Those of us who work in the bus ministry have dreams for our “bus kids” beyond grade school or high school. While we realize that some will drop off the bus route as they reach their teen years, and even more while they go through high school, our goal is that they would become active separated soul-winning church members for years to come. One of the most vulnerable times in a person’s life is the year after they finish high school. While our “bus kids” may continue through the teen department, when they finish high school they will be subject to many new choices. The year after high school is one of the most dangerous for any young person, but it is especially dangerous to bus kids. Because they are “bus kids” without support at home, it is difficult for them to continue to serve God. They have little or no encouragement to live for God, to stay clean and to stay in church.
One excellent way to address this problem is for the young person to attend a good Bible college for at least a year. This idea will be foreign to them, if it is going to happen,the bus captain, youth director or pastor will have to introduce them to the idea. You will need to convince them that it is possible and help them to walk through the process of getting to Bible college. This year at Commonwealth Baptist College we registered 175 students. Of these, according to a count we did in the fall semester, exactly 25 were “preacher’s kids,” their dad was the pastor. And, exactly 25 were bus kids! It is possible for bus kids to go to Bible college!
If your bus kids are going to attend Bible College, you will have to begin the process for them, and help them through the steps. Even when it comes to physically travelling from your town to college, some will have parents that will bring them, but many of them will need you to drive them to college or arrange transportation for them.
At Commonwealth Baptist College, we love working with all of the students, including (and especially) the bus kids. It is certainly rewarding to partner with you and to watch them grow spiritually, socially and in discipline and character.
- Help them to be growing Christians.
We should urge them to read their Bibles and pray on a daily basis. Without a walk with God these kids have no chance of making it as Christians in this world. They need as much Biblical influence as they can possibly get. We should do our best to get them to church more often than Sunday morning. You can do this by helping them attend many regular church services with the drive in crowd, by bringing them to teen revivals, or by involving them in teen sessions before services.
As Christians we are supposed to always be sharing the Gospel and discipling other Christians. It is our job to help them become soul winners. You could do this by taking them with you when your visit your bus route or Sunday school class. Many churches have teen soul-winning programs where the teens of the church will go out on a weekly basis. Involving them with other teens that are doing the same thing will encourage them to stay active in their Gospel witness. Often times, as they do more in the church the Holy Spirit will convict them to improve their moral standards.
- Help them to feel like they “fit in” with the church kids
A problem many churches run into in regards to youth is making the bus kids “fit in” with the church kids. In many instances purchasing a bus kid “church clothes” will help him fit in with the others. Encouraging them to drive in to Sunday school with their parents will help them. Youth activities are important to your youth ministry, and they can help new converts see that Christians can have fun without the worldly influences.
- Begin early to plant the idea of serving God in their head
Be positive about their future as a Christian. Implant the thoughts their minds that they could very easily become a teacher or preacher of the Gospel. They could be preachers that would help people to be saved and have good lives. The ideas you plant into their minds could become goals, and their goals could become reality.
- Consider trying to raise money to get them into a Christian school.
Christian school is a huge step for a bus kid in his spiritual life. Not only would he be influenced on Sundays for right, but five days a week with Christian friends and leaders. Ask their parents what part they could pay to help with the expense, then work to raise the remaining amount.
- Regarding college.
At Commonwealth Baptist College all dorm students should come with about $1,200. This covers about everything except books and private music lessons. After they arrive we will help them find a job and work with them on their finances. As long as they are working and putting most of their money on their school bill they are probably fine. The total cost of a year is $7,400 – again, that is about everything except books and private music lessons. If you can help them to find a job and teach them to save money early in high school, that is even better.
During their junior or senior year of high school urge them to apply to Bible college. You could even help them find the forms, complete the forms, and send them to the college. Walk them through the entire process. Bringing them to visit the Bible college is a great way to get them excited about the possibilities of attending. You may even be able to find other bus kids that are current students at the college, which would give them an added encouragement. We have over 30 bus kids enrolled at Commonwealth Baptist College any given semester.
- Help them to develop a work ethic.
Helping them to get and hold a job, work hard, and to do well in school is a great way to prepare them for college and the rest of their life. Most importantly we should teach them character through Christian activities such as following a Bible reading schedule, having a prayer time, and memorizing Scripture.
- Getting Them to College
Help them figure out how to get there in the fall. You will probably need to help them with their travel arrangements. You may want to take a day or two to bring them to college. Watching your “bus kid” register in Bible College would be a very rewarding use of a day or two. You will also need to help them with what they will need to pack. Maybe have a “going to college shower” for them at the church before they leave. This would also be a good way to raise money for them to get clothes and any other supplies they may need.
Dr. Jim Jorgensen
President of Commonwealth Baptist College