Some people are under the impression that special days in a church just happen and that the preparation comes together on its own. Having a push of any kind takes hard work and much preparation if it is to be effective.
A push is a time when our bus routes strive to see as many guests in attendance as possible over the course of six weeks. By God’s grace, we have been able to see many first-time guests attend.
But it doesn’t end there. After the a push, we desire to maintain the increase in our Sunday school classes. Some people assume that riders will automatically come back the next week just because they were at the church the previous week, but the bus ministry doesn’t work that way. One man said, “Blessings do not ride piggyback.” We cannot just borrow the momentum from a push and expect it to carry through into our classes.
Here are some ideas that can help us have a successful push followed by increased attendance in Sunday school classes in the weeks following:
PRAY FOR YOUR ROUTE – James 4:2 says, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.” Oswald Chambers said, “We can do lots of things after we pray, but we can do nothing before we pray!” We have all been guilty of trying to do God’s work in our own flesh from time to time, but we must remember that the arm of flesh will fail us. This is why we must have God’s power. Schedule specific times to pray during your push, and ask your workers (both Saturday and Sunday workers) to do the same. Commit by writing these times in your weekly calendar, and do not let something less important cancel out this prayer time.
PRAY FOR FELLOW WORKERS – While praying for the riders and parents on your route, pray also for each fellow bus worker, as well as for the Sunday school teachers and Junior Church leaders that teach your bus riders.
THINK THROUGH EACH VISIT – Because we make calls each week of the year, our visits tend toward monotony. A push is a perfect time to ask yourself some questions about each individual visit, such as:
- Is my bus list fully up-to-date? Do I have necessary information for each house and rider (full name, birthday, parent’s names(s), full address, updated phone numbers, and any information related to special needs (dietary, health, etc.)?
- Is there anyone in this house that could be motivated to bring a visitor to church?
- Have I invited the parent(s) to the special days, particularly to Easter, Mother’s Day, or other?
- Consider using this question with parents of your regular riders, “We are always looking for other good kids to ride our bus. If you know of anyone like this, either friend or relative, please let me know, and I would be glad to call or visit them. Here is my cell phone number.”
- Which of the riders have made a profession of faith? Baptism?
- If they are a faithful rider, do they have a Bible? Consider giving these riders a challenge (reciting memory verses, quoting books of the Bible, etc.) to “earn” a Bible. Younger kids may enjoy getting their own New Testament
- Plan to be cheerful and upbeat at every visit.
SEND TEXT MESSAGES – Use technology to your advantage! Show someone you care. The Bible says Jesus was “moved with compassion” when He saw the multitudes (Matthew 9:36). Send individual (not group) texts and let your parents know that you have been praying for them and look forward to seeing them on Sunday.
MAIL A CARD TO EACH RIDER – Try to have cards printed specifically for your bus, and then divide up each rider among yourself and your workers. Write each one, telling them you have been praying for them. Encourage them to be faithful to the push and to memorizing their verses. A stick of gum enclosed will also be a big hit! The riders and their parents will probably show you that card when you visit next. Because real mail is so rare today, especially for a child, it makes receiving mail extra-effective and meaningful.
SECURE A MAP OF YOUR ROUTE – Mark the borders, and then develop a systematic canvassing plan.
KNOCK ON EXTRA DOORS – If you want to have a good push, go soulwinning! Challenge your workers to go as well, but lead them by example. God blesses our obedience and faithfulness to go out.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE CHURCH PROVISIONS FOR THE PUSH – Carefully review all of the details of the push. Know what each rider gets, what visitor bringers receive, and any other promotion. Repeat it clearly to the kids both on the bus and at each door. Cast the net.
PREPARE GREAT ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR ROUTE IN ADDITION to the church PROVISIONS – These may include: Swim Day, Horses, Piñata, Ice Cream Mountain, Bus worker talent show, treasure trail, Cookout, All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner, Pop Sunday, Egg Hunt, Pictures, Craft Day, Giant Day, Grab Bag, Raffle, Coloring Contest, Pie in the Face, Water Balloons, Ball Dunk, to name a few.
PREPARE A QUALITY LESSON – Don’t be guilty of waiting until Saturday night to put together your lesson. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Be sure that you are prepared to stand and teach the Word of God and that the presentation is right. Also, make sure that the lesson is practical.
FOLLOW UP – A push will create the need for follow-up. Be certain to get all contact information for each new rider, and then add them to your bus list. Thank him for coming and see if he has any questions. Look for opportunities to share the gospel and lead him to the Lord. Also, it is common for a visitor quickly to become a visitor bringer. He probably knows an entirely new group of potential riders.
SEND THANK YOU NOTES – Watch for people, whether workers or riders, who helped make your push successful. Thank them for catching the “spirit” of the work of the ministry.
A push is not just something on the bus captain’s calendar. It can be exciting, but it will require preparation, training, and follow up. In short, it is a PUSH. Ask God to give you wisdom as you endeavor to implement these steps.
Article written by: Pastor Dan Armacost