Consider Your Bus Ministry Now
A few months ago, I was able to highlight some of the remarkable, historical statistics demonstrating why the bus ministry has been the most impactful ministry available to our churches within the past 60-70 years. Quite obviously, no church has been able to run its bus ministry for the many weeks that this virus has taken the world by invisible storm. We are finally beginning to see daylight as everyone has been fighting and clawing to get back to in-person services and some resemblance of normal. Rightfully so, churches must conduct in-person services before our bus ministries can begin to run again, but please do not discount for very long the most valuable tool that our churches have to reach new people with the gospel. We need to bring the buses back! As the country begins to ease up on restrictions finally, here are several considerations and suggestions for your bus ministry now.
1. Clean and Sanitize Your Buses
During this required break that we have had in our ministries, there is no real reason why our buses and church vehicles should not be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You do not have to do it alone. There are plenty of opportunities to line up volunteers to clean different parts of the bus while maintaining social distancing.
2. Contact the Families Now
Even if you are not planning to run the buses for a few more weeks, you must begin making scheduled contact with your families. Be prepared to inform them of your church’s planned timetable and what you are doing to keep them safe when they can attend church.
3. Plan a Big Day
As you are planning a start date back for your bus ministry, make it a big deal! This day is very similar to starting a brand-new bus route, and the atmosphere of your church should reflect that. Have a great promotion lined up, and follow through.
4. Enlist Help to Be Back
The weeks leading up to the restart of the bus ministry should integrate a drove of volunteers to help on the buses, as well as with visiting and soul winning. Many church members have been a bit more relaxed in these past weeks, and they are now willing and able to be put to work.
5. Have In-Person Services and Sunday School First
There would be no point in running our buses without a Sunday School to bring them to. Give your Sunday School teachers and workers a few weeks of a running start before incorporating your bus riders. For our church, we are also working around “Promotion Sunday” for our Sunday School department, when each class graduates to the next grade. Have this all worked out ahead of time, so there is no confusion.
6. Recognize Potential Obstacles
Know that as you reignite your bus ministry, not everyone will be on board with starting the buses back up and bringing scores of mainly underprivileged families to church during this time. Additionally, know that not every one of your riders will be ready to hop back on the bus and attend an in-person church service. There will absolutely be casualties because of this situation. Many of my own bus families have moved to other cities recently. There may also be some of your riders who are at higher risk for this health hazard and should remain home during this time.
7. Look at Your City Transportation
While you prepare the buses to be run again, a good source of information may be the safety regulations placed upon your city’s transportation department. Perhaps looking at those guidelines and rules will aid you in formulating a plan for your own buses.
8. Assess Other Considerations
- Receive signed legal guardian consent for people to ride the buses – It has always been highly recommended to churches that are beginning a bus ministry to develop a permission slip for each of their riders. Especially during this time, having a signed consent form could be extremely valuable. Even if your church has not done this in the past, there might be no better time to implement this than now, when your buses begin to run again.
- Do not be afraid to revoke the transportation privileges of any child for either behavioral issues or health concerns – Whether a child is misbehaving or is exhibiting troubling symptoms, you have the option to revoke transportation privileges for any of your riders as the safety of the other riders is our top priority.
- Practice social distancing on your buses if possible – This is definitely not possible in every instance, but perhaps you can have every rider on his own seat.
- Utilize pre-packaged giveaways and promotions – As a precautionary measure, try to develop exciting promotions that do not involve homemade food or food that you have to prepare and handle.
- Train your workers – Try to hold a worker training session with bus workers, Sunday School teachers, and any other workers involved to instruct them in cleanliness, procedures, and policies.
- Disinfect the building and meeting spaces – Just as the buses were detailed, all of the classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms should be completely cleaned before allowing the bus riders back on the property.
- Ensure that every attendee is escorted and supervised at all times – To help with logistics and safety, make sure that every rider is always supervised.
I believe that God has been preparing us and is ready to do something great in our churches. We need to bring the buses back, but we should make sure that we are doing so in the right way. God has used this ministry for decades, and I do not believe that He is done with it yet.
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Luke Flood, Bus Director
Luke Flood serves on staff as the bus director and is responsible for seeing hundreds of people in church on a weekly basis. He is a true product of North Valley Baptist Church. Having grown up in a wonderful Christian family, he attended North Valley Baptist Schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After graduation, he attended Golden State Baptist College where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
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