Bus Ministry: Is It Worth the Effort?
By: Elizabeth Motes
The old bus moaned and groaned its way through the streets of Wichita, Kansas, stopping periodically in front of the low-income apartments on our bus route. A friend and I sat near the door of the bus because many of the Sunday school children needed assistance.
When we walked to a particular door, we could hear children inside the house. A child who appeared to be seven or eight years of age answered our knock. Three children clustered around her in ages ranging from three to six. We greeted the children and asked to speak to a parent, but the oldest child said her parents were still in bed. The lady with me gave me a look of “what now?” A church worker would never think of taking children to Sunday school without parental permission.
“Did your parents say you could go to church today?” I asked. She answered in the affirmative. I told her she would need to wake her mother so we could have permission to take them. The youngster left the room and returned quickly with the message, “She said we could go.” Again, my friend and I exchanged questioning glances. We needed to hear verbal consent from the mother. I sent the child to the bedroom again. This time we heard a very loud and angry voice, “Just take the kids! Just take them and leave me alone!”
The children looked as though they had not bathed in several days. We told the oldest child to find some washcloths and we started to work. She also found a few pieces of clean clothing for herself and her siblings. After cleaning them to the best of our ability and helping them dress, they were presentable for church. The little ones were excited about going to Sunday school and were full of questions as we chugged along in the old bus. They heartily joined in the singing with the other children.
These children came to Sunday school several weeks. It was always the same routine. They needed special attention before we could take them to church. One Sunday they did not answer our knock and a neighbor informed us they had moved.
I have often wondered over the past thirty-five years what happened to the four dirty little children on our bus route. By this time they are adults in our world. Was it worth our time? Do they remember anything from the class-room or the bus ride? According to Isaiah the answer to both of these questions is, yes: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). I believe it was worth it! We did not see immediate results, but I still believe it had an impact on their lives.
Recently, we visited a church where we had served as outreach directors nearly thirty years ago. One of our responsibilities in out-
reach was bus ministry. During the service the pastor said to my husband, “I see many people in the congregation tonight who were won to God through the bus ministry while you folks were here.”
How could we ever believe it is not worth our time? Results do not always come as soon as we would like. Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (I Corinthians 3:6). If we go forth believing and do our part, God will do His.
“I believe in the sun although I cannot see it shine; I believe in love although I am surrounded by hate; and I believe in God although He is silent.” (Found written by an unknown prisoner on a prison wall in a German dungeon during World War H.)
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded” (II Chronicles 15:7). Reaching souls is always worth the effort. That was the primary mission of Jesus Christ. He came to seek and save that which was lost! ?
This article “Bus Ministry: Is it worth the Effort?” written by Elizabeth Motes is excerpted from the Pentecostal Herald a December 2007 edition.