Louisiana Churches Team Up to Share Christ with Kids
By Julie Campbell
On an ordinary day shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Paul Ninemire heard a voice as he drove past the local elementary school in his town. “I saw children running to the bus, and I thought, ‘I wonder how many of those kids are in Sunday school?’ And I heard God say, ‘Who is going to tell them that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives?’”
The ninety-year-old former pastor of First Church of God in Oak Grove, Louisiana, knew he couldn’t ignore God’s voice, but he wasn’t exactly sure what he could do. Then he remembered what an impact Egermeier’s Bible Story Book had on his life as a young college student. “I got a copy of the book right after I was saved in 1950, and the stories just blessed my heart,” he recalled.
So, he shared his vision with some friends in his weekly coffee group. “I told them if I could find 100 people to give $500, we could buy enough books for every family in our parish,” he said, explaining that Louisiana is divided by parishes instead of counties. “And a fellow followed me out and gave me $500. That got the ball rolling.”
Before he knew it, money was flowing in from churches of all different denominations from all over the parish, and soon there was enough money to order 5,000 copies of Egermeier’s Bible Story Book from its publisher, Warner Christian Resources (formerly known as Warner Press). One businessman donated warehouse space, and another company even volunteered to ship the books for free.
Currently, about 30 to 35 churches in the parish are planning to distribute the beloved Bible story books to homes around the area during the month of June, just in time to spread the word about a nondenominational day camp that will take place July 19–22 at the community center in Oak Grove.
“A team is writing curriculum for the day camp based on the stories in the book,” explained Ninemire. “We have thirteen teams from all the churches involved in the camp—an ad team, a curriculum team, a craft team, a follow-up team, a cooking team, and so on. I’ve never seen such unity in our parish.”
Ninemire insists that this entire project could not have happened without the Church with a capital C—God’s people from all denominations coming together with a common goal of reaching children for Christ.
“It’s not about me. It’s about what God is doing through the vision he gave me,” Ninemire said, his voice breaking with emotion. “My heart just swells with admiration for what God is doing. I don’t want to take any credit, because at the foot of the cross the ground is level.”
Ninemire said he has been amazed at how God has worked and brought people around him to help accomplish the vision. “That’s the message D. S. Warner (primary pioneer of the Church of God movement) wanted to share—that all Christians should work together,” said Ninemire. “Second Corinthians 4:4–6 says, ‘This ministry we have,’ not this ministry I have, or you have, but we have together. We as Christians need to lock arms and take responsibility for sharing the gospel.”
Egermeier’s Bible Story Book has touched children, adults, and families for nearly 100 years. You can purchase hard cover and paperback versions of the books at Warner Christian Resources.
Julie Campbell is an editor at Warner Christian Resources (Warner Press) and a freelance journalist. A former city girl from Chicago, she enjoys country life with her husband Russ on a five-acre apple orchard in Madison County, Indiana. She is a blessed mom of three wonderful young adult children and one very spoiled white boxer.
Feature (top) collage: Book cover; churches pray over boxes of the books before distribution.