The Bus Captain Guidelines
Each captain of a route is entrusted with the responsibility of following all the guidelines of our bus ministry and ensuring that the workers on his bus do the same. He must meet all the spiritual requirements for leadership set down by our pastor. He is expected to pray regularly for each rider, and he is to support the pastor in any changes made to the operation of the bus ministry.
THE BUS MEETING
The function of our bus ministry and its success are greatly dependent on attendance to our Saturday morning bus meeting. The announcements affect the smooth running of each route and facilitate communication concerning upcoming events, etc. The meeting begins at 9 or 9:30 a.m. depending on the time of the year and is mandatory for captains, heads of buses, and all that are considered Saturday workers on the routes. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please communicate with our pastor that you will not be able to attend. Those that will be visiting on the routes are to go directly out to the route after the bus meeting is finished without stopping to run errands, eat, etc. This helps to keep us focused on the primary mission of the day, which is the visiting of the homes in our respective areas.
The captain and all workers must attend the Thursday workers’ meeting held each week at 6:45 p.m. in the auditorium. There also will be other announced meetings that may occur at different times such as a bus breakfast, a summer cookout, or a planning meeting. These are scheduled to help encourage the bus workers and to give additional helps in organization or promotional ways.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE BUS
A spiritually-right bus captain is also a well-planned captain. The care given to the details of the route is a good picture of the importance he places on his ministry. Many opportunities to accomplish work for God are lost to the poor organization of the captains of the routes. Our service for God should be done right. The following is a list of important details a captain needs to oversee.
The captain should begin with an overall yearlong plan. A yearlong plan should include a tentative schedule for themes, contest, and activities for the individual bus. A copy of the yearlong plan for the upcoming year is due to the church office by December each year.
Attendance records should be complete and maintained all year round. Bus attendance should be turned in to Mrs. Damron. This can be done weekly, monthly, or yearly.
The captain needs to provide the Sunday school teachers with the correct information for the students, especially the addresses and birthdays of students below the age of six.
Insurance information for all shuttle cars needs to be turned in by the first of September each year and any time it changes during the year.
The captain should prepare a workers’ assignment schedule so that there is always a schedule for each week. A copy of the schedule is due to the church office by the first of the month or when the last schedule ended. This schedule should include assignments for the Sunday bus program and weekly worker responsibilities.
It is very important for the workers to know what is asked of them. For this reason, captains are to be always current on the schedule, allowing the workers ample time to be adequately prepared.
A current copy of the bus visitation list, including names and addresses of the families, needs to be turned into the office twice a year if the captain turns in their attendance yearly.
The bus and all shuttle cars need to arrive at church on time. Being on time is a direct result of good planning.
THE COUNT ON THE BUS
An accurate count of all riders on the bus should be taken before the bus arrives at the church. The captain is to count only those riders who ride from his assigned area. He should never count riders or pick up riders outside of his area. Church members are not to be included in the count. The count needs to be turned in when the bus arrives at the church. Shuttle car drivers need to turn in their count when they arrive at the church as well. After the church service, the bus captain should take an accurate count to be assured that all the riders are on the bus before leaving the parking lot.
ORDER ON THE BUS
It is the captain’s responsibility to maintain order on the bus. He must organize his workers to operate a good program on the bus with activity, variety, excitement, and relevant Bible teaching. A well-prepared, interesting program will do most of the work to maintain order with the children, but the following is a list of minimum expectations for the route:
Children are to remain seated at all times while the bus is in motion.
The windows are only allowed to be lowered halfway, and nothing at all is to be sticking out of the window.
The aisle and the back exit door is to be clear of people, coolers, etc. Workers should not stand directly in front of the exit door.
Children should not talk while the teacher is teaching the lessons, verse, etc.
Proper discipline can and should be maintained on the bus, and workers should never have to yell over the noise of the children talking.
DISCIPLINE ON THE BUS
The captain is expected to deal with the problems that arise with the bus riders. Ignoring the problem only makes the problem worse. The matter needs to be addressed immediately by the captain. If a child is not going to obey the captain, he will not behave in church. This child needs to be taken home. A captain can identify the spirit of teenagers before they arrive at church by testing their obedience on the bus. If they will not obey with a good spirit, they should be taken home.
The captain needs to go by the counseling room each Sunday after the service to see if any of his riders are there. The counseling room supervisor will provide a green slip for the captain to give to the parent. After a rider has been taken to the counseling room for the first time, he will not be allowed to attend church for two consecutive Sundays. Once a rider has been in the counseling room two times within six months, the rider is suspended from attending Sunday School until the bus captain meets with Pastor Damron and he decides that the child is ready to ride again.
All riders who are in 5th grade or above must have a Bible at church.
SAFETY ON THE ROUTE
The bus captain has no greater responsibility than to maintain safety on the bus. Even though we are called to win souls, no Scriptural teaching can be done if the ride to and from church is not safe. The captain needs to be familiar with the vehicle driver’s requirements for safety (chapters four and six), which includes checking, operating, and caring for the bus. The captain is responsible for making sure all the safety rules are upheld at all times by all the workers (especially the driver). There are no exceptions to safety rules.
The captains are at liberty to have independent activities as a bus route. The foremost important consideration regarding bus route activities is safety. The captain is responsible to keep the activity orderly and safe. (For instance, little children should always be separated from the older children during a candy scramble.) These independent activities need approval at least one week in advance by Dr. Jeff Voegtlin. Whenever a bus captain takes responsibility for the care of a child, it is considered an activity that needs to be communicated to Dr. Jeff Voegtlin (e.g., bus kids spending the night at the captain’s home, etc.). Notification can be as simple as including the activity on the monthly schedule turned in to the office.
The bus captain must notify the pastoral staff immediately of any problems with the workers or bus riders.
This article was a excerpt from Fairhaven Baptist Church Bus Handbook