Pastor William Tyson
When I think of the bus ministry, I think of the Great Commission. Every Sunday at Woodlawn Baptist Church, 13 buses and vans go out into the highways and edges bringing boys and girls to Sunday school. Running a bus ministry and being effective at it requires dedication, time and the power of God! We have been blessed over the years to have many men and women who are committed to the bus ministry and are willing to work and pay the price to reach the lost for Christ.
Sadly, we are living in a time when individuals and even churches want immediate “returns” on our investment and are seeking what we perceive as instant gratification. I am reminded of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” The bus ministry is an investment. It is an investment of time, money and resources. To develop a successful route requires time in prayer, time in preparation and time in visitation.
If you are struggling in the bus ministry or with your bus route, before you scramble to find that next promotion, invest some time in seeking God’s power. You can’t have a successful route or ministry without the touch of God. Ask God to help you see your route as He sees it. May I challenge you to walk or drive your route and pray for God’s power on your ministry. We need some bus directors, bus captains and bus workers who will wrestle with God until His power falls on their route. We look back to yesteryear and say those were the “good ole years.” I happen to believe our greatest days are ahead of us! As the statement has often been made, “Little prayer, little power, much prayer, much power.” How much time have you invested in your prayer closet for your bus route or ministry?
After prayer, preparation is vital! You must be organized and have a prepared plan to reach and disciple your riders! The bus program on the way to and from church is not a time to rest, rather it is a time to disciple and mentor. I remember many Sundays with my bus captain and his wife as they got involved in our lives. Are you prepared for your bus ministry or route? Do you have a vision for what God can do? I believe we must have an excited program on the bus, a powerful message and do all things “decently and in order!”
Nothing replaces visitation! Your route or ministry will not grow unless you invest time reaching out and knocking on doors. I learned a long time ago, the work of God is WORK! Nothing replaces good old fashion work!
When it comes to the bus ministry there are three principles to consider when making the investment in this ministry.
First we must consider the reality…the reality is that we are living in a generation of the spiritually illiterate. I have heard studies that show that four percent of young people have EVER been to a gospel preaching church of any type in America. We wonder why society continues to spiral into godlessness. Plainly stated, we have failed our mandate to fulfill the Great Commission. We have failed to disciple our converts. We have failed to pass the baton of faith to the next generation! It’s time that every church in America recommit themselves to the Great Commission. One way to do this is the bus ministry. The Bus Ministry is a wonderful way to reach families, teenagers and children. A vibrant bus route can often reach as many people as the average church. The question I must ask pastors and churches is not why should you have a bus ministry, but WHY NOT?
Consider the results of the bus ministry. When you invest in the bus ministry, it is an investment worth making. We have reached many families over the last 30+ years in the bus ministry. Through our bus ministry we have seen marriages restored, young men called into the ministry and thousands saved. Every week we see visitors come to church for the first time, and because of this they hear and respond to the Gospel message. In order to see this return, we must invest in the cause of discipleship. Bus kids need your time. They need to be taught what the Scripture says. They should be challenged to study the Word of God for themselves. The Scripture says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Understand that many of them are in a public school setting where they are taught lessons and principles contrary to Scripture. You have them in church for a few hours a week while they are in school being taught evolution and unbiblical teachings the majority of their waking hours. In order to see results in the bus ministry, you need to treat the bus ministry as a life commitment, NOT a Sunday only passing fad.
For many years my wife taught our junior girls class. She averaged 70-90 junior girls every week for nearly 20 years. She was successful at it because it was her ministry every day of the week, not just on Sunday! Because of this investment, the class she once taught is now being taught by girls who were in her class. Sometimes you may get weary in the bus ministry. Just keep pressing on! Exactly 26 years after I started riding the bus I became the pastor. Years of faithfulness of my bus captain resulted in the next pastor of our church. Next month the Pape family leaves for the Dominican Republic to begin ministry there. We are excited and honored to be their sending church. Cynthia was saved because of the bus ministry. For many years our buses and vans picked up a young Indian boy named, Shank. Shank is now our bus director. A few Sundays ago a young man saved in our bus ministry drove a bus for the first time after getting his CDL. I can go on and on about the results of the bus ministry. Let me simply say, if one person were saved it would all be worth it, but the facts are thousands have been saved. We have had 765,000 people ride our vans and buses to church. Scores of families have been touched by the bus ministry of WBC. The work is our responsibility and the results are GOD’s! HE ALWAYS DELIVERS!
Lastly, I think of the rewards of the bus ministry. I believe Jesus is coming soon! One day we will stand before the Lord and we shall be rewarded for our work and labor of love! May I remind you that Jesus sees all that you are doing. You may not see immediate results from your work in the bus ministry, but God sees the impact you are making. One day, through your faithful and consistent service, you will hear those words from our precious Saviour. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I believe we will all be able to say the words of the famous song as it relates to the bus ministry “…it will be worth it all when we see Jesus!”
The Bus ministry! IT CAN STILL BE DONE!! Make the investment!
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley