Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bus Ministry is Still an Effective Church Growth Tool

In the 1970's bus ministry was used by churches across the nation to reach children for Jesus. The largest Sunday school in America, FBC Hammond, Indiana, had a bus ministry that had 1,000 workers using 230 buses to bring as many as 10,000 people to church every Sunday.

Baptist Temple's bus ministry was launched with the purchase of a 1970 blue Chevrolet van to pick up Sunday school students from East Terrace and Victoria Courts. In 1971 a used Dodge school bus was added to the fleet followed by a used Chevrolet school bus in 1972. This soul-winning ministry resulted in a record 151 baptisms in 1972. The previous high mark was 121 in 1933. A record number of new members was also set in 1972.

The first drivers were Jimmy Walker, Ed Flynn, David Evans and Arland Ames. Walker drove for 35 years and participated in many aspects of the ministry including evangelistic visitation, phone calls, follow-up and training.

Steve Grinnell became part of the bus ministry in the 1980s. During those years two buses picked up student as far south as Military Dr., north to MLK, east to WW White and west to Roosevelt. Grinnell remembers a big operation involving phone calls and visitation.

Ernest Dominguez was one of the children who rode the van to Baptist Temple Sunday School. As he got older he strayed away from church but, when God began to speak to his heart, he returned to the place where he first heard the gospel. Dominguez was baptized on Easter Sunday 2013.

Bus ministry is still used as an evangelistic tool by many churches today. In 2001, FBC Hammond still had a fleet of over 200 buses in operation.

Outreach to children is a vital ministry for a soul-wining church. Most Christians become followers of Christ as children. Furthermore, the fastest way to reach families is by ministering to children.

Check out this resource: The Bus Ministry Manual

Then the master told his servant,
"Go out to the roads and country lanes
and compel them to come in,
so that my house will be full."
Luke 14:23 (NIV)

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