Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
by Marie Allison, Director of Evangelism and Connect Ministry
Late in the school year, two first-grade girls developed a friendship. On a warm Sunday afternoon, they had their first playdate. Later, as their moms, Liz and Vanessa, chatted in the driveway, Liz said, “Next week we’re having a Neighborhood Bible Club for children here at our house. The kids will play games, do crafts, sing songs, and hear Bible stories. Would Samantha like to come?”
Vanessa nodded her head with interest, and Liz went on, “At the same time we are having a Neighborhood Bible Coffee for the parents. You’ll have the chance to hear the same story Samantha is hearing, so you can talk about it at home. Bring your preschooler with you, and he will be watched in a room nearby. It will only be 40 minutes, so you’ll still have time for errands.”
Vanessa was happy to be invited and arrived early Monday morning with her three-year-old son and Samantha. The older children ran enthusiastically into the yard while the parents and preschoolers gathered for a brief meeting in the family room. They were welcomed and given an overview of the week. After a five-minute information meeting for all parents, those who wanted to stay were invited to hear the same Bible story and object lesson that their children were hearing that day.
Six moms stayed. They had refreshments and relaxed on comfortable couches for a short respite in what promised to be a string of long summer days. Carole Lisson, the Bible teacher, prefaced the Bible story by telling the ladies that this was a real story that happened to real people. Then she told them the story of Gideon from Judges 6–8. As she spoke, the major themes from the Bible story came alive: Even when life is terrible, God is with us. In the midst of trouble, God uses unlikely heroes. The heroes do great things not by trusting in themselves but by trusting in God.
At the end of the story, the women began to eagerly engage with what they heard. Vanessa said it made
a difference to her that the teacher pointed out this was a real story that happened to real people. Karen, new to reading the Bible, said she loved hearing the story—not only so she could talk about it with her children but also because it was an encouragement to her as well. The women said they would definitely come back the next day for the Neighborhood Bible Coffee.
During the week Carole continued sharing the Bible stories. The Gospel was presented in several creative
ways. The women asked thought-provoking questions, not only about the Bible lesson, but also about other things that were on their minds.
Along with teaching the Bible story, Carole took time to address each question in the women’s time together. The last day of the Neighborhood Bible Coffee, the Gospel message was once again part of the lesson. Carole sensed that Vanessa wanted to respond.
She asked, “Vanessa, would you like to accept Jesus as your Savior and ask Him to be the Lord of your life?” Vanessa smiled brightly. “Yes, I would love to. I have been thinking about it all week.”
The six women bowed their heads together while Carole led Vanessa in the salvation prayer. Everyone
in the room was in awe as they witnessed Vanessa beginning a new life with Christ.
What started out as a simple playdate and a few words of invitation turned out to be something so much more. It became an opportunity to share the love of Christ with a family—and welcome that family into the family of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Allison is the Director of Evangelism and Connect Ministry at Wheaton Bible Church.