Nearly a decade ago a group of men from First Baptist Church Celina, Texas, went through a discipleship class together. As the two-year program came to an end they were challenged to come up with a servant leadership project to help them touch the lives of others in Jesus’ name.
The idea they decided on not only has touched lives for eight years, but eternity as well.
Last December FBC members — in partnership with a 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, including 118 bikes in 2022.
And 15 people made first-time decisions to accept Christ.
“One of the things we always want to do is share the gospel,” explained FBC Pastor Kevin Lykins, who was a member of the original discipleship class. Deacon Pat Hunn, also in the group, had the idea to give away bicycles as part of the servant leadership project, while Lykins suggested adding 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 of Bikes and Bibles. President and CEO Carter Morris had a list of area families in need, as well as contacts with a large corporation that offers bicycles for purchase 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.”
‘Because Jesus loved us first’
Noting people come to Christ almost every year through the giveaway, Morris said, “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 for FBC. One group sets up the church gym for the distribution, which includes labeling the bikes and Bibles for the families. Another team tightens bolts and checks hardware on each bike as it comes off the truck, making sure they’re safe for the children. Yet another group prepares refreshments for the families.
Something for ‘our whole church’
The church not only puts muscle behind the effort, but money as well. Bikes and Bibles was initially made possible through fundraising efforts, and is now 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.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Jayson Larson and originally published by the Southern Baptist Texan.