Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

Railroad Chapels and Modern Methods

In my early years, I used to spend Sunday afternoons with my Grandfather at the Katy Depot in Waco, Texas.  In those days, there would be twelve to fifteen passenger trains passing through on a Sunday afternoon and my Grandfather and I would watch every one of them.  There was an interesting thing that I had forgotten until I read about it a few days ago – “Railroad Chapels.”  The first railroad chapel was built in 1890 by the Episcopal Church and was quickly followed by similar initiatives from different denominations. Soon there were railroad chapels traveling across America on trains to provide church services to rural believers. The popularity of railroad chapels started to fade after World War II, and by the 1970s, when automobiles overtook trains as the mode of transportation in America, they were dismissed. But it tells me that the people of God have always done whatever was needed to share their faith with all people – in this case, rural citizens without access to a church.  I’m sure people back then thought these believers were “fanatics” just as some do today with our modern methods of outreach.  But we are only following the instructions of our Lord who said to His disciples, then and now, that as we go about, we are to “make disciples of all the nations, (literally all the ethnic groups).”

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