Your Bus Route: Lake vs. Pond
If your bus route is not growing, it is dying. Constantly seeing development in your bus route is essential to its continued life. To stay regularly, where you have been, is not enough. You must always be moving forward. While I was a bus captain in college, my bus driver explained the bus route as a body of water, and it can be one of two types. Your bus route can either be a lake or a pond.
Most people would mistakenly say that the main difference between a lake and pond would be area size. However, the most crucial difference is within the water’s depth. Ponds, according to limnology (the study of freshwater bodies), are shallow enough to allow plants and algae to grow at the water’s bottom. Sunlight can reach the bottom to begin the process of photosynthesis for plants to grow. Their shallowness eventually causes the dirtiness and murkiness of the majority of the pond’s water. Also associated with small ponds is that there is either no source or a minimal source of freshwater added regularly. This makes the pond’s water stagnant and stale.
Lakes, on the other hand, are deep enough where plants are not permitted to grow on the bottom. Their depth keeps the lake unsoiled and clear. Often, a supply of new water helps keep the lake’s water clean and fresh.
It is not about the size of your route. It is about depth. How many people are you working with every week? If you continue to work with only the same 15-20 stops that you always do, your route will become stale and will eventually die. Develop depth on your route, and the numerical size will take care of itself. Perhaps your route will not grow right away, but you are keeping your water clean and fresh by having expanded depth. It is not easy increasing depth, but it is essential to the vitality of your route. Here are five tips to try to grow the depth of your bus to keep your bus route looking like a lake instead of a pond.
1. Pray for God’s blessings.
Anything worth doing for the Lord is worth taking to the Lord in prayer. The blessings of God only come when we first begin to seek those blessings in prayer. R.A. Torrey said, “It is the privilege of every child of God to have the power of God in his service.” We can have the power of God if we only ask for it. The next time you feel like your ministry is beginning to become stale, spend even more time in prayer than you normally would.
2. Plan to have new people.
Be prepared to have new people on your bus and do not be surprised when they begin to respond positively and show up on your bus. We ran a “Christmas Tree of Treats” bus promotion for our entire bus ministry in December of 2018. Each visitor and person who brought a visitor got to pull a lollipop off of our lollipop tree to try and win prizes. In the first week, we had over 100 visitors! I can tell you; they completely wiped out all of the prizes in that first week that we had set aside for the entire month of December. We were not as prepared as we should have been for these new people. Be prepared with your program, your promotions, your excitement, and your cleaned bus to accept new people.
3. Prioritize and Accomplish Your Goals.
Prioritizing and accomplishing your goals and tasks is not just a unique or niche concept that will help just your ministry. This should be a major theme of life when trying to complete anything worth doing at all. This thought is not original with me but taken straight out of the U.S. Navy Seals playbook. We all have hectic schedules filled with important responsibilities and duties. Placing those items in a ranked list of attainable actions will help make sure the things that “need” to get done, actually will get done. Your productivity, especially when it comes to the needs of the ministry, will see a vast improvement if you take a few extra minutes to prioritize and determine to accomplish your goals.
4. Problems are coming.
Sadly, as you continue to develop the depth on your bus route, it will not always be sunny days frolicking through the flowered meadow of good times. Problems will come. These problems may arise in the disappointment of results, worker issues, rider family complications, or in seasons of overall heartaches. Know that problems will occur, and they must be overcome. Nothing great for God has ever come on the pathway of ease and convenience. Use the next point as a foundation to face and conquer problems.
5. Purpose is key
Remember the purpose of your bus route and actions. Without a constant recollection of your purpose, you will never have the drive, vision, or determination that is possible. I try to remind myself every day that the actions that I have on my bus route have eternal consequences. You also have the potential to reach tens, hundreds, and possibly thousands with the gospel. Keep at it and grow your bus route by remembering the purpose.
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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.