In the heart of Central Florida hangs a T-shirt. The T-shirt has been hanging on Pastor Jack Parrott’s door, waiting for the day it will be worn again. You might not think a T-shirt would be an abnormal sight for most who enter the office of a church pastor, but for Pastor Jack Parrot, it’s a symbol of the resolve he has for returning to the students in KiDs Beach Club.
The story starts way back when Pastor Parrott and his church family got together to discuss an inspiring new vision a member of their church named Jannine had for future ministry into their community. A plan was devised, and an after-school program was drafted for the neighboring school. The staff would walk the kids from the school to the church and minister on the home front.
But then they hit their first roadblock as a communications error led to the entire church being blindsided by the news that the school was being torn down and rebuilt from the ground up; in the meantime, the students would be bused across town to continue their studies.
Jack and the team sought new ways to minister to the kids, including the option of renting the school on Wednesdays to find a solution—albeit an expensive one. It was around that time in late Fall of 2019 that they were introduced to KiDs Beach Club, and a solution emerged! As they began meeting in January of 2020, everything was smooth sailing, and the kids were loving every second of the club.
Jack says when remembering those early days, “I would often reassure the parents that safety was our priority, and I would return them more equipped, learned, and happier than when they were left in our care. I upheld that promise week-in and week-out. We had an incredible time as the Father guided our ministry and brought smiles to all our faces.”
As the lead pastor at his church, Jack would conclude his work at the church early on Wednesday afternoons and grab his KiDs Beach Club T-shirt, which always hangs in his office, and rush all the way across town to set up and lead the club.
That is until COVID shut down the school, and the club meetings were suspended until further notice. Jack still keeps that T-shirt hanging on the door in his office, longing for the day when he’ll be able to throw it back on and head out the door to rejoin his KiDs Beach Club family in person.
Though the school remains locked for now, and many of our volunteers await their chance to rejoin their students, it's important to remember that even in the trials of this pandemic, our mission isn’t aborted; we are still on call in this ministry, ready to rush back into it at a moment’s notice.
As Jack says, “Listen, we're Christians. If you're an evangelical and really believe we must reach people with the love of Jesus Christ and the message of Jesus, then that particularly means we must reach the next generation. In my home state, 80% of Floridians don't attend anybody's church. They're not believers. These kids are experiencing a time of radical personal and cultural change. They're wiring themselves emotionally, spiritually, mentally, everything else, and kindergarten through fifth grade is our mission field for Christ!”
We at KiDs Beach Club join those of our volunteers in fervent prayer that they will soon return to their clubs and receive those same smiles, laughs, and fun that accompanies our ministry every step of the way. Lord willing, many hangers will be vacant as our volunteers throw on their leader T-shirts and return with more passion than they left with as the Spirit spurs us back into action with KiDs Beach Club next semester!
Published on Jun 01 2021 @ 3:48 PM CDT
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