Church Bus Ministry

I just walked out to plug in our old diesel church bus for its weekly mission trip around our town. Big Blue is beautiful but starting to show her age. This church has been running a bus ministry longer than I’ve been alive. We all know that longevity is not the test of a ministry’s value, so it’s good to re-think the pros and cons every so often.

For more help in this vital ministry, read our 6 steps for improving your bus ministry or how to start a bus ministry.

Positives of Church Bus Ministry

  • Kids come to our programs that otherwise would not. Bottom line, more children are coming to hear the gospel. About 30% of our Wednesday night kids come from the bus ministry.
  • Our church is visible in neighborhoods where we have no members. Like many churches, most of our people come from the stable long-term neighborhoods of our city. The apartments and trailer parks, with their more transient populations, house almost none of our church members.
  • It keeps our people outreach minded. Our volunteers get to know un-churched kids up close through this outreach ministry. We are constantly seeing new faces that remind us of the many children who are not active in church.
  • It doesn’t cost much since we already own the bus and use volunteer maintenance.
  • It opens new ways for people to serve. The bus ministry volunteers are pure gold.

Negatives of Church Bus Ministry

  • Reaching parents is a problem. Very few churches, ours included, have really figured out how to get the families of our bus kids involved in our church.
  • Bus discipline is a constant struggle.  There are some frantic moments for the bus monitors; it takes special people to keep 25 excited kids safely in their seats. You might enjoy our sample discipline plan for the church bus. Having a good list of bus games is essential.
  • We reinforce poor parenting habits. We preach parental responsibility, but contradict it by picking up these kids while their parents stay home.
  • The kids from the bus route are often our most disruptive.
  • We see very few conversions. Bus kids are often very open to the Gospel, but we don’t see much long-term fruit. This may be because they move away or because the home environment counteracts what we teach.
  • There are safety risks. Any child waiting for the bus after dark makes me nervous.

So what about you? Does your church run a bus ministry? Are the pros and cons I listed here a fair assessment?


Comments

  1. Kathy says

    Interestingly, I googled church bus ministry out of interest to see how prominent it is these days. I notice the comment about few converts. I would have never stepped foot in a church without a bus ministry. My family was not poor, but we lived among a very mixed demographic, and a few streets away was a girl I knew who rode the bus. She invited me and I attended regularly for maybe a year or so as a 10 or 11 year old. I was saved after weeks of hearing the pastor invite people to the alter and the holy spirit came to me at that time. Years passed and without the religious piece at home it all “fell apart” but I have re-visited the faith of that time and have committed my life again to Christ. I take four children on the journey with me this time. The fruits of conversation are not always visible at the time of performing Christ’s work.

  2. says

    God just gave us a bus, we have been taking 3 trips on a 15 passenger van. The bus ministry works, take it from someone who knows, my entire family was reached by the bus ministry before I was born. My sister rode as a 5 year old little girl and then later my older brother. Finally one Sunday my mom and dad woke up and went to church because of the prayers of my sister, both my parents got saved and I was born into a Christian family all because of two faithful bus workers and a church that didn’t give up on the bus ministry because of the cons. I am now the Associate Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Pine Bluff AR. we have seen over 200 first time visitors this year and over 100 people saved. We have seen God do a wonderful work.

  3. Marsha Culbreth says

    Your pros and cons are great. I am one that doesn’t dwell on the cons much because I simply know this is what God wants me doing. But having the cons all listed in one spot has helped me to see a pattern. Many of those things could be eliminated or at least reduced if we could get the whole family under the teaching of God’s Word. I recently met a pastor who has put this into action in his church with success. He strongly recommends talking to the parents each time he visits and they regularly have events geared for the whole family. You can reach him through the church’s website : http://www.faithbaptistavon.com/busministry.html It also includes audio for some helpful sessions during a recent bus conference under the Bus Conference tab.

  4. Diana says

    I needed to read some of these comments tonight. I received an email from today from a church member who was questioning my handling of a situation with some of our kids. We run a van ministry on Wednesday nights, we feed kids and have a lesson. We are a small church and average around 23 kids a week. Almost all come from unchurched home and we have a lot of discipline issues. I liked how John put it, we need to bind their wounds then sow the seeds. That’s how I feel about our kids.

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