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The Bus Ministry

Woodlawn    Baptist    Church    has    a    long    and    dedicated    history    to    the    bus ministry.   We   have   been   in   the   bus   ministry   for   35+   years   with   many   workers with   decades   of   committed   service   to   the   bus   ministry.   The   bus   ministry   is not   a   passing   fad   to   us,   it   is   a   valuable   and   blessed   tool   in   reaching   our   area for   Jesus   Christ.   Over   the   years   we   have   had   over   765,000   riders   come   to Sunday   school   on   our   buses   and   vans.   We   currently   run   13   buses   and   vans every Sunday and are seeing precious souls come to Christ every week. Our   bus   ministry   was   started   by   Dr.   Ron   Fenwick,   a   tremendous   soul   winner and   a   man   with   a   heart   for   lost   souls.   Dr.   Fenwick   was   influenced   by   The Sword   of   the   Lord   and   ultimately   was   encouraged   to   start   a   bus   ministry   by Dr.   Wally   Beebe   and   Dr.   Jim   Vineyard.   After   attending   a   Pastor’s   School   in Hammond,   Indiana,   Dr.   Fenwick   purchased   several   buses   and   our   bus   ministry was   started!   Scores   of   people   were   saved   and   many   became   workers   in   our bus   ministry.   We   have   been   blessed   to   have   what   I   believe   are   the   greatest bus   workers   in   America!   We   have   nearly   a   dozen   workers   with   over   25   years of   experience   in   the   bus   ministry.   This   is   a   life-long   commitment   to   the   Great Commission for us! We   have   had   so   many   wonderful   days   in   the   bus   ministry   over   the   years. Every   year,   we   have   Round   Up   Sunday   and   on   many   occasions   we   have   had over   1000   riders   on   a   big   day.   Our   biggest   day   saw   1317   riders   on   our   bus ministry   led   by   our   former   Bus   Director   Steve   Messersmith.   From   our   records   we   know   that   our   bus   captains   have   had   100   riders on   their   bus   route   230   times,   over   200,   14   times   and   over   300   one   time!   Promotions   and   events   have   varied   from   a   bike   rider jumping   buses   to   a   100   foot   banana   split!   We   have   given   go-karts,   bicycles   and   game   systems   away.   Some   will   question   the “promotion” but if I can get people under the sound of the gospel I believe it is worth it! One   of   the   greatest   blessings   for   me   as   pastor   is   to   see   the   lives   of   people   transformed   by   the   power   of   the   gospel.   We   have seen   families   split   apart   by   divorce   restored.   We   have   seen   drunks   cleaned   up   and   young   people   by   the   thousands   receive Christ.   It   is   always   a   blessing   to   field   phone   calls   from   adults   that   rode   the   “blue   bus”   and   for   them   to   hear   that   their   bus   captain is   still   driving   the   bus   and   involved   in   the   bus   ministry.   One   of   the   most   memorable   times   for   me   since   I   became   pastor   was Christmas   2012   when   we   ran   our   buses   on   Saturday   and   saw   88   young   people   come   to   Christ.   May   we   never   get   over   seeing children   and   teenagers   coming   to   Christ!   It   is   a   miracle   of   grace   with   each   and   every   soul   saved.   I   am   challenged   as   I   think   of   the statistics   that   say   only   four   percent   of   the   youth   in   America   have   every   attended   a   Bible   believing   church   in   their   lifetime!   We have   failed   in   our   responsibility   to   fulfill   the   Great   Commission   in   our   generation.   It’s   time   we   recommit   ourselves   to   reaching   the lost!   So   many   ask   why   the   bus   ministry,   I   ask,   WHY   NOT?   What   other   ministry   allows   you   to   bring   dozens   or   even   hundreds   to church?   What   other   ministry   exhorts   workers   to   engage   in   the   effort   of   soul   winning   like   the   bus   ministry?   I   say   there   is   no   better time to jump in the bus ministry! It still can be done in 2014.   The   bus   ministry   is   an   investment,   an   investment   of   time,   money   and   resources.   It   is   a   ministry   that   sometimes   will   not   always result   in   “instant   gratification.”   It   takes   time   to   see   people   grow   and   be   disciple.   The   greatest   battle   I   believe   the   bus   ministry faces   is   fatigue.   Fatigue   can   sap   your   joy   and   cause   you   to   be   apathetic   and   complacent   about   what   you   are   doing.   There   is   no way   to   fix   this   other   than   for   every   worker   to   have   a   fresh   and   vibrant   walk   with   God.   You   can’t   live   on   yesterday’s   manna   yet   so many   are   picking   the   worms   out   of   yesterday’s   manna   rather   getting   something   fresh   from   God.   The   reality   is   no   bus,   bus ministry   or   church   can   be   successful   without   the   mighty   hand   of   God   on   it.   You   have   to   have   the   power   of   God.   Perhaps   the answer   to   a   struggling   bus   ministry   or   route   is   not   organization   or   a   program   but   rather   the   anointing   of   God   on   it!   When   is   the last   time   you   drove   through   your   bus   route   and   asked   God   to   give   you   favor   and   His   power?   When   is   the   last   time   you   prayed   for the   families   on   your   route   and   wrestled   with   God   and   begged   Him   for   His   touch?   I   am   convinced   that   many   Christians   and workers   get   discouraged   and   quit   because   they   are   so   busy   in   the   “work”   of   God   that   they   forget   the   God   of   the   work!   Get   in your prayer closet, bus worker, and don’t let go of Him until He blesses! When   I   think   of   the   benefits   of   the   bus   ministry   I   would   simply   say   that   the   bus ministry   cause s   you   to   recognize   that   you   are   not   the   only   one   who   has   needs. When   you   visit   an   area   and   knock   on   doors   you   realize   that   some   of   your problems   you   face   may   not   be   all   that   bad   compared   to   what   others   are   facing. When    you    pick    up    someone    else’s    burdens    you    have    to    drop    yours    and    I promise   you   Jesus   will   take   care   of   yours!   The   bus   ministry   keeps   that   cause   of soul    winning    and    discipleship    continual    before    the    people.    It    gives    many opportunities to reach out to those in need and to serve. Some   may   say   the   bus   ministry   is   a   fad   of   the   70’s   and   a   dying   ministry.   I   beg   to differ.   I   don’t   believe   we   have   ever   had   a   time   in   history   that   the   bus   ministry   is not   more   needed,   relevant   and   effective   than   today!   In   a   world   where   children are   forced   to   grow   up   before   their   time   and   where   little   ones   are   losing   the innocence   of   childhood   earlier   and   earlier   we   must   understand   the   urgency   of the    bus    ministry    in    our    generation.    While    many    good    churches    are    adding members,   I   believe   the   bus   ministry   allows   the   church   to   multiply!   It   is   my   opinion that   America   desperately   needs   1,000   churches   and   10,000   bus   routes   started!   I wonder, will you be the one to start? One   of   the   funniest   moments   I   remember   from   the   bus   ministry   is   when   our   bus director    decided    to    have    the    devil    come    to    Junior    Church.    Here    you    have several   hundred   children   in   a   school   auditorium   and   the   preacher   is   preaching and   out   jumps   the   devil.   Instead   of   “just”   screaming,   they   began   to   run   in   all   directions!   After   a   few   minutes   a   few   brave   souls decided they were not afraid of the devil and started to attack the devil. Needless to say, not the smartest of ideas! My   advice   for   anyone   wanting   to   start   a   bus   ministry   is   simple!   Pray,   prepare   and   preach   the   Word!   You   must   have   God’s   power. You   must   have   an   organized   program   and   visitation   plan.   And   you   must   preach   the   Word   of   God!   Dr.   Fugate’s   book,   “Church Growth   through   the   Bus   Ministry”   is   the   best   book   I   have   ever   read   on   the   bus   ministry.   Any   ministry   started   a   bus   ministry   should use this valuable tool to help start it right! When   I   think   of   promotions   and   programs   I   can   say   that   we   have   tried   nearly   everything   we   can   think   of.   Some   of   the   best promotions   we   have   had   that   really   gained   interest   has   been   our   annual   “Bible   Bucks   Store”   and   basic   promotions   such   a   pizza parties   and   picnics.   The   Bible   Bucks   store   is   just   as   it   sounds,   it   is   a   store   filled   with   all   kinds   of   items   from   the   dollar   store   to   more expensive   items.   Sunday   School   attenders   can   earn   Bible   bucks   for   bringing   visitors   to   Sunday   School,   bringing   their   Bibles, memorizing   their   Bible   verse,   etc.   This   has   been   a   great   tool   and   we   usually   promote   it   on   our   annual   Round   Up   Sunday.   I   believe there   is   one   basic   principle   to   remember.   People   like   to   eat   and   food   of   any   type   will   draw   a   crowd.   Some   of   our   biggest   days have   been   picnic   Sundays   when   we   simply   grill   out   with   hot   dogs   and   have   some   fun   with   games   and   slides   and   moon   bounces. Simple yet highly effective. When   it   comes   to   involvement   in   the   bus   ministry   it   is   imperative   that   the   ministry   is   highlighted   weekly.   We   have   a   significant group   of   our   people   involved   in   the   bus   &   van   ministry   so   it   is   often   the   source   of   amazing   stories   of   grace   and   many   times   an area   of   great   need   amongst   the   people.   We   encourage   our   folks   to   be   involved   in   the   bus   ministry   in   many   different   ways. Whether   it   is   running   a   program,   driving   a   bus,   visiting   a   route   or   praying   for   a   hedge   of   protection   it   is   a   team   effort   to   run   a   bus ministry.   I   believe   every   member   should   be   involved   in   some   facet   of   the   bus   ministry   because   it   is   one   of   focal   points   of executing a strategy of fulfilling the Great Commission. One   of   the   best   ways   to   build   a   route   is   to   get   families   on   the   route   to   get   involved   in   outreach.   I   remember   as   a   teenager bringing   dozens   of   people   to   church   because   my   family   was   responsible   for   the   street   we   were   on.   When   parents   get   involved   in the   community   through   your   bus   route   you   will   see   your   route   and   ministry   multiple   quickly.   You   are   also   planting   the   seed   for future   bus   captains!   People   want   to   be   involved   in   success.   Getting   parents   involved   will   give   you   a   greater   chance   of   success   on a route. We   have   been   blessed   with   a   great   bus   director.   Brother   Shank   was   saved   through   the   bus   ministry   and   has   a   heart   for   young people.   His   responsibilities   include   overseeing   bus   and   van   maintenance,   overseeing   junior   church   and   working   with   bus   captains in   the   area   of   visiting   and   discipleship.   I   believe   the   next   visitor   on   our   routes   very   well   could   be   the   next   pastors,   missionaries and   evangelists.   With   that   in   mind,   every   person   that   attends   should   be   treated   with   love   and   given   the   attention   they   need   to grow in Christ. Keeping   workers   motivated   is   an   area   we   must   continually   pay   attention   too.   As   I   mentioned   earlier   I   believe   the   best   motivator   is heart   on   fire   for   God.   Nothing   replaces   a   personal   devotional   life   with   Christ.   That   being   said,   I   also   believe   we   should   recognize workers   for   a   job   well   done.   No   matter   how   long   a   person   has   been   working   in   the   ministry   it   is   always   an   encouragement   to   be recognized. I   believe   there   is   a   place   in   the   bus   ministry   for   workers   of   all   ages!   We   have   workers   from   junior   age   to   seniors   working   the ministry.   I   believe   this   is   vital   to   a   healthy   bus   ministry.   If   all   your   workers   are   teenagers   than   the   risk   is   that   problems   will   be dealt   with   immaturely.   At   the   same   time   those   teenagers   bring   energy   and   excitement   that   our   seniors   may   not   be   able   to   bring. Balance is the key! We   give   discretion   to   our   bus   routes   and   captains   as   to   their   program   on   the   bus.   Generally   speaking   it   is   best   to   have   a   more subdued   program   on   the   way   to   church   so   the   children   are   prepared   and   not   too   hyped   up   to   settle   down   for   the   preaching.   On the   way   home,   the   program   should   be   exciting   and   energetic.   Successful   routes   have   energetic   programs.   I   remember   when   I first   started   riding   the   bus   to   church   how   enthusiastic   I   became   about   coming   to   church.   This   is   the   message   you   want   to   leave with your riders. Going to church is fun and exciting! Nothing   replaces   door   to   door   visitation.   I   would   also   say   that   many   new   riders   on   a   bus   route   or   even   those   that   attend   Sunday School   come   because   one   of   their   friends   invite   them.   We   have   often   had   promotions   that   recognize   those   who   bring   visitors   with them.   We   started   a   program   called   Operation   1000   two   years   ago   where   we   asked   for   our   folks   to   share   names   and   contact information   of   friends   and   family   in   the   area   that   do   not   go   to   church.   The   plan   is   to   acquire   1000   contacts   to   follow   up   on.   This follow   up   includes   visits,   email   contact   and   social   media   contacts.   We   even   created   a   “confidential   visit”   list   where   the   church member   wanted   us   to   visit   but   not   make   it   so   obvious   that   we   were   visiting   that   one   individual.   So   we   visit   the   whole   street!   After all they all need Jesus. We have seen people saved and coming to church because of this program. We   are   careful   about   putting   new   people   right   into   the   bus   ministry.   The   bus   ministry   is   labor   intensive   and   hard   work.   Because   of this   we   try   to   get   those   who   are   interested   in   the   bus   ministry   to   get   involved   in   ways   that   allow   them   to   continue   to   grow   in   the faith.   Our   expectation   is   that   all   workers   be   faithful   to   church   and   to   be   in   agreement   with   our   churches   doctrinal   statement.   Our workers   should   be   examples   of   the   believers   in   word   and   practice   and   not   be   a   contradiction   to   what   is   being   taught   and preached from the Word of God. We   have   a   disciplinary   process   to   handle   issues   that   arise   in   the   bus   ministry   and   any   other   part   of   the   ministry.   Our   bus   director takes   the   lead   in   all   discipline   issues   on   a   route   and   communication   with   parents   or   guardians   is   required   in   every   instance.   Any time   you   get   hundreds   of   children   and   teenagers   there   will   be   problems   at   time.   It   is   important   to   handle   issues   clearly   and decisively.   At   times,   it   may   be   necessary   to   suspend   riders   because   of   behavior.   Failure   to   deal   with   unruly   riders   will   kill   a   route quickly. When   it   comes   to   protections   for   the   bus   ministry   we   have   outlined   several   requirements   for   workers.   No   worker   should   ever   put their   hands   on   a   child.   No   worker   should   ever   be   alone   with   a   child.   It   is   as   simple   as   that.   Our   ministry   is   transparent   in   how   we deal with disciplinary problems and communication with parents is very important. A   solid   bus   program   will   alleviate   discipline   problems   because   the   children   are   involved.   Whether   it   is   walk   down   an   aisle   of   the bus   or   engaging   quieter   children   with   easy   to   answer   questions   it   is   important   to   get   everyone   involved.   I   have   found   that   games that   encourage   working   together   are   best.   If   they   will   work   together   on   the   route,   the   will   work   together   to   get   their   friends   to attend as well. As   a   pastor,   many   different   ministries   can   grab   your   time   and   attention.   For   me,   my   heart will   always   lean   toward   the   bus   ministry.   Thirty-one   years   ago   I   rode   the   bus   to   church   for the   first   time.   My   family   was   broken   apart   by   divorce   and   life   was   hard.   When   that   blue   bus picked   me   up   for   church...Jesus   came   with   it!   My   life   has   never   been   the   same.   One   year after   I   started   riding,   my   mom   and   dad   were   saved   and   remarried   each   other.   Twenty   six years   to   the   day   I   started   riding   the   bus   to   church   I   became   the   pastor   of   our   church.   How can   I   forget   the   bus   ministry?   Lord   willing,   I   hope   I   never   forget.   Every   once   in   a   while   I   drive down   West   Forest   Road   in   Landover,   Maryland   where   it   all   began   and   thank   God   for   the bus   ministry   and   for   my   bus   captain.   I   have   seen   God   transform   so   many   lives   through   the bus   ministry.   The   bus   ministry   of   WBC   produced   me   as   the   pastor,   our   bus   director,   and missionaries.   Scores   have   been   reached   through   the   bus   ministry.   Two   weeks   ago   on   of   our bus   kids   from   many   years   ago   got   his   CDL   and   drove   the   route   for   the   first   time.   The   bus ministry still works. That is why I say...KEEP THE BUSES ROLLING! Pastor William Tyson Woodlawn Baptist Church www.wbcbowie.org 301-792-2284

We are excited about this new project.

For   

many   

years   

Woodlawn   

Baptist   

Church   

has   

run

buses  

and  

vans  

into  

the  

community  

reaching  

families

with   

the   

gospel   

and   

giving   

them   

a   

way   

to   

attend

church.   

As   

a   

former   

“bus   

kid”   

myself,   

I   

know   

how

important  

church  

attendance  

and  

learning  

God’s  

plan

and  

will  

in  

my  

life  

were.  

I  

believe  

one  

of  

the  

areas

where  

we  

as  

Christians  

have  

fallen  

short  

is  

in  

the

area   

of   

discipleship.   

When   

we   

trusted   

Christ   

as

Saviour    

or    

when

we                  

lead

someone           

to

Christ  

the  

Great

Commission       

is

not  

completed.  

It

has just begun!

The    purpose    of buskids.org   is   to give   testimony   of the        wonderful impact      of      the bus     ministry     in ministries   across America    as    well as        provide        a forum   for   discipleship   for   our   “buskids”   in   this   new technological    generation!    We    will    continue    to    build content    and    add    materials    that    we    believe    will    be helpful   and   challenge   new   and   old   believers   alike   to continue in those Biblical paths laid out in Scripture! Pastor William Tyson

The Bus Ministry

Woodlawn   Baptist   Church   has   a   long   and   dedicated   history   to   the bus   ministry.   We   have   been   in   the   bus   ministry   for   35+   years   with many    workers    with    decades    of    committed    service    to    the    bus ministry.    The    bus    ministry    is    not    a    passing    fad    to    us,    it    is    a valuable   and   blessed   tool   in   reaching   our   area   for   Jesus   Christ. Over   the   years   we   have   had   over   765,000   riders   come   to   Sunday school   on   our   buses   and   vans.   We   currently   run   13   buses   and vans   every   Sunday   and   are   seeing   precious   souls   come   to   Christ every week. Our      bus      ministry was    started    by    Dr. Ron        Fenwick,        a tremendous          soul winner    and    a    man with   a   heart   for   lost souls.      Dr.      Fenwick was     influenced     by The     Sword     of     the Lord    and    ultimately was    encouraged    to start   a   bus   ministry by    Dr.    Wally    Beebe and           Dr.           Jim Vineyard.            After attending   a   Pastor’s School    in    Hammond, Indiana,    Dr.    Fenwick purchased      several buses   and   our   bus   ministry   was   started!   Scores   of   people   were saved   and   many   became   workers   in   our   bus   ministry.   We   have been    blessed    to    have    what    I    believe    are    the    greatest    bus workers   in   America!   We   have   nearly   a   dozen   workers   with   over 25   years   of   experience   in   the   bus   ministry.   This   is   a   life-long commitment to the Great Commission for us! We   have   had   so   many   wonderful   days   in   the   bus   ministry   over   the years.    Every    year,    we    have    Round    Up    Sunday    and    on    many occasions   we   have   had   over   1000   riders   on   a   big   day.   Our   biggest day   saw   1317   riders   on   our   bus   ministry   led   by   our   former   Bus Director   Steve   Messersmith.   From   our   records   we   know   that   our bus   captains   have   had   100   riders   on   their   bus   route   230   times, over   200,   14   times   and   over   300   one   time!   Promotions   and   events have   varied   from   a   bike   rider   jumping   buses   to   a   100   foot   banana split!   We   have   given   go-karts,   bicycles   and   game   systems   away. Some   will   question   the   “promotion”   but   if   I   can   get   people   under the sound of the gospel I believe it is worth it! One   of   the   greatest   blessings   for   me   as   pastor   is   to   see   the   lives of   people   transformed   by   the   power   of   the   gospel.   We   have   seen families   split   apart   by   divorce   restored.   We   have   seen   drunks cleaned   up   and   young   people   by   the   thousands   receive   Christ.   It is   always   a   blessing   to   field   phone   calls   from   adults   that   rode   the “blue   bus”   and   for   them   to   hear   that   their   bus   captain   is   still driving   the   bus   and   involved   in   the   bus   ministry.   One   of   the   most memorable   times   for   me   since   I   became   pastor   was   Christmas 2012    when    we    ran    our    buses    on    Saturday    and    saw    88    young people   come   to   Christ.   May   we   never   get   over   seeing   children and   teenagers   coming   to   Christ!   It   is   a   miracle   of   grace   with   each and   every   soul   saved.   I   am   challenged   as   I   think   of   the   statistics that   say   only   four   percent   of   the   youth   in   America   have   every attended   a   Bible   believing   church   in   their   lifetime!   We   have   failed in    our    responsibility    to    fulfill    the    Great    Commission    in    our generation.   It’s   time   we   recommit   ourselves   to   reaching   the   lost! So   many   ask   why   the   bus   ministry,   I   ask,   WHY   NOT?   What   other ministry   allows   you   to   bring   dozens   or   even   hundreds   to   church? What   other   ministry   exhorts   workers   to   engage   in   the   effort   of soul   winning   like   the   bus   ministry?   I   say   there   is   no   better   time   to jump in the bus ministry! It still can be done in 2014.   The   bus   ministry   is   an   investment,   an   investment   of   time,   money and    resources.    It    is    a    ministry    that    sometimes    will    not    always result   in   “instant   gratification.”   It   takes   time   to   see   people   grow and   be   disciple.   The   greatest   battle   I   believe   the   bus   ministry faces   is   fatigue.   Fatigue   can   sap   your   joy   and   cause   you   to   be apathetic   and   complacent   about   what   you   are   doing.   There   is   no way   to   fix   this   other   than   for   every   worker   to   have   a   fresh   and vibrant   walk   with   God.   You   can’t   live   on   yesterday’s   manna   yet   so many   are   picking   the   worms   out   of   yesterday’s   manna   rather getting    something    fresh    from    God.    The    reality    is    no    bus,    bus ministry   or   church   can   be   successful   without   the   mighty   hand   of God    on    it.    You    have    to    have    the    power    of    God.    Perhaps    the answer   to   a   struggling   bus   ministry   or   route   is   not   organization or   a   program   but   rather   the   anointing   of   God   on   it!   When   is   the last   time   you   drove   through   your   bus   route   and   asked   God   to give   you   favor   and   His   power?   When   is   the   last   time   you   prayed for   the   families   on   your   route   and   wrestled   with   God   and   begged Him    for    His    touch?    I    am    convinced    that    many    Christians    and workers   get   discouraged   and   quit   because   they   are   so   busy   in the   “work”   of   God   that   they   forget   the   God   of   the   work!   Get   in your   prayer   closet,   bus   worker,   and   don’t   let   go   of   Him   until   He blesses! When   I   think   of   the   benefits   of   the   bus   ministry   I   would   simply   say that   the   bus   ministry   cause s   you   to   recognize   that   you   are   not the   only   one   who   has   needs.   When   you   visit   an   area   and   knock   on doors      you      realize      that some     of     your     problems you    face    may    not    be    all that     bad     compared     to what     others     are     facing. When        you        pick        up someone     else’s     burdens you    have    to    drop    yours and    I    promise    you    Jesus will    take    care    of    yours! The     bus     ministry     keeps that   cause   of   soul   winning and    discipleship    continual before   the   people.   It   gives many       opportunities       to reach   out   to   those   in   need and to serve. Some   may   say   the   bus   ministry   is   a   fad   of   the   70’s   and   a   dying ministry.   I   beg   to   differ.   I   don’t   believe   we   have   ever   had   a   time   in history   that   the   bus   ministry   is   not   more   needed,   relevant   and effective   than   today!   In   a   world   where   children   are   forced   to grow   up   before   their   time   and   where   little   ones   are   losing   the innocence   of   childhood   earlier   and   earlier   we   must   understand the   urgency   of   the   bus   ministry   in   our   generation.   While   many good   churches   are   adding   members,   I   believe   the   bus   ministry allows    the    church    to    multiply!    It    is    my    opinion    that    America desperately   needs   1,000   churches   and   10,000   bus   routes   started!   I wonder, will you be the one to start? One   of   the   funniest   moments   I   remember   from   the   bus   ministry   is when   our   bus   director   decided   to   have   the   devil   come   to   Junior Church.    Here    you    have    several    hundred    children    in    a    school auditorium    and    the    preacher    is    preaching    and    out    jumps    the devil.    Instead    of    “just”    screaming,    they    began    to    run    in    all directions!   After   a   few   minutes   a   few   brave   souls   decided   they were    not    afraid    of    the    devil    and    started    to    attack    the    devil. Needless to say, not the smartest of ideas! My   advice   for   anyone   wanting   to   start   a   bus   ministry   is   simple! Pray,   prepare   and   preach   the   Word!   You   must   have   God’s   power. You   must   have   an   organized   program   and   visitation   plan.   And   you must   preach   the   Word   of   God!   Dr.   Fugate’s   book,   “Church   Growth through   the   Bus   Ministry”   is   the   best   book   I   have   ever   read   on   the bus   ministry.   Any   ministry   started   a   bus   ministry   should   use   this valuable tool to help start it right! When   I   think   of   promotions   and   programs   I   can   say   that   we   have tried    nearly    everything    we    can    think    of.    Some    of    the    best promotions   we   have   had   that   really   gained   interest   has   been   our annual    “Bible    Bucks    Store”    and    basic    promotions    such    a    pizza parties   and   picnics.   The   Bible   Bucks   store   is   just   as   it   sounds,   it   is a   store   filled   with   all   kinds   of   items   from   the   dollar   store   to   more expensive   items.   Sunday   School   attenders   can   earn   Bible   bucks for    bringing    visitors    to    Sunday    School,    bringing    their    Bibles, memorizing   their   Bible   verse,   etc.   This   has   been   a   great   tool   and we   usually   promote   it   on   our   annual   Round   Up   Sunday.   I   believe there   is   one   basic   principle   to   remember.   People   like   to   eat   and food   of   any   type   will   draw   a   crowd.   Some   of   our   biggest   days have   been   picnic   Sundays   when   we   simply   grill   out   with   hot   dogs and   have   some   fun   with   games   and   slides   and   moon   bounces. Simple yet highly effective. When   it   comes   to   involvement   in   the   bus   ministry   it   is   imperative that    the    ministry    is    highlighted    weekly.    We    have    a    significant group   of   our   people   involved   in   the   bus   &   van   ministry   so   it   is often   the   source   of   amazing   stories   of   grace   and   many   times   an area   of   great   need   amongst   the   people.   We   encourage   our   folks to   be   involved   in   the   bus   ministry   in   many   different   ways.   Whether it   is   running   a   program,   driving   a   bus,   visiting   a   route   or   praying for   a   hedge   of   protection   it   is   a   team   effort   to   run   a   bus   ministry. I   believe   every   member   should   be   involved   in   some   facet   of   the bus    ministry    because    it    is    one    of    focal    points    of    executing    a strategy of fulfilling the Great Commission. One   of   the   best   ways   to   build   a   route   is   to   get   families   on   the route   to   get   involved   in   outreach.   I   remember   as   a   teenager bringing    dozens    of    people    to    church    because    my    family    was responsible    for    the    street    we    were    on.    When    parents    get involved   in   the   community   through   your   bus   route   you   will   see your   route   and   ministry   multiple   quickly.   You   are   also   planting   the seed    for    future    bus    captains!    People    want    to    be    involved    in success.   Getting   parents   involved   will   give   you   a   greater   chance of success on a route. We   have   been   blessed   with   a   great   bus   director.   Brother   Shank was   saved   through   the   bus   ministry   and   has   a   heart   for   young people.    His    responsibilities    include    overseeing    bus    and    van maintenance,    overseeing    junior    church    and    working    with    bus captains   in   the   area   of   visiting   and   discipleship.   I   believe   the   next visitor    on    our    routes    very    well    could    be    the    next    pastors, missionaries   and   evangelists.   With   that   in   mind,   every   person   that attends   should   be   treated   with   love   and   given   the   attention   they need to grow in Christ. Keeping   workers   motivated   is   an   area   we   must   continually   pay attention   too.   As   I   mentioned   earlier   I   believe   the   best   motivator is   heart   on   fire   for   God.   Nothing   replaces   a   personal   devotional life    with    Christ.    That    being    said,    I    also    believe    we    should recognize   workers   for   a   job   well   done.   No   matter   how   long   a person     has     been     working     in     the     ministry     it     is     always     an encouragement to be recognized. I   believe   there   is   a   place   in   the   bus   ministry   for   workers   of   all ages!   We   have   workers   from   junior   age   to   seniors   working   the ministry.   I   believe   this   is   vital   to   a   healthy   bus   ministry.   If   all   your workers   are   teenagers   than   the   risk   is   that   problems   will   be   dealt with   immaturely.   At   the   same   time   those   teenagers   bring   energy and   excitement   that   our   seniors   may   not   be   able   to   bring.   Balance is the key! We   give   discretion   to   our   bus   routes   and   captains   as   to   their program   on   the   bus.   Generally   speaking   it   is   best   to   have   a   more subdued    program    on    the    way    to    church    so    the    children    are prepared   and   not   too   hyped   up   to   settle   down   for   the   preaching. On   the   way   home,   the   program   should   be   exciting   and   energetic. Successful   routes   have   energetic   programs.   I   remember   when   I first   started   riding   the   bus   to   church   how   enthusiastic   I   became about   coming   to   church.   This   is   the   message   you   want   to   leave with your riders. Going to church is fun and exciting! Nothing   replaces   door   to   door   visitation.   I   would   also   say   that many   new   riders   on   a   bus   route   or   even   those   that   attend   Sunday School   come   because   one   of   their   friends   invite   them.   We   have often   had   promotions   that   recognize   those   who   bring   visitors with   them.   We   started   a   program   called   Operation   1000   two   years ago   where   we   asked   for   our   folks   to   share   names   and   contact information   of   friends   and   family   in   the   area   that   do   not   go   to church.   The   plan   is   to   acquire   1000   contacts   to   follow   up   on.   This follow   up   includes   visits,   email   contact   and   social   media   contacts. We    even    created    a    “confidential    visit”    list    where    the    church member   wanted   us   to   visit   but   not   make   it   so   obvious   that   we were   visiting   that   one   individual.   So   we   visit   the   whole   street! After   all   they   all   need   Jesus.   We   have   seen   people   saved   and coming to church because of this program. We    are    careful    about    putting    new    people    right    into    the    bus ministry.    The    bus    ministry    is    labor    intensive    and    hard    work. Because   of   this   we   try   to   get   those   who   are   interested   in   the   bus ministry   to   get   involved   in   ways   that   allow   them   to   continue   to grow   in   the   faith.   Our   expectation   is   that   all   workers   be   faithful   to church    and    to    be    in    agreement    with    our    churches    doctrinal statement.   Our   workers   should   be   examples   of   the   believers   in word   and   practice   and   not   be   a   contradiction   to   what   is   being taught and preached from the Word of God. We   have   a   disciplinary   process   to   handle   issues   that   arise   in   the bus   ministry   and   any   other   part   of   the   ministry.   Our   bus   director takes     the     lead     in     all     discipline     issues     on     a     route     and communication   with   parents   or   guardians   is   required   in   every instance.   Any   time   you   get   hundreds   of   children   and   teenagers there   will   be   problems   at   time.   It   is   important   to   handle   issues clearly   and   decisively.   At   times,   it   may   be   necessary   to   suspend riders   because   of   behavior.   Failure   to   deal   with   unruly   riders   will kill a route quickly. When    it    comes    to    protections    for    the    bus    ministry    we    have outlined    several    requirements    for    workers.    No    worker    should ever   put   their   hands   on   a   child.   No   worker   should   ever   be   alone with   a   child.   It   is   as   simple   as   that.   Our   ministry   is   transparent   in how   we   deal   with   disciplinary   problems   and   communication   with parents is very important. A   solid   bus   program   will   alleviate   discipline   problems   because   the children   are   involved.   Whether   it   is   walk   down   an   aisle   of   the   bus or   engaging   quieter   children   with   easy   to   answer   questions   it   is important   to   get   everyone   involved.   I   have   found   that   games   that encourage   working   together   are   best.   If   they   will   work   together on   the   route,   the   will   work   together   to   get   their   friends   to   attend as well. As   a   pastor,   many   different ministries     can     grab     your time   and   attention.   For   me, my    heart    will    always    lean toward     the     bus     ministry. Thirty-one   years   ago   I   rode the    bus    to    church    for    the first    time.    My    family    was broken     apart     by     divorce and    life    was    hard.    When that   blue   bus   picked   me   up for       church...Jesus       came with    it!    My    life    has    never been    the    same.    One    year after    I    started    riding,    my mom    and    dad    were    saved and   remarried   each   other.   Twenty   six   years   to   the   day   I   started riding   the   bus   to   church   I   became   the   pastor   of   our   church.   How can   I   forget   the   bus   ministry?   Lord   willing,   I   hope   I   never   forget. Every   once   in   a   while   I   drive   down   West   Forest   Road   in   Landover, Maryland   where   it   all   began   and   thank   God   for   the   bus   ministry and   for   my   bus   captain.   I   have   seen   God   transform   so   many   lives through   the   bus   ministry.   The   bus   ministry   of   WBC   produced   me as   the   pastor,   our   bus   director,   and   missionaries.   Scores   have been   reached   through   the   bus   ministry.   Two   weeks   ago   on   of   our bus   kids   from   many   years   ago   got   his   CDL   and   drove   the   route for    the    first    time.    The    bus    ministry    still    works.    That    is    why    I say...KEEP THE BUSES ROLLING! Pastor William Tyson Woodlawn Baptist Church www.wbcbowie.org 301-792-2284
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