By: Tim Massengale
Too often times bus ministry has been described by some as a “glorified baby-sitting program.” It is not, nor should it be! The reason why some churches have seen such poor results from their bus
ministries is because of two reasons:
1) They failed to evangelize the children in the class room
2) They failed to evangelize the parents in the home.
Bus ministry is not just a way to reach children with salvation – it’s also a way to see the parents saved. But to do so, the approach must be highly focused and direct. Bus ministry should never be allowed to
become a “numbers game” where the only objectives is to raise the quarterly attendance average. Souls must be the primary objective from start to finish. For this reason, to really be effective, numbers may
need to be trimmed.
The “Parentreach” program is a method to evangelize the parents of our bus children. The “Monthly Holy Ghost Sunday” is a method to evangelize the bus children in the class room. If worked properly,
both are highly effective. The following is an explanation of how you might use the Parentreach concept of Bus Ministry in your Sunday School:
1. If you have existing routes, these routes should be divided into about ten homes per bus or route captain. More bus captains will most likely need to be appointed.
2. A bus captain should not pick up children from more than ten to twelve homes. This is so that personalized attention can be given to each home and friendship can be established with the parents.
3. Three to four bus captains should share one bus on Sunday Morning. Each will ride the bus (which provides adequate staff on the bus) and instruct the driver to pick up from their ten homes. Or, if you prefer vans, each route captain would have their own van.
4. Saturday visitation one primary objective – to visit the parents. If they see the children, fine, but the main purpose is to visit and talk with both the mother and father.
5. The bus captain should attempt to get as much information as possible on each family. A “Parentreach Family Record” form is provided for this purpose at the end of this section. The captain should record ages, birthdays, interests, hobbies, occupations, religious background, anything that will help him get to know them better and become their friend.
6. The ten homes are placed on about a four month schedule. The first eight or ten visits (two months) are for making a friend. This is a low-key type of visitation. The captain should get to know the
families as much as possible. You must win their friendship before you can win their soul!
7. During these first two months of making a friend, a captain should do as much for the family as possible. Take fresh fruit by, do small favors, anything to let them know you are sincerely interested in them – and you are – on saving their soul!
8. It is good if the church will occasionally provide various small gifts for the captains to take by – fruit, vegetables, small plants, etc. The bus families should feel that the captain is the greatest
person around (and they are!).
9. The last two months are primarily for evangelism purposes – witness, get a Bible Study, get them out to church. Every Saturday possible you should ask them for a Bible Study. Put some pressure on –
after all, they are now your friend and you should know them quite well. The Lord’s coming soon, they must be saved! The mark of true friendship is true concern for their soul.
10. At the end of four months, some will have taken a Bible Study or shown an interested in living for God, some will have not. Those that are just flat not interested – turn you down cold and want nothing to
do with church – will be dropped from your list of ten homes. You will continue to pick up the children for as long as they will come (and you should strongly encourage them to come) but the parents that are
not interested in living for God are no longer visited on Saturday. Often times the bus DRIVER will visit the regulars each Saturday who’s parents are not being visited.
11. Normally the captain will not need to visit those families that are taking a Bible Study since they are being visited every week by the teacher anyway. But he will continue to pick up the children each
12. The captain will now need four to eight more homes to pick up children from – however many he needs to make up his quota of ten. This is a good time for the church to plan a promotion or bus ministry
contest to get new children for the routes.
13. Keep all past homes on the church making list, even if they are no longer being visited. As long as the children are still coming, you should still send the monthly bulletin, special announcements, and
revival flyers to the home. Perhaps God will change their heart.
14. The bus captain should turn in a weekly report each Sunday of his visitation results to his ten home (a sample “Parentreach Weekly Report” is provided at the end of this section). The pastor should not
be as interested in how many riders came as he is in how many H.B.S. were obtained. The bus ministries job is to win the parents. The Sunday School’s job is to win the children.
The entire Parentreach approach is to overcome an inherent problem of bus ministry: the route will quickly degenerate into nothing but parents uninterested in living for God (those that were, are now in
church). For all his steady efforts, this overworked ground produces little or nothing.
The captain only has so much time to work on his route. If he spend it all on people who could care less about salvation, he will have no time to reach those who are! The success of Parentreach is because of
six basic principles:
1. The focus is not on numbers, but upon saving souls.
2. The number of homes visited is limited, allowing more time to work with the family and see the parents saved.
3. The concepts works on “oikos” – you must win a friend before you win a soul.
4. Those uninterested in living for God are dropped from visitation, allowing time to visit those who are.
5. The route is continually being replenished with new families to witness to and reach.
6. The ministry pushes the most effective tool of winning families – the home Bible study ministry.
There is also a Bible precedent for this approach. The Lord’s command was that after you have knocked and knocked, if the individual still refuses to come to the marriage feast, to go into the highways and
hedges and bring those that are interested. Many times the devil will get us tied up with people who are just not interested, thereby keeping us away from those that are. We must keep our eyes on the
harvest. The Parentreach Bus Ministry concept helps us to do just that.
BUS MINISTRY WEEKLY REPORT
Name________________________ Route Number____ Date_______ Week
Family Name Result From Saturday Visitation
Total Number Home on Saturday________________
Total H.B.S. Obtained This Week______________
Total Riders Picked Up This Sunday Morning_____________
BUS MINISTRY FAMILY RECORD
Last Name ______________________ Ages Birthdays
Father’s Name _________________ ____________
Mother’s Name _________________ ____________
Children’s Names _______________ ____________
Interests or Hobbies (husband) Interests or Hobbies (wife)
Make A Friend! Visitation Results
Win A Soul!
(The above material was prepared and published by Tim Massengale from
Total Church Growth. You can order the complete 2 volume set from the
Pentecostal Publishing House.)
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