Is the Bus Ministry ....

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by wpe3bql, May 29, 2015.

  1. wpe3bql

    wpe3bql
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    .... dying out?

    I've been connected with churches that have had a fairly active bus ministry, but now these churches have discontinued them. (During my times with them, I was quite active in the bus ministry.)

    Various reasons have been given for this (financing, lack of congregational interest, etc.).

    So ..... is there any hope of re-activating a bus ministry in churches that once had them, but no longer do?
     
  2. JonC

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    At one time we had several churches who had a bus ministry. Now, I don't know of one. Perhaps churches don't want to take on the liability?
     
  3. Salty

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    I would say a big part of it is probably just the money.
    First, the cost to acquire the bus
    Second, having the bus to meet State/Commonwealth safety standards
    Third - regular maintenance
    Fourth - Insurance rates
    Fifth - Training for new drivers
    Sixth - cost of fuel -especially if it uses DF
     
  4. wpe3bql

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    I suppose there's also liability issues too.

    Some 20 or so years ago, a friend who helped me in the bus ministry returned to his home area and began a bus route in his home city.

    One Sunday he was driving that bus along a busy street. He had no other adult helpers as he was on his way to return his bus riders to their homes.

    One child became disruptive which led my friend having to turn around from his driver's seat to try to settle down that disruptive child. As he did, he failed to see that the green light ahead had now turned red. A second later his bus plowed into a car that had just entered the intersection.

    As a result of this, a little child was fatally injured.

    My friend was taken to court by that child's family.

    You can imagine the results.
     
  5. SaggyWoman

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    Sometimes bus ministries are present for a season. It is okay to let that season pass.

    Some churches have a van ministry. Others do not. Seasons come and go. It is okay.
     
  6. wpe3bql

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    This isn't a criticism but a sincere question.

    Just when does a church know when the season to get rid of the bus ministry begins?
     
  7. JonC

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    I think that we need to evaluate our methods and program on a continual basis. Not only with Scripture, but also with its effectiveness. There came a time in my church where the bus ministry could no longer be considered being a good steward of time and money. Don't get me wrong, we still bring people to church who need rides. But we found ways that were better as our circumstances changed.
     
  8. wpe3bql

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    Would you be so kind as to supply me with some specific examples of how your church has implemented to "replace" your church's bus ministry?

    Thanks and God Bless you and your church! :thumbsup:
     
  9. JonC

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    Most churches in my area have replaced the bus ministry with vans, or individuals picking up people. I like the idea of individuals picking up people as they come to church because it builds relationships.

    That said, there is no longer the influx of youth without parents attending. When we had bus ministries I think that more youth attended. I don't know if this would be the case today. We have undergone many changes in our culture, and the bus ministry is only one.
     
  10. wpe3bql

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    Thanks JonC!! :applause:
     
  11. SaggyWoman

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    One of the churches I was at that had an active active bus ministry began to see a decline in riders (for whatever reason), a decline in workers (both in driving, riders, and visitors) so there became a "natural" if you want to call it that, letting go or cutting back of the ministry.

    Another church, it depended on the need of riders.
     
  12. nailah783

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    I think that the way to get them back would be dependent on why it was stopped in the first place. If it was stopped because there wasn't enough people that had interest in it might have a different answer to if it was stopped because the bus broke down and there are no funds to fix it. The short answer to the question is yes it can be done, but it depends.
     
  13. Kevin

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    .
     
    #13 Kevin, Oct 22, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  14. wpe3bql

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    This is very true!

    While the pastor of the church of which I was a member from 1972 - c. 1986 believed in reaching out to our "Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria," it seemed that his concept of these 3 areas was a "fantasy" more than a reality. Where he thought the bus ministry should be focused, no families were interested in having their child/children ride on the buses! ["We already go 'somewhere else' was their standard reply." In reality, most of that 'somewhere else' usually amounted to going back to bed.]

    The demographic of our area proved that the better "field" was with military families who were stationed at this nearby military installation. That was where you'd find families who had no ties to where Uncle Sam sent them. Yes, "they weren't from around here," BUT they are here now--why not reach out to them and, if nothing else, plant the seed of the Gospel in them/their children while they are here? (See 1 Cor. 3:6-7)

    While the pastor wasn't a military vet, I was one (At that time I already had 4.5 yrs. of Active Duty.), and I knew what these people who served to protect "our" freedom to worship" have gone through. Eventually he & "the powers that be" in that church relented and allowed the bus ministry to pursue "them folks."

    I could tell story after story of the blessings that God allowed me to receive while ministering to "them folks." Just because their home ZIP code was different than "ours" doesn't matter a bit because each one of them has a soul.

    I remember one little 6 YO girl who was a 3.5 foot evangelist when she went w/ her mother to the grocery store. Down each aisle, she'd walk up to the other store customers and ask, "Do you love Jesus?" She hadn't yet learned that "Proper Christians" don't ask embarrassing questions like that to "strangers." Her mother told her, "Honey, don't bother these people here. They didn't come to this store to be asked such personal questions from a little girl like you. Okay sweetie?"

    She turned to her mother, and, as only a little child could do, she looked "Mommie" square in her face and asked her, "Mommie, do YOU love Jesus?"

    "Of course I do," she answered back.

    "Mommie, if you really do, why don't you ride on the bus with me, and bring my baby brother with you?"

    Every Sunday after that, [Unless there 'real' sicknesses, etc.,] "Mommie," baby brother, and she were on the bus! Who said that "A little child shall lead them" isn't for these days?

    There were also times of heartbreak.

    Like the time when a call came to me asking if I could come out to that very same trailer court to console a mother whose infant child had just succumbed to SIDS that morning.

    I'm not a highly-trained grief counselor,,,, in fact, I'm not a person who's "called to preach."

    But, thank God, seven years prior to that, the very One who, as Isaiah wrote, I was saved by the One who was the One who bore "our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Is. 53:4), and, therefore, I could direct this mother to Him, and assure her that her infant son is now completely healed of any/all diseases he could have otherwise contracted. And, ma'am, if you trust in that same Jesus who called your baby son home, you'll see him again, and rejoice with him at the feet of your Creator and Savior.

    Yes, I could have spent Saturdays doing other things, and Sundays relaxing after a fine meal, but it's more important to me to be involved in more important things.
     
  15. wpe3bql

    wpe3bql
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    The series of incidents that took place in the mid-1980s about which I'm going to post here is one of those "things" I'll never forget.

    Picture in your mind a beautiful 8 YO girl with a smile that would win over even the "coldest" adult. Once you do that, add her name---"Krissy" (Short for Christina [Note the first 5 letters in her "full name,"]).

    Krissy rode on my bus for several months in 1985, and occasionally she'd have her 3 YO brother Ronnie with her.

    As is common with most bus captains/workers, I spent most of my Saturdays visiting the homes of the riders to determine whether or not they were coming on Sunday morning. Of course, you spend a few minutes playing with them as well.

    Since the military base on which Krissy lived was a good 20 miles both directions, this afforded me the opportunity to "visit" with most all of the riders. Most would produce their works of art they made in SS, and, of course, I would tell them how great their artistic abilities were and have them tell me what the pictures represented. (Anyone familiar with children in that age spectrum knows that they'll want to tell any adult "the story" behind that picture---and usually more than once!). Krissy was no exception to that "rule."

    I'd also ask them other things---especially when they were about to have a birthday. That's one event that children of that age will volunteer all the information you'd ever want to know, whether you wanted to know ALL the minute details or not!

    Anyway, after a few weeks of Krissy riding the bus, she started calling me "Daddy." This led me to ask her about her "real" Daddy. "Daddy's away. He's in a place where it gets REALLY hot during the day." That was all Krissy would tell me, because "Mommie" felt that's all her daughter needed to know at her age. (If you've served in the military and had children of Krissy's age during that time, you probably would tell your child/children something similar to that.)

    By talking to Krissy's "Mommie," I found out that this meant the Sinai Peninsula---the same place wherein Moses led the children of Israel many, many years ago. Apparently this was a part of the "Camp David Accords" that President Carter managed to get Egypt and Israel to come to some "understanding" as a result of the Yom Kippur War in the early 1970s where Egypt attempted to wrest from Israel what it had lost in the Six-Day War in the mid 1960's. Since the "Accords" probably were considered to be International Law, President Reagan probably was bound to adhere to its provisions and had to keep a "Multi-National 'Force' and 'Observers'" to serve as a buffer between those two nations. The length of the individual US military deployments were probably at least a year---maybe even longer if necessary. This is why I never got to meet Krissy's "Real Daddy."

    As 1985 drew to a close (probably around either Veterans' Day or Thanksgiving) Krissy started to become really excited. Why? "Because Daddy's coming home from that hot place a little before Christmas. Wow! Ronnie and 'Mommie' and me are gonna have 'The Bestest Christmas EVER!! We're all so excited 'n' I'm sure 'Daddy' is too!!"

    "O, Krissy, that's wonderful!! I'm gettin' excited too just picturing how the four of you will have 'The Bestest Christmas Ever!!'."

    Very early on December 12, 1985, "Daddy" and 247 other soldiers boarded a civilian-contracted jet airliner to return to the US. The jet airliner's final stop was to refuel at the Canadian airport located on the northern coast of Canada's maritime province of the island of Newfoundland. In December of any year in Newfoundland, it gets cold and stormy and very icy---especially for aircraft flying at altitudes that this jet airliner would have to do.

    For some mysterious reason(s)---reason(s) I have yet to understand why---the ground crew at Gander failed to completely de-ice the wings of that jet airliner on which "Daddy" and those other 247 were riding---anxiously awaiting to see their loved ones they hadn't seen in so long (And the same was true for those huddled in that cavernous hangar just off the tarmac at their home base---with Krissy, Ronnie, and "Mommie" in that anxious, anticipatory crowd among them.)

    The jet airliner at Gander was cleared for take-off. The pilots pulled the throttle handles all the way back, and pulled back their control sticks all the way back as well to bring that airliner's nose as far up as possible. The landing gear retracted as normal, but when that airliner began its turn to begin its auto-pilot's pre-determined flight path for "home," that huge jetliner began to fall from the sky.

    It was too late for the pilots to reduce thrust and re-align the aircraft such that they could turn back to Gander for an emergency landing. Instead, "Daddy" and those other 247 men (and maybe a few women),and the aircraft's entire flight crew and attendants violently crashed and instantly died.

    Now, as a Major General, you've probably seen much more deaths than you ever wanted to see. But you signed up for commanding those personnel, and, thus, bear the onus of seeing death and destruction of not only the vast amounts of arms, equipment and ammunition needed to pursue the mission(s) with which you're tasked, but also the maimed or injured or even killed bodies under your command.

    What must have gone through that Major General's mind (and heart) when he received the news of the awful fate of Task Force 3-502, I just can't imagine.

    You see, as base commander, it devolves on your shoulders to face that excited crowd inside that hangar to tell them that never again in this life will they see their beloved husband or father or son or brother, etc. Never again in this life are you going to do anything with him---especially to observe "The Bestest Christmas Ever!!

    What do you tell Krissy (and Ronnie and "Mommie")? Maybe she remembered hearing in SS or in Childrens' Church how that God loves not only children like them, but also their parents.

    "If God loves me and Ronnie and 'Mommie,' how come 'Daddy' won't be with us?" probably ran through Krissy's mind.

    At a time like that, Krissy doesn't need to know about the details of the varying aspects of God's "Revealed" and His "Hidden" wills [When you were Krissy's age, how much about God's will(s) did you fully comprehend?].

    What Krissy needed from "her 'Other Daddy'" was a tear-filled hug and assurance that her "Other Daddy" loves her, especially in hard times like this.

    Eventually, all three "surviving dependents" moved to be near their blood relatives, and with their support, pick up the broken pieces of their lives, and move on.

    There was a void space in my heart (It's still there.) when I learned of their leaving.

    But, on Memorial Day, 1987, there was the official dedication of "The Gander Memorial" at which anyone who had any ties with the 248 soldiers who died on December 12, 1985, were permitted to attend the ceremonies.

    I was one of them.

    The ceremony drew a huge crowd---at least 1,500 -2,000 people were present to witness the solemn dedication that only the military can put on. It was a very warm, muggy day, especially when you're squeezed in with all those other people. All those who wished got a small brochure as a program guide for the ceremony (I still have mine.), and, if you wanted one, a small US flag to hold in your hand, if you so chose to do so---I opted to forego that flag, but most of the children there grabbed one.

    With that many people jammed into that small area, would I ever see the three people I really wanted to see?

    It took a couple of minutes and some fancy navigating in and around that crowd, but eventually I saw them. I had to do some hand waving to get their attention, but there stood Krissy, Ronnie, and "Mommie."

    Krissy and Ronnie and I exchanged hugs. I was so glad to see them again!! I explained to "Mommie" that this was one event that I REALLY, REALLY wanted to attend because all three of you meant so much to this, at that time 41 YO civilian.

    Krissy then took me by her hand to a Canadian maple tree sapling---one of the 248 maple tree saplings that Canada donated to the memorial grounds (They're still there.)

    "See those two American flags in the ground next to the tree?"

    "Yes, Krissy, I see them."

    "Me and Ronnie put 'em there, 'cause that's 'Daddy's Tree.' I hope he likes 'em."

    "Krissy, I'm sure he does."

    "Well 'Mommie's' waving at me. Guess she wants me to get Ronnie so's we can drive back home, 'cause it's a LONG drive home."

    "Please, let me give you just one more hug, okay?"

    "Sure, I love my 'Other Daddy'!"

    That was in 1987. Today Krissy is probably close to the same age "Mommie" was when all "this" happened. Maybe she's married. Maybe she has two children of her own.

    I don't know if she remembers her "Other Daddy" from some 28 years ago or not.

    But I sure remember her.
     
  16. wpe3bql

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    I'm not 100% positive why there are lines through the above post.

    Maybe it's because my above post has violated some pre-determined "length of post" parameter.

    Anyway, being good Baptists (As I sure most of you "BB People" are.), you should be able to "read between the lines" and, therefore, have a better understanding of what a young girl who rode on my (Actually, God's) bus some 30 years ago has meant to this now 67.5 YO severely handicapped military veteran.

    Sometimes God puts different people in a person's life for various reasons.

    Some may be very learned theologians with more than one doctoral degree from the top-class seminary(-ies) who may be fluent in many languages, and can more than hold his own in a debate over the varying interpretations of contemporary eschatological viewpoints as contrasted with those of previous eras.

    OTOH, God may just put a beautiful, smiling, loving little girl in your life who'll teach you more about what Christ wants you to know from Matthew 18:1-6, 10, 14 than you'll get in any class room.

    FWIW, I'm thankful that---for me at least---He chose to put the latter of the above two options.

    That's what Krissy has done for me.
     

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