bus ministry where they pick up HAC students and take them to churches that preach grace…

    1. +1 for teaching HAC kids about God’s love and grace. It truly is a very performance-based environment out there.

  14. This video really brings back memories. There truly were a lot of bus kids that I got close to during my college days. They were wonderful people from interesting backgrounds. I still pray for several of my old bus families. I miss them. On the other hand, I don’t miss the constant pressure to spend all this time and money trying to grow the route instead of focusing on the kids that we had and loving and spending time and money on them.

  15. Once again the good Dr. never actually earned his PhD.

    “Dr. Francis, B.S., L.H.D.” Litterarum humanarum doctor is conferred as an honorary degree. Gee I wonder who did the conferring? 🙄

    And what professor puts B.S. after their name on a college website like it is something of note? The phony “Dr.” scam makes me crazy. If I were still in IFBism I would call a few people out on it. “Dr.” Comfort being among the first, as our church often invited him in for revivals, missions conferences, etc.

  16. When I was in fundie high school I knew a few students whose parents had already decided that their children were going to BJU. (I assume the HAC cult causes parents to do the same thing.) It was either BJU, the military, marriage or getting kicked out of the house
    One girl Aimee, was quiet saddened by the prospect. Aimee just wanted to attend the local community college and study music.
    Aimee dropped out of BJU after one semester and got involved in an abusive and short marriage.
    Looking back, it was sad that no one offered Aimee a safe place to stay after high school, where she could live while she went to a local college.
    I wonder if there are safe houses in Hammond, Greenville and other fundie college towns where students can escape the cult and integrate themselves into society.

    1. I think for most of those kids, the brainwashing is that if you DID defy your parents in that way, you would be out of God’s will. I do hope there are, but I don’t know how anyone would find one since anyone IN the movement wouldn’t DARE assist a young person to not follow God’s will, and association with anyone outside the movement has already been cut off or never initiated. 🙁

      1. Of course, if your parents wanted you to go to a state school, it’s God’s will that you defy your parents to attend HAC/BJU/TTU etc. But don’t defy the Bible college cultists!

  17. The gold and blue lettering of ‘Hyles-Anderson’ at the beginning of the video match the jacket colors of the two doctors. Strange some of the things you notice!

    1. Intentional. Those are the colors of the college. I am sure the jackets were specially made.

  18. The guy on the left at :22 looked at his watch then looked at the camera realizing he was just caught.

  19. The guy in the wheel chair at 2:00 was probably still trying to comprehend Shapp’s “maimed” comment.

  20. It will be hard to keep those busses rolling if the college shuts down which may be soon… well it may have been soon if some really rich egg farmer hadnt just given jack $10 million.. its sad how they will lay off staff that has been there for 30 plus years and then buy brand new/used busses. jack makes me want to vomit. Idk why he always feels like he has to make some video to promote himself and what he has done to get kids to come to college its stupid. btw he just built himself a $5OO,000.00 Office at hac cuz the kids there need him so much… and the bus kid school city baptist is only taking high school and will probably not be open next year… yeah he doesnt mention that in a video now does he

  21. The bus ministry is so dangerous there but we were expendable assets that were expended. Fuck you schaap.

      1. I almost died three or so times on these routes and they never gave a damn.
        Any time I go near project areas I click into a panic attack and nearly start puking. I lost so much weight because of the long hours and held onto a photo for dear life praying id live to see the next day.

        1. What he says is absolutely true. I can’t believe the danger we were put into in so many ways. There were so many ways we could have died, and I am so grateful that we didn’t. Freezing to death was just ONE of the ways we were put into danger each week. Just because you send young girls out by twos doesn’t really increase their security.
          I still deal with many various fears due to my time there as well.

        2. Hypothermia is wonderful and they don’t even care. I layered and still nearly had frostbite.

  22. I worked on a bus route in Chattanooga 35 years ago (after being hounded to death at TTU). The only thing I did that I don’t have any regrets over is one Saturday when I was supposed to be “knocking on doors”, I spent the whole time fixing a kid’s bike for him. In those days, Sexton was the “bus pope”.

    1. You probably accomplished more in that one little bike repair in terms of earning someone’s trust, love , and respect than in all your other bus ministry endeavours.

      That is a kindness that kid won’t likely forget. Ever.

  23. With impressive numbers and a fleet of buses at their disposal, wouldn’t it be awesome if they really did love people and offered a free public transit system?

    1. i noticed that as well – it’s a sad day when the bible is nothing more than a charm or a token.

  24. The background music makes me want to hurt something.
    And dude – having the black kid in a wheelchair wayyyyyyyyyy off to the side so the camera barely ever sees him and he looks (and probably feels) like an afterthought or inconvenience? Nice. 🙄

  25. I remember Wally Beebe (Mr. Bus Captain) singing:
    There’s room on the bus for you.
    There’s room on the bus for you.
    Though millions have come, there’s still room for one.
    Yes, there’s room on the bus for you.

  26. A couple other visual things noticed:

    1. Hispanics seem well intermingled into the crowd. Blacks, not so much. Certainly not front and centre, to be sure. Conclusion: Brown people=acceptable minority. Black people=not so much.

    2. Odd shirt/tie/jacket combination by Mr. Schaap. I’m guessing that a look much like Mr. Francis to our right is wearing is more mainstream within the IFB, but Mr. Schaap gets away with it because he’s the Big Cheese and the rules are different for the Big Men of God. Also, sociopaths are allowed to flout their own rules.

  27. I thought maybe that they were told to frown at the start, and then they were going to “get happy” further in the video.

    I guess not — maybe the frowns are due to the attitude “I’d rather be sleeping than making this dumb video.”

      1. 🙁 Sounds like a “divide and conquer” strategy to me. Physical contact with other people is one of the things that makes us feel less alone in the world.

  28. Reading up on IFB bus ministries as a whole since reading this post and watching that sorry video, I have a couple questions. Kinda snarky ones at that, too.

    1. How much does a bus ministry cost on a scale that Mr. Schaap talks about here? This is an honest question, I have no clue.

    2. Does the idea of bus ministry really make sense in terms of soul-winning/butts-in-seats? Would it not be a more sensible approach to have smaller-scale storefront ministries in the neighbourhoods that would be otherwise served by a bus ministry.

    3. In a similar vein, would it not be more cost-effective in terms of time, talent, and money to go to where the people are instead of making all these volunteers go out in buses?

    4. Am I wrong in thinking that my ideas for ministry fly in the face of the Big MoG’s idea of having all these people at his feet, and all their tithes in the church’s coffers instead?

    No wonder the other churches bus ministries that Mr. Schaap mentioned have declined or disappeared. Word does get around easier these days, and I suspect more people know what people lie him are really up to.

    If I was a kid getting packed off somewhere to some church I’d never heard of before, either me or my parents would be doing some research and asking some questions before letting me take one step onto that bus.

    1. Hi, Walt!

      I’m involved in a Bus Ministrah in Canada, and was in Bus Ministrah of The Temple Baptist Church of Powell, Tennessee, under the supervision of Clarence Sexton.

      Question 1.
      I can only answer for the Canadian side. We have four buses – one fifty-passenger rented, one fifty-passenger owned, two twenty-five passengers owned. It costs between four to five hundred dollars a week – that’s factoring in the weekly rental, and the decrepitness of the buses we own.

      2. The primary goal of bus ministry has always been inflated Sunday School attendance of the church – butts in seats, if you will.
      One of our buses goes half an hour into the hinterlands, into an area which used to have one of our satellite churches- a church which used to have its own Sunday School.

      3. Using typical fundy logic, we are proud of the expense of Bus Ministry. We see ourselves as Making a Difference in the Community. In some way, we are. About half on my route are people who simply need a ride to church. Which is about six.
      If you question the expense of the Bus Ministry, you’ll get some windy rhetoric, i.e. ‘don’t you care about SOULS? Don’t you want to Win the Lost?’

      4. No.

      5. Bus Ministry dies because it relies, like McDonalds, on heavy turnover. This means that a copious amount of the Bus Worker’s time is spent recruiting, Knocking On Doors, and Letterboxing.

      The target introductory age is between four and eleven – when silly games, candy, and songs sung to the tune of Marine jodies are Fun!

      IN the words of Clarence Sexton, ‘Once the young people become Sexually Active, we will have a hard time keeping them in church.’ Sex beats gimmickry every time.

      6. The target families of the Bus Ministry are low-income, live in subsidized housing, and have a single parent, either too harried or too hung over to care where their children go. I’ve had a few parents ask for further information than can be supplied on the doorstep; most are just glad to get their kids out of their hair for a couple of hours on Sunday.

      1. Thanks Greg. This is a more comprehensive an answer than I could have possibly expected.

        You wouldn’t be from Utopia as in near Heritage Baptist and the Pennells, by any chance?

        (I’ve met both father and son as a result of my work career. I didn’t get a great vibe from either gentleman. I’m not ex-IFB, btw, I was involved in another FundieCult.)

    2. I’ve never really understood the inflated bus ministries in fundy churches, and I understand them even less now. My current church has a bus ministry, but it really isn’t viewed as a primarily evangelistic ministry. We use a bunch of 16 passenger vans and one nicer bus, and the passengers are generally families and single adults (there might be some teens and children without their parents, but they would have to get special permission first).

      The drivers are church members who give their time, and they don’t feel the need to act as entertainers as well, which would probably be insulting to the passengers. Basically, it’s a ministry that provides a way for people to to get to church who would otherwise not have a way to get there. We don’t go door-knocking to fill the seats, and we certainly don’t treat the people who ride the buses like they are some kind of untouchable just because they didn’t arrive in their own vehicle.

  29. “Dr. John Francis, the DRIVING force behind our bus ministry…”

    Sorry. That cracked me up.

  30. I realize i’ve just written a humongous tome. more to follow, sorry.. 🙁

    I didn’t speak out at Crown College, even though what went on really bothered me.

    Maybe it was just me being overly racially sensitive, but it seemed like the whole ministry was directed toward funneling black folks through the basement of a predominantly white, upperclass, suburban church.

    There were good people there, a few, who truly tried to care for people as individuals.

    In the end, it’s about driving the machine – keeping up the attendance, making your church Larger and Bigger. The individual sinner really doesn’t matter.

    So few are actually reached- although there truly are a few children who fight the trend and actually become members of the church in later life.

    Some have asked whether the church would be better served by closing the Bus Ministry down.
    Here are their alternatives.
    a. Satellite Sunday schools
    (alliteration unintentional)

    In the early days of the Sunday school movement, this was how it was done- the christian worker would go out into his neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon, gather the unchurched children, and teach them the lesson he’d heard in church that morning.
    Pros – cost-effective. The worker does it at his own cost, requiring only his own front porch to work.

    Cons – lower megachurch attendance. The Pastor(tm) does not get to micromanage what is said.

    b. Start another church across town. Draw a line down the middle, allow the other guy to evangelize his side.

    Pros – gets more people out there getting the job done.

    Cons – lower attendance at the megachurch. the Pastor ™ does not get to micromanage the other Pastor(tm).

    Sorry, i don’t usually go on like this. You’ve touched a nerve, Dar-El.

  31. This video kind of depressed me. I was hoping that their bus ministry was shrinking, not growing. That place is such a poison.

  32. Besides all the other obvious things wrong with this, including how sad all the kids look, what’s going on with Schaap’s outfit? That’s way too many shades of tan/yellow and with a red tie? It just looks “off” somehow.

  33. I’ll be the oddball here. Despite my distaste for HAC and Schaap, this is a remarkably well produced video. The production is broadcast grade.

    1. Nah. IMO, it’s just ok.

      He should have followed the camera changes so he would have been looking into the camera all of the time.

      I thought it looked awkward for him to be looking into one spot, while the camera changed angles.

      1. Agreed, but that is a very popular and deliberate cinematic style right now. They do the same thing on a lot of reality/documentary type shows (Dirty Jobs comes to mind.).

    2. Pete M, of course the production is broadcast grade… I’ve seen the video equipment the “megachurches” have and it’s thousands and thousands of dollars of “tithe” to make these awful videos.

      1. The best equipment is useless without talented operators and editors. And, actually, the correct amount would be HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars.

  34. Wait wait wait wait. Ok I live on the far north side of Chicago, easily a 1.5 hour drive from Hammond. I see the blue buses sometimes. I always figured they were just sending their kids to do street evangelism. Do you mean to tell me they are actually taking folks from my neighborhood to this church? That’s insane! The gas money alone would fund a satellite church.

    1. Yep. Insane it is. Someone should write a book. Alot of us could talk for hours (or days) about that place. People wouldn’t believe us except there’s to many of us to ignore.

    2. I have asked before, as a semi-rhetorical question, why more churches don’t start satellite churches instead of expand buildings and campuses. The same type question you ask. The only thing I can come up with, is that if a new sister church is started, the local mog won’t be able to control things as the new assembly develops its own personality.

      Too many preachers seem to have misunderstood Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

      I have heard a preacher that the church pastor is responsible for your Christian growth. I can show you churches full of old, immature believers because of this. Most are proudly IFB.

  35. Believe it or not, before I started frequenting this site, I had never even heard of Bus Ministry. Yes, I did notice that there were always fleets of mini-school-bus-type vehicles in the parking lots outside fundy churches, and I did sometimes see buses labeled So-and-So Baptist Church tootling alongside me on the highway. I guess I just figured the buses were used to pick up church members who needed rides to church, or something. Never realized it went beyond that. Fascinating. Ya learn something new every day!

  36. I agree nobody but Jack looks happy to be there, but maybe it’s partly from squinting into the sun. I remember my parents lining us up for an outdoor picture, facing the sun for good lighting, and then taking too long preparing to actually snap the picture. My eyes were watering, and I was thinking, “Just take the damn picture, already!”

    I’d hate to even imagine standing there for the entire setup, the 2-1/2 minute video, plus however many takes.

  37. In the early 1970s many Baptist churches, including the one I attended, had bus ministries. I think they were trying to duplicate the “success” of the bus ministry at FBCH, or churches like it. I remember seeing FBCH’s busses, painted with “Home of the World’s Largest Sunday School.”Our church had one full-size school bus. They dropped the bus ministry some time in the early 1980s, largely because the price of gas was going up, while the number of kids on the bus was going down. Our church did keep the bus; they just used it to transport kids to the Christian school and transport the youth group, AWANA clubs, etc., on various activities.

    Maybe someone here can confirm or deny this, but I heard secondhand that, at one time, FBCH was sending sunday school busses as far as the Wisconsin state line. I do not know whether they crossed the state line.

  38. The church I now attend in Columbus,Ohio gives $1 for every person that walks through the door to a local shelter for kids that have been used in sex trafficking. They don’t require attendence or anything else. They just support the shelter. They give out thousands of coats in the winter, and food to the hungry year round. I have a hunch that the people that are helped are much more likely to be drawn in and stay, then simply busing them in and telling them how poor they are. Feels good to know where the money is going, and that there isn’t a huge deal made about it publicly. It’s Rock City if anyone wants to check it out.

  39. I am pretty sure I would be unhappy up there, but to be fair they all are frowning, because the sun is in their eyes.

    1. The sun being in your eyes does not make the corners of your mouth turn down.

      I don’t buy that for a second.

  40. Yeah, knowing they’re on camera and they still all look miserable. Makes me wonder what they look like when the camera is off. Probably looks like a whiskey commercial.

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