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Bixby morning routine includes drive-by ministry

Street Pastor John Robb's full-time job combines curbside gospel with diesel fumes.

Pastor John wears down the grass in the front of QuikTrip, as he shares his message with others.

Jarad Reed

Pastor John wears down the grass in the front of QuikTrip, as he shares his message with others.

Jarad Reed and Emily Thornton

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Despite the noise from heavy traffic, John Robb’s voice echoes with the gospel, past gas pumps and car doors and off of the brick wall that holds QuikTrip at 151stand Memorial in Bixby, Okla. Robb is a permanent presence, wearing down the curbside grass most weekday mornings between 7 a.m. and noon.

Passers-by refer to him as the street pastor or the QuikTrip guy. His drive-by ministry is part of their morning routine. Robb said, “People roll down their window with this kind of problem or that kind of problem.”

Drivers stop, pray, say ‘hello’ and sometimes buy him a cup of coffee.

Originally from Kensington, Md., Robb joined the Marine Corps after high school. During his eight years stationed in Japan he gave his life to the Lord, becoming a Christian. Once back in the United States, he began to seek God’s plan for his life. After his first marriage ended in divorce, he said he began preaching on the “highways and byways” between California, Texas and Washington, D.C., before settling in Tulsa in December 1996.

Motivated by a feeling that “something was going to happen for him in Tulsa,” he planned to attend Oral Robert’s University; when that didn’t work out he considered leaving, but never could.

“I always say, God, this is the plan for my life and I want to stay where you want me to be. Right now he wants me to be in Oklahoma. God said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. So I reach all kinds of people here. Bixby’s the fastest growing community; thousands of people come through this QuikTrip,” he said.

Robb’s curbside ministry is a full-time job that sometimes brings opposition. “It’s an unusual ministry, but I stepped out with my faith in God,” he said. Once, a drunk man physically attacked him before a stranger jumped in to help. The police arrived, broke-up the fight, and “they asked me if I wanted to press charges and I said ‘no I don’t,’ and I let him go. I just went back to preaching.”

“I’m totally supported by God; God brings people up to me and they write me checks, they give me cash. A gentleman just gave me a sandwich and something to drink. God sees that I’m always taken care of, because this is work, it requires a lot of prayer, and a lot of study.”

For twenty-seven years, Robb’s work mingled with the sounds of brakes and diesel engines; but now he has blueprints for a church that will seat 300 people. The location has not been set, but he believes God will provide the land, and he wants the church to be located in the place of greatest need.

“I want to visit and help people as much as I can. I really prayed and asked God, ‘is this really what you want me to do,’ and He said, ‘yes.’”

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