By Dave Smith
(Listed in no specific order)
Every ministry should have some definite procedures to follow so “things are done decently and in order.” You may find our list of procedures helpful to better organize your bus ministry. Obviously many of our procedures would have no application with your ministry.
1. The side door on your bus must be shut when the bus is in motion.
2. All drivers must wear their seat belts while going down the road.
3. Someone must be in the back of the bus (outside) when it backs on or off the church property.
4. There should never be a key left in the ignition of the bus. The driver must take the key with him. If there’s a mechanical problem, the key must be given to the person in charge. Under no circumstance should keys be left in the ignition.
5. When a bus run is completed, all windows must be up, doors shut, the bus must be cleaned out immaculately. This is regardless of the condition you found the bus.
6. If there is ever any unsafe driving by any drivers, whether hired or church members, these incidents should be reported to the bus director. Our ultimate goal is absolute safety for the ministries of our church.
7. All teenagers must attend teen church. They should not be in the auditorium.
8. Division I represents routes 4 through 12, Division II represents routes 29A through 40B, Division III represents routes 77 through 87C, and routes 50 through 59 represents Division IV.
9. Every bus worker must be involved taking children to class.
10. Every bus worker must have assignments of picking up children after class.
11. All bus workers should scan through all the buildings helping to get stray riders in class. This is absolutely necessary.
12. If your route is running less than 50 in attendance, you should visit more than the 3-hour minimum. With the great cost to rent buses, we must make sure we are making every effort to fill them.
13. When you visit, you must not talk to groups of children on the street. You can say hello and quickly find out if they attend church but then quickly go to the door with them to talk to the parents. Talking to groups of children as an adult on the street creates the wrong impression.
14. All bus reports need to be ready to be turned in as the bus arrives. The bus captain should have most of the information already filled out on the report where he merely has to put the rider total and the last few figures on the bus after the pick-ups are made. All attendances and visiting hours on the back of the bus report and much of the information on the front of the report can be filled out before the bus even leaves for the morning pick-up. Please make sure attendances are accurately marked since college Christian service records are taken from these.
15. There can be no eating or drinking on the bus by workers or riders. Since the buses are rented, we must obey the guidelines of the owners. Pass treats out as riders exit bus to go into their house.
16. If you ever discover a rider is missing on your bus, call the bus director immediately on the emergency number and be prepared to give him the name, address and phone number of the bus family.
17. If in dropping your riders back home after church you discover you have an extra rider, do not haul him around for the duration of the route, but immediately call the bus director and let him know who you have on the bus. He’s probably got the information on the other missing part of the puzzle and can give you instructions on what to do to get the misplaced rider to his home.
18. Bus workers should never make it a policy of aggressively hugging children or touching children in any way. If children show a natural affection towards you by hugging you, quickly hug them around the shoulder or pat them on the head. Use as little physical contact as possible so it will not be misinterpreted by the perverse world.
19. Never rough a child up in any way. Do not jerk them around. If a child becomes uncontrollable, all you can do is put your arms around the child and try to hold them and restrain them. Never physically strike a child in any way. If you sense yourself becoming angry where you might lose your temper, call for somebody else to help you. Something of this nature could shut our church and its ministry down immediately.
20. If any riders must cross the street coming to the bus or going back to their house, you must make sure that you cross the street and walk them as the first person across the street. Particularly be careful of younger children who do not understand the importance of having an adult walk them across the street. You must always be the first one off the bus, making sure everything is safe as they cross the street.
21. You cannot pull the bus away from the home until you make sure that the rider is safely inside his house. Do not leave children standing on the street or in their yard. Make sure they get in their house before the bus pulls away.
22. Never baptize any children unless you’ve first reviewed the plan of salvation making sure that the child understands. Also make sure each child has been instructed on baptism and review this with them making sure they understand. And then, of course, each parent must give written permission. Never baptize any children without parents’ written permission. Never baptize any children unless you’re certain to the best of your ability that they understand the plan of salvation and understand what they are doing when they get baptized. This may cut down on our baptisms but we are not in a numbers game. We want to make sure to the best of our ability children are saved and understand baptism.
23. The yellow bus ministry brochure is to be used only to explain to parents the procedures if they show interest in their children riding the bus. Due to the cost of these brochures, they should not be stuck in doors randomly. Gospel tracts can be left at individual residences but if you’re in apartments or trailer parks, please do not leave gospel tracts or information at every door. Apartment managers and trailer park managers do not like this because as people see literature in the door of an unoccupied trailer they may break into that particular property. We want to cooperate with them in this area to have a good testimony.
24. If there are any problems on your bus of a major nature, you must always make sure you accompany that rider to the door explaining to the parents what took place. Make sure the parents get the “straight scoop” from you rather than a distorted view from the bus rider who is upset. Also, inform the bus director of what took place so if he is contacted by an upset parent he is knowledgeable of the situation (don’t forget to fill out the incident form).
25. Always let parents know why a child is being suspended and if you are suspending him for a number of weeks. Then work with the parents and emphasize that improved behavior must be observed as the rider starts coming back on the bus.
26. Never promise a rider awards, prizes, or treats that you do not give to them. We would do better not to promise anything than to promise it and not to come through. You have just made yourself and Trinity Baptist Church a liar when you don’t give the children what you promise.
27. There should be no socializing on the bus lot on Sunday. We are all involved ministering to people and we don’t need to be having girlfriend-boyfriend relations and buddy talks during this important time. This goes for bus riders (especially teens) that stand around on the bus lot. p should stand around on the bus lot.
28. Make sure that one bus person, whether driver or worker, is on the bus before the children are released from Sunday School at 12:20 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. for afternoon Sunday School. Bus damage and injuries can result if a trained worker is not on the bus when the children arrive and begin to climb aboard.
29. If you do not catch the regular bus family home on Saturday, you must stop with the bus on Sunday morning. Just because they are not home on Saturday in no way implies they are not coming on Sunday. If not home, always leave a flyer so they know you have been there.
30. If you have time, make callbacks on regular riders that are not home when you visit them Saturday. In other words, try and go by later in the day and visit them. Getting a face to face commitment is always better than a bus flyer in the door.
31. Never haul riders in your car alone. Never allow yourself to be in a situation where you could be falsely accused of questionable behavior.
32. Never allow riders to sit close to you or on your lap where a false impression could be created.
33. The bus must be at church at 10:40 a.m. for “B” Sunday School (12:55 p.m. for “C” Sunday School). If you are later than that, unless providentially hindered (bus break down, late driver, etc.), you must change your start time, the way you run your route, or something that will allow you to get to church on time. Getting to church late robs your kids from time in church, interrupts every class you put kids in to, and causes you to be out of place.
34. Never unload your bus until 10:45 a.m. for “B” Sunday School (1:00 p.m. for “C” Sunday School).
35. Only adult bus workers should take children to class and pick them up. You should promise parents the children will be under adult supervision at all times and keep this promise.
36. Do not bring children under 3 years of age, unless their parents attend. They also must be potty trained for “B” Sunday School.
37. Do not sign up children “C” Sunday School unless they are 6 years old. If older brothers and sisters come, you may bring kindergartners only. Never bring younger children unless a parent comes.
38. As bus captain, you are responsible for anyone you bring and their behavior.
39. All bus riders 2nd grade and under must have their hands marked with the bus number.
40. If you have children that are different ages that the parents insist on keeping together, you must always put the older child with the younger.
41. No bus riders should bring any electronic devices to Sunday School (headphones, radios, beepers, etc.). No gang garb should be allowed. Keep your eyes open for these signs.
42. All bus captains should have a bus book that is up-to-date including: parent’s names, address, phone #, birth dates, attendance records, salvation and baptism date, if applicable.
43. Bus children should never be allowed to stand while the bus is moving.
44. Teenagers should never be allowed to take children to class or pick them up, unless assisting an adult bus worker who is with them.
45. All “B” bus workers are encouraged to work in “B” Sunday School in some capacity. If you are not working in the Sunday School, you must sit in the south end of the balcony along with all other bus workers. This allows us to easily locate, you in case of a problem with one of your riders. Under no circumstances should you be sitting in the office or wandering the property.
46. “B” Sunday School workers may take children that are going to be baptized into the main service to sit with them. Have the “yellow baptism permission card” filled out completely and take them forward at the start of the invitation.
47. Report any minor mechanical problems, scrapes, or accidents immediately to the bus director.
48. All buses should observe city speed limits. On interstates, no buses should run over 55 mph.
49. Any time a bus worker is going to be absent, notify your bus captain, division leader or bus director. Please do no just disappear.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”