There is some new good news for California bus ministries concerning the ever-changing legislation from the California Air Resources Board (ARB). It appears that the new, stringent regulations for retrofitting older trucks and buses that were being phased in over the next few years are going to provide an exemption for some ministry buses. ARB will not vote on the new proposal until after the January 1, 2014, deadline, but California churches will still need to act BEFORE JANUARY 31, 2014, to take advantage of the exemption.
The anticipated change in regulation will allow vehicles that have an annual total of less than 5,000 miles to be exempt from the emissions requirements. Many buses used by churches and nonprofits should qualify for this exemption. The ministry will need to pledge to comply with the revised regulations by following these steps.
1. The ministry must report its fleet of vehicles here— https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/ssltrucrstb/trucrs_reporting/reporting.php. This report must be made before January 31, 2014, in order to receive the low-use exemption.
a. A ministry may find an explanation of the compliance deadlines for various model years at pages 15-16 of the document at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/documents/TBFinalReg.pdf.
b. The initial report asks for the fleet’s CA number. If a ministry has not yet obtained a CA number for its fleet, it may apply for one by completing form CHP 362, which can be found at http://www.chp.ca.gov/publications/index.html, under the “Commercial Vehicles” drop-down box.
2. After the initial report, the ministry will be required to annually report the January 1 odometer reading before January 31 of the same year. This reporting is made through the website at: https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/ssltrucrstb/trucrs_reporting/reporting.php.
Keeping each ministry bus under the 5,000 mile annual limit will save the cost of having to replace vehicles with a newer fleet or retrofitting the emissions filter, which could cost thousands of dollars.
Reaching the Young
Most studies show that less than 5% of Americans become believers after the age of thirty. Even if that number stretched to 10 or 15%, the need to reach the young people in our society is evident.
Many churches are now working hard to reach those in their community, especially the youth. This is a fertile area for church growth. Mother’s day out programs, youth-focused evening activities, sports programs, vacation Bible school, and summer camps are some of those activities that are being effectively used to influence the youth for Christ. These programs often naturally create opportunities to interact with parents and grandparents too.
It seems however, that every successful ministry is met at one time or another with legal challenges. Darkness tries to destroy light. We at CLA receive many calls about these ministries: “How can we transport children?” “How do we screen out volunteers?” and many others.
If your church is considering adding an outreach ministry, call us before you get started. It is easier to fight legal challenges by preparing beforehand than after the fact. We can help you make wise choices when getting started so that you will be well prepared and be ready to present God’s truth with boldness, knowing you are ready to face “all the fiery darts of the wicked.” If your ministry is already running and you face that challenge, call us. We are prepared to help.
We are all commissioned to spread the Gospel. The reward of seeing the children follow after Him is worth the fight; it will bring rejoicing in heaven. Do not let the fear of “the roaring lion” stop you or even slow you down. CLA is here to help you with free legal counsel.
Amazing Grace, one of the more famous Norman Rockwell paintings and once the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, sold recently for $46,000,000. A look at the painting shows a lady with her little boy pausing to bow her head and pray in the middle of a bustling restaurant. Several young men are staring at the two as they give thanks for God’s provision. Years ago, such a scene was commonplace in our society, almost expected. How often do we see that now? How often do Christians pause to pray in public? How about you?
Our country has changed, yet recent polls still show that the majority (78%) of the population of this country claims some form of Christianity. The Scriptures command us to pray, always. We should see more public displays of praying, not less.
Sometimes we fail to pray because we forget. Maybe we are in a hurry. The tyranny of the urgent does seem to control our society far too often. Maybe we don’t pray because we fear embarrassment. I pray that is not the reason.
In today’s society occasionally individuals are threatened by other people, maybe your boss or co-worker, sometimes even those enforcing what they believe is the law. The First Amendment allows us “the free exercise” of religion. This includes the right to pray. It is a privilege we must take advantage of. It is our honor to fulfill our calling of helping you if you have a question about your right to pray. Contact us if you have a question.