By James Rasbeary
I love the bus ministry. I thank God for the bus ministry.
For many years, the bus ministry was a staple in many independent Baptist churches. Now, many church buses have either been scrapped or parked in the tall grass behind the church.
Perhaps we have forgotten the real purpose of running buses. The bus ministry is certainly a complicated and difficult one, requiring drivers, captains, helpers, insurance, expensive fuel, and maintenance.
It is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Hours of work are needed. The children also require extra attention and work by those in the children’s ministries, and some of the kids are nearly parent-less and thus undisciplined. Strict guidelines and protections must be put in place for their protection.
But is it worth it? Why have a bus ministry at all?
Allow me to suggest 7 reasons:
1. To win souls
Statistics tell us that the vast majority of people who get saved do so before age 18, and the majority of those get saved before age 12. Jesus did not say for children to become like adults to get saved, but for adults to become as little children (Mark 10:15). The bus ministry has proven itself as one of the greatest soul-winning tools the church has at its disposal.
2. To fill God’s house
God wants His house to be filled. Go after everyone you can find – and out into the highways and hedges. Compel them to come in. God gets no glory from an empty pew, an empty chair, an empty classroom, an empty baptistery, or an empty bus.
3. To provide an opportunity for church members to serve
The bus ministry itself is an area of service; but it also involves teachers and other people in the work of the ministry. Even children can serve in the bus ministry; my kids have been in buses and vans all their lives, and have learned to serve and love the kids who ride the buses.
4. To reach new families
Yes, bus kids have parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. that can be reached with the gospel through their children and often become faithful, serving families in the church.
5. To practice pure religion
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
6. To exercise compassion (Jude 22), ministering to those who can do nothing in return
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:13-14).
7. To influence children for Christ and good
In our society, many children will have no Christian influence at all unless we can either reach them with their parents – or reach them without their parents. Those who ride our bus will be cared about by dedicated, kind, Christian people; they will hear the Ten Commandments quoted each week; they will hear prayer; they will hear the gospel; they will hear Bible lessons and messages.
These are some reasons why my church runs buses and will continue to do so in the future. I would encourage you to consider the opportunity still available in America. And, if you are considering parking your bus in the tall grass because of the cost of diesel, insurance, or tires, or the difficulty in finding dedicated workers, I hope that these points will cause you to at least reconsider.
James Rasbeary is the pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Wylie, Texas.