-by Kate Dugger-
After hours of contemplation I decided that Jesus would drive a station wagon. That’s no joke, that’s simple logic. He was a simple man who wanted very little for himself and loved others. He had a servant’s heart. In any other context we would be describing a soccer dad. Reflecting on the time I spent at the First Baptist Church car show in Martin lead me to wonder what car Jesus would have driven if he had a license.
May 21, 2016 marked the fourth year the church has hosted a car show. I was invited out to the show by Cody Barner, the man behind the wheel, so to speak. He has been in charge of organizing the event every year since it began in 2012.
As I walked through the show lot, classic rock of the 1950’s and 1960’s played, music synonymous with “Mel’s Diner” in “American Graffiti,” greasers, the Vietnam War, and the civil rights movement. Some cars came from the 1930s, and the latest models were from this year. First Baptist had 44 entries in total, great turnout with three other car shows being held that day.
What brought this motley crew of muscle cars, low riders and classics together? The First Baptist youth organization. Funds from this car show benefit their missions programs. In the late-May heat, they peddled sodas, hotdogs, popsicles, and other tasty treats. The youth range in age from sixth through twelfth grade.
“If they’re gonna get the money from the show, they are going to earn it.” Barner said. “They work really hard when they come out here. They know it’s for a good cause.”
Taustin Wise, 15, who thinks it’s great being able to see all the cars in one spot, is not a gearhead. He helps with the car show because of the youth missions to Memphis. “They let us bond together through Christ,” he said. Backyard Bible Study, according to Wise, is very rewarding. It allows the youth to converse and find fellowship among the local children, some of whom have nowhere else to learn about Jesus. He said, “It’s a joy and my passion being able to help with those kids.” Wise plans to join the Marine Corps after graduation and later becoming a policeman.
When asked what he would drive if he could have any car or truck ever made, his answer was simple. “A Ford I guess. It’s what I have now, and its gets me where I need to go.”
I met Rebekah, Brianna, and Elizabeth, who were taking pictures with a late 1990s model Mustang. Rebekah, 14, said one the most rewarding things she has done on a mission trip was helping build a roof for a family in need. “Everyone should do a mission trip. It’s life changing. And when you get home you appreciate what you have more.” And yes, she is into cars. She works on them with her dad and is more apt than her brother.
“Kids need Jesus, that’s why the mission trips are important. And it feels really good to help people who don’t have as much as I do,” Elizabeth stated. Making crafts and music with the children she visited were her favorite parts of the Memphis mission trips. And if she could ask Santa for any automobile, classic or current, it would be a new Mustang. If he’s listening, I’d like one too.
The cars were beautiful, and I wanted several for myself. There was no station wagon on display, though. More’s the pity for that. But the motivating force of the day, clearly, was the spirit of Jesus—who I’m pretty sure drove a station wagon.