Bus Ministry Policies
Our church has had the distinct honor and privilege of operating a bus ministry since the church was started nearly thirty-four years ago. We have seen a cumulative total of nearly 1.1 million riders attend church through this tremendous evangelistic tool. Literally thousands of captains, workers, and drivers have labored in this worthy harvest field over the years, with tremendous results. We have seen tens of thousands of souls saved and baptized to the glory of God. We have more than thirty vehicles in use every Sunday as we transport people to church.
I believe the bus ministry is the greatest evangelistic tool in the history of the church and is responsible for more people coming to church to hear the gospel than any other ministry. The bus/van/jeepney/transportation ministry is a great blessing and makes a significant eternal impact each and every week across the United States and around the world.
That being said, we must heed the words of our Savior in Matthew 10:16 to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We must understand the responsibility and liability that comes along with transporting hundreds of people, many of them unaccompanied children, to church each week.
This month, I am sharing twenty of the guidelines that we use for our church bus ministry as we seek to provide a safe ministry. The safety of our riders and the protection of our ministry is paramount! We want to do everything we can to make sure the ministry God has given us is handled with great care and wisdom.
- If there is an injury or an incident on your bus, please be sure to fill out the incident report form and turn it in to the bus director and/or the legal department. If it is a serious incident, please contact the appropriate church representative immediately.
- Please mark EVERY bus rider’s hand EVERY Sunday with the bus route number! No exceptions!
- Several of our church’s bus routes “overlap” with one or two other churches in our area that also send out bus routes. When these rare occasions occur, we ALWAYS want to go out of our way to be kind and courteous with a Christian spirit.
- If there is any possibility that children you are about to pick up were invited to church by the other church’s workers, we want to encourage the riders to ride the other church bus. We are all on the same team!
- Church policy for pickup and drop-off of a bus rider under the age of 18: we MUST drop off the child at the location where we picked him up. The only exception is if we receive written permission to do otherwise that is personally given to us by the parent/legal guardian at the time of pickup on Sunday morning. Also, we should drop off the child on the side of the street where he lives so that he does not have to cross the street to get home.
- We should never allow a child to leave the church property with any adult unless arrangements were made by the custodial parent/legal guardian at the time of pickup at the child’s house AND we have these instructions in writing from the custodial parent/legal guardian.
- Buses need to be swept and cleaned, with all windows put up before dropping them off at our bus parking area on Sunday afternoon. See vehicle use policy for vehicle cleanliness guidelines.
- IMPORTANT!!! All children primary age (3rd grade) and below need to be taken to their classes and picked up after church by an approved bus worker!
- If one of your bus riders moves from your route to another city where one of our buses picks up, PLEASE get that address to the bus director so it can be passed on to the appropriate bus route.
- NO rider or worker should EVER be standing on the bus when the bus is moving! Rider safety is paramount.
- Help us keep accurate records! Your numbers for bus riders, bus workers, visitors, time out and time in need to be turned in to the bus count taker EVERY Sunday morning BEFORE 10:00 a.m.
- Liability Release Forms need to be filled out any time your bus riders will be participating in activities other than riding to and from church and attending their classes and church services. If you need liability release forms for an activity, contact the bus director.
- CAPTAINS & DRIVERS: Please review the vehicle use policy outlined in the bus binder. Those rules will be enforced strictly, especially pertaining to safety and cleanliness of your bus.
- Bus riders need to keep arms, hands, and heads inside the windows at all times.
- Bus riders must NEVER be left on the bus without an approved worker sitting in the driver’s seat.
- Gum, candy, and food should not be given to our bus riders before they arrive at church. These items should be distributed as they leave the bus to go home at the end of the day.
- If a rider will not obey a verbal command, that rider may not ride our bus to or from church.
- No adult may work with children until he has completed the worker approval process, including the background check process.
- DO NOT USE REVERSE! Most bus accidents happen in reverse.
- Children under the age of four may not come to church without a parent/legal guardian.
These are simple and practical guidelines that you have probably already instituted if you have a bus ministry. However, perhaps there is one thought or policy that will be a help to you as you seek to reach everyone that you can until the trumpet sounds and our Lord returns!
God bless you as you “go out into the highways and hedges,” compelling them to come in!