For Randy and Elizabeth Draper, a night at home with the
"kids" can mean they will host as many as eight or nine-dozen. It's nothing
unusual for more than 100 students from Grapevine High School to be sitting
shoulder-to-shoulder in their living room.
It all started one spring evening when their then 15-year-old son, Kyle,
asked them if they would do a Bible study for some of his friends from school.
"When your teen-ager asks you to do a Bible study, you just can't say no,"
The first was held in 1998. Kyle handed out a flier at school inviting
friends over for an evening of fellowship and straight talk about issues
teen-agers face and what the Bible has to say about them. "We weren't sure if
anyone would come," says Elizabeth. They planned for 20 that night, and 45
showed up. Most were football players and cheerleaders. "That first night they
sucked my kitchen dry," Elizabeth says.
That summer they averaged 35 kids each month. When school started back more
than 75 came, and the growth continued.
"The kids have been very open and have felt the freedom to bring a lot of
friends with them," Elizabeth explains. They've had up to 120 students in their
home at one time.
"The best way to do a Bible study for teen-agers is to discuss the topics
they are interested in," says Randy. "We asked them to write down on a card the
questions they had about the Bible or certain topics, and we went from there.
We hit the hard subjects head-on-temptation, alcohol, sex, sharing your faith,
commit-ment, among other things." Most who come were not raised in the church.
One week Randy told about David and Bathsheeba.
"The kids were mesmerized, because they had never heard the story," says
Randy. "We started going through the Old Testament and just reading the stories
and applying them to today." The impact has been tremendous. "About 15 percent
of the students at Grapevine High School have been to our Bible study," says
Randy. "It has helped develop a really good, strong corps of kids to stand
together." To date some 40 students have made decisions to follow Christ,
translating into 20 families joining local churches. As students get serious
about their faith, they have an impact on the spiritual lives of their
The changes in these teens' lives became obvious to the Drapers at football
games. Players who attended the Bible study would stop in the end zone during
the pre-game and pray on their knees. Some would huddle in groups during the
game to pray. This team that was not even ranked at the begin-ning of the 1998
season became state champs.
Randy and Elizabeth have a passion for young people
and a passion for sharing the love of Christ. They believe that teen-agers have
to see a living witness. "We want them to see that the Christian life is fun
and, even in the midst of tough circumstances, there is joy." Many people ask
Randy why he hasn't followed in the steps of his father, Dr. Jimmy Draper,
president of LifeWay Christian Resources and a former Southern Baptist
Convention president. His answer, "God has given me a ministry outside of a
church with a passion for people just like my father's." A lot of parents would
shudder at the thought of all those kids hanging out at their house but not the
Drapers. They love it and they wouldn't have it any other way. According to
them, it's what keeps them young and on mission with God.
Does the thought of sharing your faith leave you weak in the knees? If so,
Edna McClung of First Baptist, Deming, New Mexico, has the perfect solution.
Start with an outreach that's non-threatening, easy and graciously received by
Edna delivers welcome baskets to new families whose names are provided by
the real estate council. The baskets contain coupons, gifts--pencils, pens, a
magnet--and each includes a loaf of bread, a Bible, tracts and information on
"Our baskets are well-received," Edna said. "One man told me 'I'll be at
your church next week because I came home after a hard day's work, and your
welcome basket greeted me.'" Another couple recently joined the church as a
result of the basket they received.
"I know God is in this outreach because every time I ask for loaves of
bread, the number I receive exactly matches the number of baskets I need to
First Baptist Deming sends out letters to Chamber of Commerce members to let
them know about the welcome baskets. Many of them call the church and ask to be
included in helping with the ministry. "We've established some wonderful
relationships with the business community," Edna said. "And some folks call and
ask for a basket. They are envious of their neighbors who received one."
Name: Edna McClung
City: Deming, New Mexico
Mission: Coordinating welcome basket ministry.
Free ice cream might seem an unusual means for reaching the lost, but
Jennifer Fannin, a NAMB missionary at the Carver Center in New Orleans,
recently used ice cream to reach some teen-age boys. The Carver Center is a
Christian community center funded by the Southern Baptist Convention
Cooperative Program. Its mission is to share Christ through a ministry of
serving and building relationships.
"I share my faith and give a short explanation of the plan of salvation.
Most of the time, my greatest success doesn't come from the programs we run at
the center but from talking to kids who hang around outside. I work on building
relation-ships with them. These kids want to know if I'm any different when I'm
not on duty. I try to live Christ all the time, but it takes a while for them
to trust me. I call it 'earning an ear,'" says Jennifer.
Working in the inner city requires patience. "I've seen results, but it's a
slow process," she said. "I've been here four years and I'm just beginning to
form relationships in the community and with the families of the kids we
Jennifer finds interesting opportunities to be on mission. "We brought a
portable baptistry to the Center, and that activity raised a lot of questions,"
she said. "It opened doors for me to talk about why we baptize, which naturally
led to my faith in Christ."
Current events also can start conversations. "A lot of people are talking
about Y2K and whether it means the world is coming to an end. That opens a door
for me to talk about Christ and His answer to the problems of the world."
Jennifer has seen some remarkable changes in the lives of the teen-agers she
works with. "I prayed for one teen-age girl for a long time," she said.
"Whenever I brought up Jesus Christ, she would change the subject. I had a
picture of her that I kept with me and everywhere I went, I'd ask people to
pray for her. Not long ago, she accepted Christ, and now she's become a leader
of the girls at the Center. It's so exciting to see how she's grown and become
a person of integrity. For example, she recently found some money and turned it
in, even though some of her peers gave her a hard time about that."
Inner-city kids can be challenging. "One girl came to the center cussing and fighting,"
Jennifer said. "But I could tell in the midst of her anger that she was also
seeking. Now she's accepted the Lord. He has taken hold of her and changed her
Jennifer enjoys the personal ministry at the Carver Center. "I'm shy and get
nervous speaking in front of crowds," she said. "At the center I have the
opportunity to work personally with a lot of kids. It's much easier for me to
share my faith in that kind of setting."
Jennifer has always had a heart for evangelism and considered overseas
missions before deciding to focus on reaching kids in the inner city. "From an
early age I was taught to share my faith, so I grew up with that as a central
part of my life," Jennifer said.
Oh, about that free ice cream. At a Bible study one evening, two teen-age
boys prayed with Jennifer to receive Christ. The next night they were outside
the Carver Center with some of their friends. Jennifer remembers the night.
"I had some ice cream left over after an event. I took it outside and asked
the guys if they wanted some. They said to me, 'Yes, we'd like some ice cream,
but first you have to tell our friends about Jesus Christ.' That kind of
response is so exciting to me. That's when I know I'm making a difference."
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC