Encouraging, Challenging, and Motivating
It has been my privilege to be the Bus Ministry Director at North Valley Baptist Church for the past twelve years. In this capacity, I often have the opportunity to speak with bus workers in our ministry and those from across the country. These communications often challenge me, causing me to learn, grow, and improve in my personal life and ministry.
Recently, I received an email from a Christian servant in the Midwest. He asked me for some ideas on encouraging, challenging, and motivating bus captains and bus workers in their work for God, in order to “revive” their bus routes. This seems to be a common theme, so I began pondering his question. I thought of promotions that we had done that worked well, and other ideas that didn’t go so well. The truth of the matter is that any good that has transpired through our church’s bus ministry is because of God’s blessing and the army of godly, faithful bus drivers, bus captains, bus workers, bus mechanics, and bus sponsors who give of themselves each and every week. Really, there is no “magic idea.”
That being said, I thought I would share an edited version of my recent email response to this gentleman. Maybe something that I mention here will be a small help to you in your work for God, or maybe it will spark a thought in your mind that will cause you to be a more effective laborer in God’s harvest field.
Thank you for your recent email. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
- Run a ministry campaign for four to six weeks.
We just finished our fall campaign last week. During our campaigns, the energy and excitement is raised to another level, and we generally see a 25 to 40% increase in attendance and visitor numbers. Just this past Sunday, we were up 250 over our YTD attendance average, with more than 100 first-time visitors.During our campaigns, we split our routes into teams, give out points, and have prizes for the winning routes and teams. We do this twice per year—once in the spring and once in the fall. Our workers always respond well, giving extra time and effort in their weekly ministry work. As a result, we always reap eternal rewards because of their labor. Over the past five weeks, the workers in our church bus division were responsible for inviting and bringing over 600 first-time visitors to church.
- Establish a consistency club.
Develop some sort of recognition for a route that has a minimum number of riders for a specified time. In times past, we had a plaque of recognition made for the routes that had 50 riders for 12 weeks in a row. It can be very difficult to have this type of consistency, but we saw routes achieve this, and wanted to recognize and reward them for their diligent labor.
- Reward what you want emphasized.
Decide on a weekly area of emphasis—the route with the highest number of visitors, the most workers out for visitation, or the route with the highest number of riders over their YTD average—then reward the route that does the best in that area during the following week’s workers’ meeting. Have a promotion or a box of candy to give the winning route to use on their bus as prizes. The ideas for this are endless. However, if you put a goal or target out there for the workers to focus on, you will undoubtedly see some of your routes improving in these areas.
- Recruit new workers.
Get more members involved on your bus routes. At times, any ministry can become disheartening and discouraging. Faithful workers can get tired. There is nothing as exciting as “new blood” joining them in the work! These new workers will bring an enthusiasm and excitement to the route and to the ministry.
- Make mention of your routes in a church service.
If your pastor allows this, recognize the bus ministry in one of your services, perhaps Sunday evening. Tell a story of a changed life from one of your routes. Mention a victory that a route saw or maybe a high attendance day that they had. Let the church know if a new worker or driver has joined the ministry. People will pay attention to what is emphasized. If the bus ministry is emphasized and recognized from the pulpit, people will know it is an important part of the church. Others will then begin praying and participating in this important work.
Lastly, as a bus ministry leader yourself, be sure that you are excited about the work God has called you to. If you find that your workers seem to be struggling in their motivation, it may be a reflection of your leadership. If you get excited about the work, the workers will get excited! Pour your heart into it as a leader and the workers will follow!
I hope these thoughts are a help to you as you serve in the eternally vital work of the bus ministry.
North Valley Baptist Church
These ideas are simple and while they were not intended to be an “official” newsletter article, I believe there are others facing similar challenges. May these practical helps challenge you as you seek to do more for Christ. May God bless you as you serve Him.