You Have Them, Now What?
Bus and Sunday school workers across this nation and around the world work so hard to get visitors to sit in their ministry. There are seasons of praying, fasting, laboring, and even begging to get visitors to come to church. If you are like me, you had prospective people promise and promise that they will come one day. It could take weeks, months, and possibly even years before that prospect actually comes. The day finally comes when your prospect is actually stepping foot onto your bus or into your class…wow, what a moment! Praise the Lord!
The first week goes by, and that rider is excited. The second week comes shortly after, and the excitement is still lingering in the heart of that new attendee. Then, the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth, and fortieth weeks come, and the smile, anticipation, and involvement have dwindled to a mere, “I guess I can come to church this week.” The truth is that any bus captain, bus worker, or Sunday School teacher that has been in the ministry any length of time can say that this scenario has happened to them before. It is up to you, the bus worker or teacher, to provide an avenue for them to stay excited in your ministry. Obviously, no one should come church purely for the excitement, but there is no reason for your church program to mirror a 100-year-old monk monastery.
The retention of your attendees can usually be directly linked to your service or bus program. You have them, now what? The answer is to keep them! Much work goes into getting new people to ride the bus or come to church; just as much work should go into keeping those people. Having an exciting, enthusiastic, and imaginative bus program maintains riders even after their original enthusiasm has worn off. Work on improving your program all of the time. There is no cookie-cutter pattern bus or Sunday school program that will automatically bring success, but what should a program consist of?
There is no substitute for pure, genuine excitement. Excitement breeds growth, but this is not something to only possess when everything falls into place, the seats are full, and the stars align. Having enthusiasm, energy, and excitement should be determined ahead of time regardless of circumstances. If the leaders and workers don’t have excitement, do not count on the regular members and riders to be excited.
2. Positive Atmosphere
The music, decorations, and attitude of the workers will assist in having a positive atmosphere. People should not be coming through the back doors or stepping onto the bus as though they are doing something wrong. They should feel right at home from the very beginning.
3. Active and Willing Workers
The two points above depend on having active and willing workers. Whether it is a church usher or a regular bus worker, training people to be actively helping your program is essential to its success.
4. Bible Memorization
A good bus or Sunday school program should have some time where people can memorize a portion of Scripture. I personally received a Scofield Reference Bible with my name embossed on it for winning a 4th grade Scripture memorization contest. I had memorized an entire chapter of the Bible. I currently challenge my bus riders to memorize the Ten Commandments, and I offer them a prize for doing so.
5. Games and Prizes
No program with children is ever successful without some good games and prizes. Bus workers and Sunday school teachers should be creative and have these prepared ahead of time. Classic games are always acceptable, but it is also nice to have new, exciting games to play for unique prizes.
6. Skits and Fun Time
The program of a class or bus should be fun for the leaders as well as the attendees. Incorporate into your program fun items such as skits, crazy challenges, or fun activities. This will help keep people interested and engaged.
7. Singing, Singing, and more Singing
You cannot pass up one of the most obvious and well-known parts of any service program. The songs you sing, the specials you may have (if applicable), and the way you sing all contribute to the spirit of the program. Ask other leaders or bus captains in your church what they sing on their bus. You may be surprised and hear a grade A type song that you never knew before.
8. Preaching and Challenges
Along with all of the fun, a bus or Sunday school program can successfully include a serious element in the form of a challenge or spiritual thought. One of the main purposes of any bus or Sunday school class is to teach people the gospel and God’s Word. Do not pass up the opportunity to give divine food to those who may not have any other spiritual source.
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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.