Seven-Year-Old Ignites Bible-Collection Ministry

Posted on May 4, 2010


By David Ettinger

It was a simple idea started by a seven-year-old boy, but the spiritual results could be eternal.

One Wednesday evening, the Wagner family — parents Roddy and Jenny, and their five children — were on their way to church at First Orlando. Roddy was sharing with them about an opportunity to minister to the homeless, an area of service in which the family often participates. Specifically, Roddy was telling the family about the possibility of ministering to the Women’s Residential Counseling Center (WRCC) — a branch of the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. “We have worked at the Coalition before and have even brought the kids with us,” Jenny said.

Therefore, they are no strangers to working with the homeless. So, when Roddy began speaking about this latest opportunity to do just that, the kids were listening. “One of our children, Jackson, was paying close attention to the conversation because even though he’s seven, he is aware of homelessness,” Jenny explained.

Apparently, that conversation made an impression on Jackson.

“When we got home, he had an idea,” Jenny said. “He said, ‘I think we should collect Bibles for the homeless.’ ”

However, Jenny could tell that Jackson was hesitant to go into detail.

“I asked him why, and he wasn’t really sure,” Jenny explained. “I then said to him, ‘I bet you the devil is trying to keep you from telling us your idea because he definitely doesn’t want you giving Bibles to anyone.”

That was just what Jackson needed to hear. “He got very excited and said, ‘If the devil doesn’t want me to do it, then that’s what I want to do. I’m going to get these Bibles to the homeless.’ He was so excited; he kept talking about it.”

The idea took hold and Roddy called John Helton, First Orlando’s Local Missions Pastor. John then told Senior Pastor David Uth, who, on the following Sunday, called Jackson up to the platform during worship services on September 20. Pastor Uth explained to the church what Jackson was doing and hence the “Jackson’s Bibles” ministry was born.

The next weekend, several “Jackson’s Bibles” locations were set up in the Welcome Centers and Events Center where the people of First Orlando were asked to bring Bibles. In all, 216 Bibles were collected during the first two days.

“I was surprised to get so many Bibles,” Jenny said. “I know we’re a big church, but I was overwhelmed when I saw all those Bibles pouring out of the boxes we had set up.”

Now that the Bibles have been collected, they will be distributed in several locations. One will be at Lake Eola, where First Orlando has a homeless ministry. Another location will be the Orlando Mobile Home Park on Orange Blossom Trail where First Orlando held a clean-up outreach on September 12, 2009. The Bibles will be going to the children who attend the park’s after-school program. Some Bibles will also be given to the WRCC.

For Jenny, the Bible project is a perfect reflection of the kind of person her son was created to be. “God has given Jackson a heart that sees the needs of others. He often sees others needing help and asks if we can help them.  That coupled with his experiences with the homeless is what led to this awesome idea.”

If you would like to be a part of the Bible donation, the “Jackson’s Bibles” ministry is ongoing. Just look for the “Jackson’s Bibles” signs and collection boxes in both Welcome Centers and the Events Center. Simply place your Bible in the box and it, along with the others, will be distributed.

Posted in: Local Missions