By L. M. Wiess
A great deal of interest is being manifested among many churches for information on church bus evangelism. The following is some of the basic information often needed by a church interested in church bus evangelism.
15 Preferred Procedures Of Church Bus Evangelism
1 Make sure that an adequate number of bus workers are enlisted, trained, and dedicated so that there will be a good team for each bus route. Each Saturday is used for enlisting riders.
2 Each bus route will need a team. This consist of a driver who makes sure that the bus is clean, fueled, properly maintained, and ready to leave on schedule. It also includes the captain whose job is to be in charge of everything related to his bus route and to make sure the bus is filled with people when it returns to the church. Co-captains give general assistance to the captain and in many cases they will be serving an apprenticeship for the time when they become captains. One or more teenagers on each bus assist with the children in such matters as singing on the bus, personal comfort and safety. Under no circumstance are the teenagers to be responsible for discipline of the children.
3 Some members who are not heavily involved in other church work can excel in church bus evangelism.
4 It is necessary for some church bus members to rearrange some priorities and to change their normal Saturday and Sunday schedules.
5 It is necessary to rearrange some priorities in church activities. Most churches are already heavily loaded with programs and activities. This cannot be added on as another program on the basis of a surplus or workers and finances.
6 It is best to begin with buying some evangelism buses rather than one trip bus. Usually it is possible to get three or four retired school buses to use in evangelism work for the same price that one good trip bus would cost to use in occasionally transporting church groups for special functions.
7 It is best to purchase the largest buses possible-at least 54 passenger capacity or more. As a rule the size of these used buses has nothing to do with the purchase price, the insurance cost, the maintenance costs, or the operating cost. And it is just about as easy to have an average of 50 riders on a 60 passenger bus as it is to have 28 riders on a 30 passenger bus.
8 It is best to begin with two or more buses. Any church that cannot generate enough interest to start with two or more used buses probably will not have very much success in church bus evangelism. Remember that the attitude of the leaders is the major determining factor in evangelizing the community. This does not mean that you shouldn’t start with bus, just depends on the size of your church already.
9 It is best to establish the first bus routes near the church building. After an adequate number of routes are established in the local community then routes are established in neighboring areas that have a large number of un-churched children.
10 The procedures used to enlist riders will contribute much toward the success or failure of church bus evangelism.
11 Plans should be made for an increase in attendance of 40 persons for each bus route established. Proper procedures usually result in an average of more than 40 riders within the first two months after a route is began.
12 The church leaders must plan ahead for a large influx of people in such matters as providing space, rearranging classroom space and departmental assemblies to adjust for overcrowded conditions in some classes and departments, recruiting, and training new workers, recruiting and training members for counseling the children who respond to the Gospel, recruiting and training members who can win the parents to Christ, and recruiting and training members in conducting worship services for the children.
13 Make adequate plans so as to get off with the best start possible. It may be better not to begin at all than to begin wrong.
14 Pray for God’s guidance and blessings and trust Him to answer your prayers.
15 Pray as if everything depended upon God. Work as if everything depended upon you.
Starting A Bus Ministry
How To Start A Bus Or Van Ministry
The best definition of a Bus Ministry is that it is a temporary by-pass of a disinterested parent. We want to reach and minister to the child but our goal is reach the entire family.
10 Basic Steps To Starting A Bus Or Van Ministry
Step 1 Decide What Type Ministry God is Leading Your Church to Have and Establish a Purpose Statement
Will you establish a ministry that targets the un-churched or will you simply provide transportation for existing members? Of you are just providing a way to and from church for those who already attend your church, then much of what follows will not apply to your situation.) Are you going to run your routes any time other than Sunday morning? Some churches have their bus ministry program on Saturday; is this an option your church might consider? If you don’t have a children’s worship, will you start one or have the bus riders sit in the main service? Do your homework by reading bus ministry books and talking to churches already involved in the bus ministry.
Step 2 Prepare the Church
Help your church membership understand what you are trying to accomplish with this new ministry. Make sure they know what problems may arise. People are always down on what they are not up on – if they know the reasons behind something and the potential difficulties, they are much more likely to be supportive and accommodating.
Step 3 Obtain the Vehicles
Do you have a bus or van you can use or will you need to purchase vehicles? If you have to buy buses, is it in the budget or will funds have to raised? If you need to purchase vehicles, start your process of locating buses by contacting several churches with a bus ministry and ask them where they bought their vehicles and who they recommend. If you plan to use smaller vehicles, consider 15-passenger buses instead of vans.
Step 4 Enlist and Train Workers
Sunday School, Children’s Church and Bus Ministry – You will need a bus team and your existing leadership will need to know what to expect when the bus or van start to run. You will also need to enlist more personnel for your Sunday School and children’s church if you think they will be needed.
Step 5 Arrange for Extra Space
If you’re planning on having 15 or 20 new boys and girls, will your classes accommodate them? If not, do you have space to expand?
Step 6 Develop the Saturday Schedule
If you are going to run your buses or vans on Sunday morning you will probably want to have a short bus meeting on Saturday morning and visit your riders then. As your ministry progresses, you may find a better time to meet and visit your routes.
Step 7 Develop the Sunday Schedule
When the bus or van arrives, what will the children do and where will they go? Will they stay for both Sunday School and worship? Do you need to have someone meet the bus and escort them to and from class? Make sure your leaders know where the bus riders are supposed to be and the times and procedures for unloading and loading the bus or van.
Step 8 Establish the Routes
Decide where you want to run your routes and then design them by time rather than by distance. Most churches find that it’s best if you have less then one hour from the time the first rider is picked up until you reach the church. This will be “trial and error” at first but you will soon discover the time to leave in order to get back on time.
Step 9 Hold a “Kick-Off’ Meeting with Everyone Involved
Nothing breeds excitement like excitement and starting your new ministry with everyone involved in a big meeting is always exciting. Use this time to remind everyone of what this new ministry is seeking to accomplish and that they are all a team working together to make this goal a reality.
Step 10 Launch the Ministry!
Sample Purpose Statement
The purpose of our Bus Ministry is to fulfill God’s command to “…go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be filled,” (Luke 14:23) offering a place to serve God by being an extension of God’s love to minister to children and their families while providing safe transportation to and from our church.
10 Questions To Ask Before You Begin
1 Why do we want a bus ministry?
2 Who do we want to reach?
3 Who will we responsible? Will it be a staff member or a lay person who answers to a staff member?
4 How much money are we willing to invest?
5 How will this money be provided?
6 How many vehicles will we start with? Buses or vans or both?
7 Does our church membership understand the purpose of this new ministry?
8 Do we understand potential problems as well as the blessings this ministry could bring?
9 How will be provide training for our leadership in this new ministry?
10 Are we committed to making this new ministry successful?
This article – Church Bus Evangelism – written by L. M. Weiss is excerpted from Basics Of Sunday School Growth written by L. M. Weiss.