Let me tell you about my friend, Mark Jones. Mark loves Jesus, loves to have fun, and absolutely loves kids! Whether it’s his own kids, the kids in his church, or the kids in his state, Mark is always coming up with fun ways to share Jesus with them. Take a look at this article from Mark published in the VBS 2011 B–2s Leader Guide, VBS 2011 3s–Pre-K Leader Guide, and the VBS 2011 Kindergarten Leader Guide.
You check out Mark’s ministry to kids and their leaders in Oklahoma at www.bgco.org/toptentips. And, if you need a chuckle today, click on #8 under his Top Ten Tips for March!
Gracie, my third grader, is always inviting neighborhood kids to church. And according to her, my job is to drive the car. That’s how Nathan and Nicholas entered our lives one afternoon last fall. As they rode with us to church for Bible Drill that first Wednesday, these twin boys quickly informed me that they liked to go to church and that their dad was in jail. It was a little more information than I expected right off the bat, but it didn’t change my mind about them.
The boys were new to the church scene, so I gave them Bibles, and we practiced Bible verses during our drive. Gracie, the “theologian,” often told them Bible stories, and I would jump in when corrections were needed.
One day, Nathan asked me, “Who is God?” As I began to tell him, he quickly replied, “I know He don’t like me.” I told him, “God loves you, Nathan,” and explained why and how. That’s when I began to pray in earnest for these two neighbor boys. The next day, Nathan knocked on our door. In his hand was a sandwich leftover from his school lunch. Nathan handed the sandwich to my daughter with these words, “Give this to your dad, he’s the best dad I know.” Wow! Truth is caught more than taught.
After Christmas, I asked Gracie if Nathan and Nicholas would be riding to church with us only to hear the words, “They moved. Their mom broke up with her boyfriend.” I went into the next room and thought, Oh no! We needed more time together. They’ll have more questions about Jesus. I prayed they would remember our conversations in the car and the love we tried to show them.
It’s spring, and the boys are back for now. Nathan told Gracie on the bus that he prayed and asked Jesus to wash away his sins. “You can’t!” Gracie said. “You have to have an explainer!” I tried not to laugh as I told her, “Gracie, you are the explainer.” She looked at me with wide eyes and denied that she could do anything like that. I reminded her of John 3:16, a verse she had learned in Bible Drill, and assured her that she was more than able to help Nathan know about Jesus. Now she is a full-fledged explainer of Jesus!
Gracie and I are learning a lot from our relationships with Nathan and Nicholas. Gracie continues to tell her friends about Jesus. She loves Him and wants her friends to know and love Him, too. I will forever be touched and changed by her zeal for Jesus.
And me? Gracie’s story has become a lesson for me. Even in the midst of a busy family and work schedule, there are kids who cross my path who need to know about Jesus. I want my actions to consistently shape their lives to value Jesus and the wonderful life He gives. I may be the only opportunity others have to hear about Him.
Who will you invest your life this year? Will you look around your neighborhood for kids who need to come to VBS? Will the kids you teach know that you love them? Will they know that Jesus loves them? Get busy! You may not have much time! Every child needs an explainer of Jesus!
Mark Jones and his family live in Tuttle, Oklahoma, and attend First Baptist Church, Blanchard. When he is not driving Gracie and her friends to church, he serves as the childhood ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.