Making a Difference

By Jeremy Varnell

Our Next Up campaign is a pursuit of IBC’s vision for the future. We believe that God wants to transform this city using people, who are transformed by the gospel of Jesus. Ann and Mark are two people, transformed by Jesus through their service with Children at IBC. When we think about why we would pour our hearts, money, and resources into Next Up, it’s stories like these that remind us that Next Up is not just about “a kids’ building.”

Ann Hatcher

Ann Hatcher is a woman changed by the gospel of Jesus. She has been transformed and continues to transform. Ann embodies what a disciple making disciples looks like. This dedicated Christ-follower began working with Children at IBC after moving here from Austin. She answered a call for a dire need with 3 and 4 year olds at her church and stayed with the kids until they were ten. She was reluctant because she had never taught, much less taught children. But Luke 12:12 became her refrain, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Ann got hooked. She has continued to pour into the lives of kids finding her heart full. You see Ann depends every week on the Holy Spirit to fill her and guide her teaching. Her relationship with Jesus is stronger because of her stepping into her discomfort and asking the Spirit to help in her weakness. And the Kindergartners Ann connects with are growing too! Over the last few years she has served, the kids feel safe with her and trust her as she shares what the Holy Spirit brings forth.

Her own children are adults now, and she currently has no “stake” in Children’s ministry... except that she does!

Mark Nordick

Mark Nordick is another picture of the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus in action. Mark serves with 2nd-graders weekly. He started serving when they were in Kindergarten, so his relationship with the kids has grown in the last three years. The kids have gained deeper understanding of the stories they encounter in the Bible. Mark loves to see the kids learn about and move closer to Christ. Despite his very time-demanding job, Mark looks forward to walking into serve in Children’s ministry each week. He says that it gives him the chance to make a difference in a child’s life. This opportunity motivates him to return each week and has transformed his view on life to ensure that he remembers the important things. When a break from work would be nice, Mark chooses to lean into serving because as Mark says, “I think God is pretty clear about how important his children are.”

Mark does not have any children of his own…except that he does!

Transformed Kids

In Acts 2, we read these words,

    “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people” (vs. 44-47).

This picture of gospel community depicts devotion to one another and support within the body of believers. The way that Ann and Mark serve the body by serving children is such a clear reflection of real, gospel community. It can seem like this passage pertains to only adults, but children are vital contributors to the body as well. Mark and Ann know that those malleable minds and hearts are craving to know about the God, who loves them.

And note here what the last sentence of verse 47 says, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Working with children is not only an opportunity to recognize their value to the body of believers, but there is a ripe harvest of impressionable kids yearning for relationship with the God of the universe. Is there an easier place to bring the Word of God to a soul thirsty to learn more?

Why do they care? Because Ann and Mark know what it means to be a committed member of the body of Christ. To serve the next generation for the sake of their eternity is part of parenting. But to humbly serve those same kids with no parental connection to them is an honorable commitment to the body of Christ.

These two represent the heart of IBC. Leaning into their Savior and overflowing with his love to children. They give time, wisdom, heart, money, and the love of Jesus to the children of Irving Bible Church as a response to what their Lord has done for them! Mark and Ann are transformed/transforming people, who are contributing to the transformation of children.

Our desire to see lives transformed is the motivation behind Next Up. Transformed Kids. Transformed Adults. Transformed Cities. Join us in being transformed and seeing Jesus transform the world around us!

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