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How to Get the Most Out of Your Church Bus
By: Ashley Wilkins

Many churches would like to consider buying a church bus for regular use. Special events and retreats can be amplified when the congregation can ride together. A motivational message or the joyous atmosphere can bring everyone closer. But one problem churches may face, especially those with less independent events, is what to do with your bus on the days itís not in use. A church may only need a bus a few weekends out of the year or for seasonal events. Luckily, there is one option that could work favorably for not only the church, but also the local community.

Churches may consider partnering with a local private school to transport students on field trips or to team sporting events via the church bus. Some private schools do not provide bus transport for their students to and from school, leaving them without adequate transportation for large-scale events when necessary. Partnering with a school allows them use of the vehicle for those important events when a large portion of the school needs to be involved.

When contacting the school offer the bus for use at one or two events. This will allow the school to test the idea. They may find the idea of bus cumbersome at first, but later realize the added benefits of only having to organize one vehicle instead of dozens. Allowing the school a short trial period can also keep both parties from entering into agreements too hastily. Should the parties find that schedules are agreeable, it can be easy to transition into a formal, longstanding agreement.

During the school year, the church bus can be kept active during the week. Sports games, field trips, and other activities happen mostly Monday through Friday. This allows the bus to be accessible on weekends to shuttle the congregation to weekend church events. One major benefit of partnering with a local school is it allows your bus to be available throughout summer months for activities such as vacation bible school or extended summer retreats.

Another person who will find this agreement favorable is the bus driver. Whether a contractor or a member of the congregation, they will be glad to serve two clients with ample schedules instead of waiting around for a call.

One more option to keep a church bus occupied is to partner with another local, non-profit organization. The non-profit may have event in mind, but not a large enough budget to continually operate a bus or the extended need to own a bus. The non-profit could only need the bus for a few days of the year, leaving the bus free for congregation use most of the year.

How a Mini Bus Will Help Your Church Ministry Grow
Whether youíre the leader of a new congregation or an experienced church pastor, buying a bus can be a huge undertaking. The environment of your church before, during, and after the purchase will all play into the purchase of a church bus. Youíll want to think about how you will be able to use your church bus long after youíve made the purchase.

Transportation for All
There are likely people who want to come to your church, but just don't have a car or any way to get there. Maybe they can walk, but it would be a great blessing for them to be able to have a ride once in awhile, or even every Sunday. You can show the love of Jesus in this way by reaching out a helping hand and showing, rather than just telling them that you care about their comfort and well being.

Greater Flexibility
With a mini bus, you have the ability to carry seven to fourteen passengers at one time, with more ease than a large van or even a larger bus. It rides on more miles per gallon of gas than a larger vehicle, which means more money left over to spend on other important ways to expand the Kingdom of God. And since there's no need for getting or having a Commercial Drivers License, you can save time and money. Without a CDL, just about any member of your congregation can learn to drive your church bus.

Summer Transportation
When your church is having a summer youth camp, for example, a mini bus is a great way to travel. Maybe you've been trying to think of a type of transportation that would be helpful for this area of your ministry. Maybe God has already put it on your heart that this is what you should be doing. For whatever reason, this is a great opportunity to expand your youth ministry.

Outreach Possibilities
Mini buses are also great for travel when you visit places for evangelistic outreach. Such as hospitals, senior centers, retirement homes, youth centers, jails, and rehabilitation centers. Regardless of whether or not you plan on doing outreach in your local area, or somewhere even further, it's a great idea to have a bus to transport you to the next location.

Maybe you've prayed about, or the Lord has put it on your heart to go on a daylong mission trip. This is a convenient way to travel just as it is for outreach, because your other option is pretty much for each individual to drive to the location. This option, however, saves time and gas for many people.

Owning a mini bus is a wonderful way for you to fulfill your calling for leading more and more people to Jesus and helping your ministry grow. Events that used to be off limits to some of your faithful churchgoers are now accessible to them.

The ministry opportunities are endless. It's important to show our brothers and sisters in Christ that we love them and that they matter, and driving them to church is a nice way that they will be grateful for.

Ashley Wilkins is with Creative Bus Sales, www.creativebussales.com.

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