How to Grow Your Bus Ministry
By: Tim Massengale
Question: How can we see our bus ministry grow? We only have about six riders every Sunday. I want to see our bus filled up! Any suggestions?
Answer: Yes! I suggest you plan at least six bus ministry attendance drives per year. Use a variety of methods. Here are some promotional methods to consider.
1. Team-Based Sunday School Attendance Contest
Promotion is planned around a special event (for example, a drama on Easter or a Sunday School picnic and service in the park on Pentecost Sunday). Start six weeks before the event. Divide the church into two or three equal teams. Make a list of entire church membership – even occasional attendees. Let the team members select their own team, taking turns picking families. Do not divide families if possible. Let team captains choose families, and then use singles to balance up teams at the end. Divide up the bus riders also.
Each team is given a good team captain. Each team comes up with a name, team color, team logo, slogan, etc. This builds team identity. Team excitement is key. Teams meet in private rooms after Sunday evening service and/or Bible study night. The team plans its strategy on how they will bring the most visitors the coming Sunday. It is strongly recommended that each team be assigned a bus. This may require borrowing or renting one or two extra buses for the duration of the contest. If you use only one bus, each team gets to count the riders they find and are picked up.
The team goal is to bring the most visitors, and fill up the bus(es). The team meeting is absolutely critical to the success of this kind of contest. Saturday door knocking and visitation to get bus kids is pretty standard for each team. Each team plans their own method to get visitors and kids. Prizes and giveaways are done on the buses.
Time is given on Sunday night to announce the winning team. Each team leader testifies and encourages team. At the end of the contest, the team with the most visitors (including bus kids) wins. The winning team is served dinner by losing teams. Steak for winners, hamburgers for losers.
2. Friend Sunday
3. Classroom Contest
The emphasis is “friends bringing friends.” Each child selects two or three kids they are going to try and bring the next Sunday. Call them several times during the week to encourage them to follow through. Award prizes for winning team.
4. Bus Saturday Visitation
5. Regular Special Sunday Promotions
6. Reach Out to Parents
7. Annual Children’s Crusade
8. Visit a Church with a Growing, Successful Bus Ministry
In all the above, good follow-up is essential. Once a child comes on the bus, or is a potential bus rider, getting good follow up information, sending a welcome postcard, meeting parents, and contacting them whenever they are absent are basics of building a good bus ministry.