The geographically sprawling country of Canada provides unique opportunities for spirited individuals to draw attention to a cause. In recent years, wheelchairs, bicycles and running shoes have crossed mountains, prairies and plains to raise awareness of and funds for programmes like cancer research, childhood diabetes and landmine eradication.
In May 2008, a team of young men from various assemblies in North America set out to cross Canada with another objective on their minds. They were part of the inaugural season of Cross Canada Cruisers (C3), an evangelistic field-training ministry involving 1950’s classic cars. The classic cars are used as a modern-day parable illustrating the ‘Ruined, Rescued, and Restored’ theme of the gospel message. The cars are an immediate attraction, as the sight of them induces warm memories for many relating to a bygone era. For those too young to remember, they are often drawn by the sheer intrigue of the young men and their unusual mode of transportation. In either case, with relative ease, conversations are initiated and transition can eventually be made from discussing the ‘restoration of cars’ to the ‘restoration of lives’.
Each season begins in May with two weeks of orientation where team members are provided with extensive teaching by various gifted and experienced brothers. The book of Romans, along with salvation doctrines, themes and terminology occupy their first days of study. Different evangelistic tools and techniques are introduced and practised, including paint boards, rope tricks, presentation of testimonies, short gospel messages, etc. Of course, a basic introduction to classic cars and their maintenance is also provided! Throughout the road trip, various brothers will visit the team on location to teach morning classes, as well as participate in the afternoon, evening and weekend gospel efforts of the local assembly in the area being visited.
Week by week, the team travels to a different hosting assembly where they will partner with local saints in the work of the gospel. The hope of team organizers is that a team visit will provide an occasion for assemblies to think and pray strategically regarding their own evangelistic efforts. For this reason, the team does not come with a pre-packaged programme, but provides whatever advance assistance is necessary to organize a week of evangelism tailor-made for the aspirations and needs of the assembly. The hope, of course, is that the local believers will work together with the team in the gospel. Time spent together in this manner usually proves to be edifying and encouraging. Practically speaking, the assembly will then be well prepared to provide follow-up visits and nurturing for those who have expressed interest or have made a profession of faith.
Some assemblies prefer to take full advantage of the visiting cars, and register at local car shows, parades and events where they can be displayed and literature distributed. Shopping mall parking lots, public parking venues, farmer’s markets and summer festivals provide excellent opportunities for literature tables to be set up along with prominent signs displaying the ‘Ruined, Rescued, and Restored’ theme. Other assemblies use the cars less, and choose to focus on door-to-door efforts around their halls and chapel buildings, children’s clubs in parks, campus ministry, or open-air preaching in city centres.
Literature plays an important role in the C3 ministry. Early in the process, organizers were convinced that fresh, thoroughly biblical material could and should be made available to assemblies wishing to be involved in ‘seed-sowing’ activities. A brother from Winnipeg (Glenn Hayes) was eager to contribute his artistic abilities to the cause, and produced the beautiful painting entitled ‘New Life for Old’ featuring the restored ‘55 Oldsmobile. On the back is a short explanation of how this restored car serves as a modern-day parable illustrating the truths of the gospel, in particular, 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 21. Gospel messages by Jabe Nicholson and William MacDonald have also been reproduced onto CD’s. Such message titles include ‘Highway to Heaven – Fiction or Fact?’, ‘Hope in the Storms of Life’, and ‘Uniqueness of Christianity’. Copies of these materials can be obtained via the website www.goodnewsgranary.org. Hundreds of thousands of these CD messages have been distributed throughout North America in public venues or in door-to-door efforts.
We invite you to pray with us, that our Lord would continue to guide and bless His work. Our desire is that our Lord would be magnified as young men are equipped and trained to ‘proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvellous light’, 2 Pet. 2.9.
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