On a Roll
Nearly a decade ago, a group of men from First Baptist Church of Celina went through a discipleship program together. As the two-year program came to an end, participants were challenged to dream up a servant leadership project that would allow them to touch the lives of others in Jesus’ name.
The idea that grew out of that meeting is not only touching lives, but eternity.
This past December, FBC Celina (in partnership with the Dallas-Fort Worth-based ministry called Grace Bridge) hosted what has become an annual event known as Bikes and Bibles. The name almost says it all—bicycles and Bibles are distributed to area families in need. This year, 118 bikes were distributed to children, and Bibles were handed out to their families.
Oh, and 15 people made a first-time decision to trust Jesus and their Lord and Savior. Is there a greater Christmas gift?
“One of the things we always want to do is share the gospel,” said FBC Celina pastor Kevin Lykins, who was a member of the discipleship group. Deacon Pat Hunn, also in the group, had the initial idea to hand out bicycles as part of the servant leadership project, while Lykins pitched in the idea to also give out Bibles.
Grace Bridge—which has extensive experience in the distribution of goods ranging from food to disaster relief supplies—handles a portion of the administrative load. Its president and CEO, Carter Morris, came to the table with a lengthy database of area families in need, as well as contacts with a large corporation that offers bicycles for purchase to the church at a deep discount. For his part, Lykins has contacts with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which provides the Bibles.
“[Grace Bridge] knows how to organize and facilitate things like this very efficiently,” Lykins said, “but over the eight years of doing this, we’ve gotten a lot better and a lot more efficient.”
Said Morris, noting that people come to Christ almost every year through the giveaway: “This story is just a total God story. … We do this because Jesus loved us first. He is the greatest gift anyone could ever get for Christmas. We want to love these families well, but we want to let them know why we love their families well.”
Bikes and Bibles has become an all-hands-on-deck undertaking at FBC Celina. One group of church members is needed to set up the church gym for the massive distribution, an effort that includes labeling the bikes and Bibles for the incoming families. A team of men works to tighten bolts and check hardware on each bike as it comes off the truck, making sure each one is safe for the children to ride. Yet another group prepares refreshments for the families and facilitates a Christmas cartoon that is played in the church sanctuary while families wait.
The church is not only putting its muscle behind the effort, but its money. Bikes and Bibles was initially made possible through fundraising efforts on the part of church members. Today, it’s anchored into the church budget.
“It’s become such a big part of our church, our church’s ministry,” Lykins said. “It’s a lot of moving parts for the body of Christ here, but it has become something our whole church takes part in.”