112: Taking God’s Word to Every Truck Driver Out There

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by John Knoll and Gary Rayburn from Channel 21 Ministries to tell the story of what Lonesome Road Ministries is, how that started, and where it’s going in the future.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • All about Channel 21 Ministries (5:00)
  • Resources available for truckers (13:49)
  • Partnering with people and companies (21:24)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com


Gary Rayburn  0:12  

It’s hard to minister to drivers because one driver calls and he’s all excited and wants to do all kinds of things. The next driver is crying because his family’s falling apart. And so you have to be able to change gears, I guess it is. But God has given me the strength and ability to do that. That’s one of the things I prayed when I asked God to use me. I asked for strength, wisdom, courage, and knowledge, and God has delivered me with so much to keep me doing what He has called me to do.

Jeremy Kellett  0:46  

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family.

This Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting here at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is episode 112. So on today’s episode, we’re going to play what we did at the Mid America truck show I sit down with lonesome road ministries, Mr. Gary Rayburn and John Knoll, two great people that tell the story of what Lonesome Road Ministries is, how that started, and where it’s going in the future. Just a great mission on how they’re trying to spread God’s word, taking it to the truck driver out there, and I think you’re gonna enjoy it. I sure enjoyed doing it. And this was at the Mid America Truck Show back at the end of March. Great story. Be sure and check it out here also, thanks for watching Oakley podcasts. We appreciate it. We try to put out good info for you guys. Be sure to comment, like, and subscribe. Check us out on YouTube videos. We will add this one out there too of a first before we get to long-term road ministries. Let’s hear from our sponsor, Arrow Truck Sales.

Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri is currently offering $1,000 off your first month’s payment when you finance with transport funding, or $1,000 off the truck price if you bring your own financing. They’re also discounting the cost of an extended warranty by $500. Arrow Truck Sales has been a longtime partner with Oakley Trucking and that’s because they specialize in first-time truck buyers, they don’t do any leases, they have the best-used trucks money can buy (because used trucks is all they do, they don’t sell any new trucks), and the biggest reason that Arrow and Oakley are partners is service after the sale. It is very important to us at Oakley that when we refer you to a company, that they are a good company with good people, they do what they say, and they understand our requirements. So give Keith a call at 573-216-6047 for a good used truck and tell him you heard about it on the Oakley podcast.

So I want to take a minute and talk about LubeZone. LubeZone has been a sponsor the Oakley podcast for a long time. They have good people over there. Jeff and Megan do a great job and they provide good discounts for Oakley owner-operators, but it’s also just a great place to go. They’ve got 11 locations in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Georgia. They’re primarily along major highway exits, which allows easy access. They can do a lot of stuff there. They got full-service oil changes like tractor and trailer grease, air filters, all analysis tire checks, DOT inspections, these guys can do it all and we love doing business with them.

One of our owner-operators went to LubeZone, he said, “Hey, I’m going in here and I going to find out how their service is, if they’re fast and if I get a discount.” I said, “Alright, you let me know when you get out of there.” So he called me back and he said, “I just want you to know that’s a great place to go. It’s clean. It’s nice. The service was great.” He got the full-fledged filters, oil change, the whole nine yards service and he also got his $40 discount. You got to tell them you heard it on the Oakley podcast, that you are with Oakley Trucking, and they will give you a discount.

Just great service from those guys. We appreciate them being a sponsor of the Oakley podcast. If you’re in one of those areas, you go to LubeZone.com and you see where their locations are, and if you’re close by there, go try them out and let me know how your service was because we’ll give the feedback back to LubeZone. And check out the rewards program. That’s really good, too. Just be sure to check them out and let them know you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

We’re here at the Mid America Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky. I got Mr. John Knoll with us and Gary Rayburn. Now did you guys— Y’all are with Channel 21 Ministries, what you were just talking about, did you guys create this?

Gary Rayburn  5:00  

No, it was created by Darrell Spicer of and he lives down in Smyrna, Tennessee, he founded Channel 21. In 2012. Darrell called me up, I was doing Littleton road ministry during the CD ministry, and Darrell called me up, he listened to my testimony. And he said, Man, when I listened to testimony, God just got all over me. And, and, and, and he was calling me to do a ministry. And what he wanted me to do was Channel 21 Ministries, and he wanted me to take people that are saved in trucking companies and turn them into road chaplains and put them out there amongst all the drivers on the road. And in other words, we’re taking the church to the people, right where they’re at.

Jeremy Kellett  5:47  

What a great plan to be able to do that and even see that him see that of having to get it out there because I guess he felt there’s a need for that.

John Knoll  5:56  

Definitely. He was a dispatcher and you had flatbed errs underneath him a lot of drivers, and some of his drivers came to know Jesus through the CD ministry, and they wanted to go to that next level and share the gospel with others. So he was out of his heart and his boss helped him to get it started and he ran with it for right up until about a year and a half ago, he turned it over to Gary to Lonesome Road. Gary partnered with him and I partnered with him I was one of his first chaplains out there on the highway. I think there are a dozen of us that started with him the first year.

Jeremy Kellett  6:30  

Well the reality of it is John and Gary is when these guys are out on the road, and a lot of times their own road over the weekends and on Sunday, they don’t have that opportunity to be in the church house, which I’m not saying you have to be but it sure does help to be around that family, that church family and have that opportunity to go.

John Knoll  6:49  

Yes, it does.

Gary Rayburn  6:50  

And that’s what Darrell was greeting of family of chaplains that can bring others into the family where they would have that relationship not only with Jesus Christ, but they’d have a relationship with others. Because the Bible says iron sharpens iron, we need each other, we need that fellowship. And being on the road, it’s hard to get fellowship out there on the road. So we would bring in that fellowship to the drivers that are saved and wanting to serve God. And we’re just giving them a way to serve the Lord and given them tools to do that through the Bibles that John provides in the CDs that are provided. And Darrell was given structure to the whole forebrain through his program that he was doing.

Jeremy Kellett  7:35  

So do y’all have like a central location?

John Knoll  7:39  

Well, we gather at Keynes, Illinois. Now Gary’s put a 3 Fold Cord ministry conference on for I don’t know how many years. Gary, tell him. Well, that’s how I came to know Gary is through the truck show and through the ministry conference, we’re all of us ministries get together once a year in Illinois Gary’s place and encourage each other to go do it some more.

Gary Rayburn  8:04  

Yeah, the 3 Fold Cord conference is what we call it. It was founded in 2013. I partnered with Darrell in 2012, to do the channel 21 program. And then after that, we decided we needed to work together. And we brought another guy in faith on the move ministry. And we partnered with that him. He was doing a CD ministry and we decided to do a conference. And we called it a three-fold cord conference. Because when you tie ministries together each time you tie somebody in there get stronger, right, and a three-fold cord is not easily broken. And that’s what we was doing. We was partnering with a lot of different ministries, and the first conference we done was in 2013. And we had that’s where we met. We had met John through the channel 21 program. And 2013 I believe is 2012. The first time we came to the match as a team partnering together and we’ve just started, it just keeps growing and growing. We are based out of Keynes, Illinois, which is a small town in southern Illinois by Mount Vernon, Illinois. Okay, yeah, that’s where we’re located. And that’s where our conference is. And we do have a conference this year is June 24, 25th, and 26th. And everyone is invited.

Jeremy Kellett  9:25  

Oh, nice. That’s gonna be in Keynes?

Gary Rayburn  9:27  

Keynes, Illinois. Yep.

Jeremy Kellett  9:28  

That’ll be great. Now, is that gonna have all your chaplains coming into one location? How many of those do you have?

Gary Rayburn  9:35  

We probably got 50 to 60 active chaplains right now we’re kind of like a church we might have 100 on the church row. But yeah, I got some of them are not as active as others 50 that are really active doing what that God has called them to do out there on the road. And they’re all truck drivers are the majority of more, so we’re may have 15 to 20 show up in our conference.

Jeremy Kellett  10:01  

That’s pretty good, though. So they give you feedback every week or two?

John Knoll  10:06  

We have a meeting Monday night on a conference call with drivers all over the country and we get testimonies of what’s going on and some encouragement and some training and just fellowship and we pray together. We have prayer lists, start and end with prayer and it’s just a chance to get together from our trucks, going down the highway or parked, through the conference lines. So we do that every Monday night for the chaplains.

Jeremy Kellett  10:31  

Do y’all have a public/open to whoever wants to listen? Say Monday night you got it for the chaplains and it just hit me. I thought, if you had something like that because I got a driver, I’ll tell you this real quick. I have one of our owner operators at Oakley trucking. He was doing a prayer every Monday night, okay, he would do it. And he had through Facebook of God. So Facebook Live, he would have a bunch of people come in, and he would, that he would do a prayer Monday night, and I’m assuming he’s still doing that it would talk to him a little while. But this made me think if y’all have something like that.

John Knoll  11:06  

We open it up by invitation and because it’s a conference call, we have to mute our phones when the speaker’s speaking, but we have people come in all the time and they just listen in and then at the end if we have a speaker or whatever, they can open up their phone and carry out a—

Jeremy Kellett  11:24  

What’s some of the feedback you get Gary from this? What’s some of the things that stand out to you?

Gary Rayburn  11:30  

Well, I’ll tell you, I get calls from drivers every week, basically, about every day. And the calls ranged from drivers calling me in tears and giving their heart to the Lord. And or just different kinds of calls, I get all kinds of calls from drivers. But the feedback is like a roller coaster, some of them are up or down. And so it’s hard to minister to drivers because one driver calls and he’s all excited and want to do all causes like the next driver is crying because his family is falling apart. And so you have to be able to change gears, I guess it is and real quick. But God has given me the strength and ability to do that does all the things I’ve worried when I asked God to use me. I asked for strength, wisdom, courage and knowledge. And God has delivered me with so much to keep me doing what He has called me to do. And that’s how I’m able to do that. It’s only through the strength of God and may lead I’m able to minister to drivers. But I met a strategy so many drivers that we’ve had guys get saved, listening to our CDs out on the road. And they went through seminary and now they’re pastoring a church. So Oh, really? Yeah. So that’s a great testimonial. Yeah, that’s some of the things that we’ve experienced over the years, the one that I’m talking about is Richie Turnbow. And he’s still one of our chaplains. And he speaks on our conference line on Monday nights about once a month so that God is really using this ministry to reach drivers out there right where they’re at in their cab.

Jeremy Kellett  13:10  

I know you see a need for that, but isn’t that one of the biggest needs? I mean, truck drivers out there. I mean, we talk about going everywhere out of the country and doing missionaries and all this stuff that people do but man I mean, the truck driver, there’s what? Three and a half million, John?

John Knoll  13:29  

Yep. And their needs are right here. Their field is rather wide right here. We’ve seen it here at MATS for over the years, all the ministries that get together and pray over the drivers and try to equip him with some help with some truth with some fellowship and encouragement. The chapels are out there, the chaplains, the call-in lines, and then now the podcast, different things. Gary’s working on podcast, the Power of God trucking ministry is working on a radio program. We’re just trying to go to that next level. Gary started out with cassettes and that’s what helped him grow on the road and I started out CDs helped me grow on the road.

Jeremy Kellett  14:13  

Yeah, you were given me these— Well, one, you gave me, John, this Bible, free trucker’s Bible. Is that something— I guess you guys give out here at the show and everywhere? How do you distribute that?

John Knoll  14:26  

We distribute these through trucking companies, individual chaplains carry them in their trucks. We have a few truckstops that we have Bible racks around the country that people fill. This is the King James Plus version that basically because of Louisville people wanting the KJV Bible, and we had NASB or modern translation Bibles for years down here and we still print 50,000 of those each year in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but a lot of people want KJV so we came up with a larger print New Testament but trucker testimony He’s trucker commentaries on some of the things to truckers struggle with. And it has ministry links on the back of it for truckers to find healthier out on the road. And so it’s a tool. Everybody has different tools. That’s a Bible study that was put for each chapter, just to study question. You can read one right now and see if we know the answer.

Jeremy Kellett  15:25  

All right. Let’s do it. Let’s see. Wait, man, I gotta put on my glasses.

John Knoll  15:29  

I tried to make it large. The Bible is actually larger than the—

Jeremy Kellett  15:34  

It’s just hit me here the last couple of years. So let’s see. How about… Oh, that one’s a little controversial.

John Knoll  15:43  

Go with an easy one.

Jeremy Kellett  15:44  

I’m trying. Mark 10:32-52. Who requested special places for themselves in Jesus’s kingdom?

John Knoll  15:53  

Two brothers, the two brothers amongst the disciples.

Gary Rayburn  15:57  

Two disciples. Yeah, that’s a tough one.

Jeremy Kellett  15:59  

That’s a good one, though. Okay, so let’s get you one here, John. What did the people shout as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem?

John Knoll  16:07  

“Hosanna! Hosanna!”

Jeremy Kellett  16:12  

I like the questions. This makes you go back and look it up and do it. It’s a great Bible study, great Bible to give out to people, and that’s great that you guys are doing that. You might not want to answer this, but how do you come up with the money to do all this? Is it a donations?

John Knoll  16:32  

It is. God has provided amazingly. I’m from West Michigan, and in West Michigan we have a lot of Christians that hit a lot of churches, but trucking companies have been actually are one of our bigger supporters, Oakley, which if you hear us, but now we’ve had individuals, friends, family, but a lot of churches, local churches have helped us and we’re just getting started with the king Jay King James, plus one. I printed 10,002 years ago when COVID hit another 10,000 last year, and then we just put a 20,000 this year, so 40,000 Bibles in two and a half years, and God’s provided my friends and family have chipped in.

Jeremy Kellett  17:12  

Gary, how about the CDs you gave me? The Lonesome Road Ministries and The Road is My Life. Tell me about them.

Gary Rayburn  17:21  

That first one is just a little short introduction to the ministry. And it’s got a couple of testimonies on there from drivers that’s been saved, listening to our CDs out there. And the other one the road is my life is our first radio program that men Daryl foster done together. And it’s we’re just sharing our testimony shared or hard. It’s in our program. And we do call it Church on the road, we take the church to the people right where they’re at. And that’s the direction that God has brought me I started out with making cassette tapes and art, October 2000, when I began my first ministry, and I was making about 25 cassette tapes a week, out, and 100 a month. And now I was still over the road truck driver then and I take it with me on the road. And I assume out to people that own the road. And from there, I started growing and just kept growing. God kept blessing me and bringing people to me that wanted to support my ministry and helped me and I went to church and started a CD ministry there. And it grew up to about 6000 a month. Then I went and went to work for an oilfield company and became the chaplain for the oilfield company and the oilfield company got behind my ministry. And we started printing CDs, and we got up to about 15 to 20,000 every month doing those. And then when I retired from the oilfield company, I went back to my original old son world ministry and moved the ministry back to my hometown. And now we’ve got a church there and a sanctuary God gave me a church. Really, that’s good. He gave me a church. It was an abandoned church had been empty for five years, and I ended up buying that church. And I thought I was going to have to borrow money for it. But God paid for it all the brought in all the donations that I needed to not only pay for the church but to completely remodeled it. And now we have our own home there in teens, Illinois. And to this day, we’ve given away over two and a half million free CDs and cassette tapes. So God is raising us up to a new level now and the lot of the trucks don’t have CD players. So we are and we were under several radio stations, but now God is bringing us to start our own radio station.

Jeremy Kellett  19:55  

So y’all are on some radio stations. Like a weekly…?

Gary Rayburn  19:58  

Yeah, we’re on every week on Renegade Radio and we’re on every week on jersey shore.com radio. We’re on a couple of radio stations down in Baton Rouge and Sound Radio and we’re also on Heflin Alabama, 91.7 FM radio. We’re on a radio station out in Ohio. WJ… I can’t remember the call letters.

Jeremy Kellett  20:25  

That’s at different times, I guess.

Gary Rayburn  20:27  

Yeah, there are all different times. We’re on Cross Country USA Radio. We’re on the Christian Voice radio.

Jeremy Kellett  20:34  

And you’re fixing to start your own podcast?

Gary Rayburn  20:36  

Yeah, we’re already doing podcasts on our websites. So now we’re getting ready to start our own internet radio station. NATS Yeah. So that’s the direction that I feel like God is moving us to because well, as the trucks don’t have CD players in now. So we they can download our app and just listen to our programs 24 hours a day.

Jeremy Kellett  20:58  

Which is one of the reasons the Oakley podcast came about back in the day. We’re over 100 episodes now and do one every week. It’s just been a great tool to communicate with our operators and just drivers in general have a lot of people listen to it has been a great tool and good. Good as for you guys, too. And hopefully this would be a good message to get out to everybody.

Gary Rayburn  21:22  

Well, yeah, we want to partner with as many people as we can. We want to partner with trucking companies. We’d love to partner with Oakley maybe we could put the podcast on our radio station. You put one of our programs on your radio that’s working together you got to do you got to share three phone cord is not easily broken. If we tie ourselves together, we get stronger. Every time we tie another ministry into the threefold cord, it just gets stronger.

Jeremy Kellett  21:52  

Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Gary Rayburn  21:54  

There you go.

John Knoll  21:54  

It’s important. Gary and Darrell have been my mentors and to see the growth of the ministries. If we could do so much more together. And the tools of the Bible’s truckers friends network is another ministry that actually started their booth out here for us. They produce NASB Bible to the tune of 50,000 a year for the truckers and traveling public all distributed freely by truckers and used to be trucker chapels out here.

If we put this out, what if somebody wants to get in touch with you guys? What’s the best way to do it?

Well, both me and Gary give our phone numbers out. My phone number is in the Bible here. I’m at Good News Distribution and my phone number is 616-262-6081. I have a Bluetooth headset and I’m a driver during the week but I take calls all the time as Gary takes calls all the time. You his phone ringing off the hook. It rang twice on the way over here. But we’re not afraid to give our phone numbers out on our websites.

Jeremy Kellett  23:04  

And if they want to get a Bible from you, just call your number.

John Knoll  23:07  

Yes, give me a call. We have them at different trucking companies, different chapels around the country.

Jeremy Kellett  23:13  

You have a list of those trucking companies on your website?

John Knoll  23:15  

Some of them are on our website. They don’t have a really up-to-date one. I need to improve that. That’s been outdated a little bit.

Jeremy Kellett  23:24  

Gary, you got anything else to add?

Gary Rayburn  23:25  

Yeah, you can call me at 618-383-2107 or log on to lonesomeroad.org and you can check out our website and listen to some of our podcasts on there. Go to the “Ways To Listen” page and we have all kinds of different podcasts. We have a podcast page and we got our archive of our radio programs. And we’ve got our archives of our Dave Nemo program that we do. We’re on Sirius XM, Channel 146, Sunday mornings at 6am. And we’re on the Tim ready Show Monday through Friday at 4am. So you got to get up early for that one. Yeah, but we are proud to work with many, many people and we’d be proud to work with you guys here at Oakley.

Jeremy Kellett  24:13  

You bet. It was good. I actually got on your website and I was telling you guys earlier that I stumbled across that testimony of that one gentleman, Tony Marketo. I encourage people to go listen to that testimony that gets your attention real quick, but it’s just good to see good people like you guys putting out this information and spreading the word and trying to get out to everybody in a different way than normal. It’s not like everybody can get up every Sunday morning go to the church house.

John Knoll  24:42  

Especially drivers. This is church on the road or church out of the box or church on the highway.

Jeremy Kellett  24:48  

And that’s all you got to have. What is it? A gathering of two or three people and that’s a church.

Gary Rayburn  24:50  

There you go. Where two or more are gathered in His name, He is in our midst. That’s what you’re trying to say. That’s exactly right. God wants all of us to gather and worship Him, and we can do that when we’re driving down the road. Matter of fact, I got saved, driving down the road at 65 miles an hour on August 13, 1995, is when I surrendered my heart to the Lord while driving a semi down the road.

Jeremy Kellett  25:22  

I’m glad you held it between the ditches because that might have been a little difficult.

Gary Rayburn  25:26  

It was tough because I was crying so hard I couldn’t see the drive, but God had the wheel. And he had a purpose and a plan for my life and he’s got a purpose and plan for each and every person out there. If they will just surrender and say, “Here I am, Lord, use me.”

Jeremy Kellett  25:45  

Amen. Well, thank you all for coming over and joining the Oakley podcast with me.

John Knoll  25:49  

Thank you for having us.

Gary Rayburn  25:52  

We appreciate the invitation, man.

Jeremy Kellett  25:53  

You bet.

John Knoll  25:53  

Hope to do it in the future and hope to have your drivers be interested in and carry and succeed. We have God’s seed. God’s word doesn’t return void.

Jeremy Kellett  26:01  

We definitely need to stay connected after there so we can if any are owner operators or anybody out there listening want to want to learn more about the lonesome road and truck what is it? Good news? Good news. Yeah, good news distribution, man. Boy, you just contact me period Oakley podcast and we’ll get you in touch with these guys. So thanks again guys. Appreciate y’all come on.

John Knoll  26:22  

Thank you for having us.

Gary Rayburn  26:23  

God bless.

Jeremy Kellett  26:25  

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.