Let’s hear it for the vans.

“These are nice vans,” my adult volunteer said to me from the passenger seat.

“I know. They are so much better that the ones I’ve had to drive in the past. It’s like God is rewarding me for all those years of driving crappy church vans that didn’t work or shouldn’t have even been on the road, let alone with children and teenagers in them. This is how I know God is paying attention. God totally upgraded me. Driving these nice vans is my reward for all those years of driving crapy ones in the name of Jesus.”

I’ve driven a lot of 15 (now 12) passenger vans in my life as a youth worker. There was the one with the rusted out roof. Then there was another that the windshield wipers didn’t work so when the screen was covered with so many bug guts I had to get out and take my shirt off and wipe it down so I could see in the middle of Glacier National Park. Then there was the one where the windows didn’t roll up so they just stayed down and you got rained on and had to sit in the cold during winter with a SUPER heavy coat on to drive where the strings were pulled so tight on your hood you actually couldn’t see but tried anyways. Then there was the one where the back door would often fall off if you hit a bump or a small dent in the road. Then there was the one where the seats weren’t actually attached so there was a lot of sliding. And don’t forget that in most of them, the seat belts didn’t work properly if they even had them. And this was all before they even changed the insurance rules to say you could only drive 12-passenger vans, because clearly 12 is way safer than 15…

Each of these was owned by a church or church camp and somehow got insured. Probably through lies. Or denial.

But this time, God finally said, good and faithful servant, you’ve served well and this is your reward. 

I don’t think it actually works like that. But that’s how I feel.

So, here’s to all the youth workers and all the buses and vans we drive in the name of Jesus as we also pray that Jesus take the wheel because it’s not actually working at the moment.

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