By Casey Kellogg
Giving away Bibles: 330 and counting
To some, 17 might seem like an early age to begin a world-changing Bible ministry. But for Bishop Barlow, a Mississippi College student from Madison, it was only the beginning. This was his age when he began Know Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to providing Bibles for inner-city children.
“Since our official beginning in 2016, we have provided over 330 Bibles to inner-city children in six different cities in Mississippi,” said Bishop, now 20. Those cities include Jackson, Brookhaven, Madison, Hattiesburg, Clinton and Yazoo City.
But the project had humble beginnings. As a high-school student, Bishop began selling inspirational bracelets to friends and family in order to raise money for We Will Go Ministries. The $250 he raised was to be just one of his ministries.
“(The We Will Go project) made me realize that I was being called to start my own organization. I have always had a fascination with business and ministry, so starting an organization gave me the best of both worlds.”
After months of preparation, legal advice and much prayer, Bishop began Know Ministries in December 2016. That’s when he and his team began the process of supplying children in the inner city with Bibles. In June 2018, this kingdom-minded ministry became an official nonprofit organization.
“We want every inner-city child to have a Bible and experience a relationship with Jesus,” Bishop said, “We also want each child to be discipled and grow in their understanding of who Jesus is and why He wants to have a relationship with them.”
To accomplish this daunting task, Know Ministries partners with other organizations and churches in Mississippi.
“Instead of starting a new program in the inner cities, my board of directors and I agreed that it would be best for Know Ministries to partner alongside churches and organizations as a way to bring people together.”
These partnerships have involved We Will Go, His Heart, The Jackson Resource Center, The Baptist Children’s Village, United Christian Ministries, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Soul City Church, The Lord’s Supper Homeless Ministry, Mississippi College Baptist Student Union and many more.
“I feel Know Ministries has a chance to do something great with churches and organizations by asking people from all areas of life to come together to spread the message of Jesus,” Bishop said.
In addition to a Bible, Bishop’s ministry also gives children a Know Ministries bracelet, a message card with the plan of salvation, a bookmark with a guide on how to read the Bible and a 30-day Bible-reading plan.
When asked about these gifts, Bishop expressed his desire to do more than just “hand a kid a Bible and then never see them again.”
“We believe that it is our call from God to teach these children how to understand the gospel, and walk alongside them as they grow in their relationship with Jesus.” In the future, Bishop plans to expand involvement with the children in order to accomplish this.
On April 27, Know Ministries will partner with churches and communities to provide Bibles to “unreached and underprivileged kids.”
The event, called The Light 2019, encourages individuals to register with a church, organization or group of friends to distribute Bibles to their own community. Know Ministries will provide the Bibles and other materials, along with personal guidance.
“They will play games with the children, have a worship session and a meal together,” he said. “This year is our first event and we are hoping to make this an annual event.”
Though this year’s participating churches are in the Jackson area, Bishop wants The Light to spread to every U.S. state in the future.
Bishop is also planning a summer mission trip to Puerto Rico, where he hopes to expand his Bible distribution and continue impacting young lives for Christ.
Despite the challenges of such a serious undertaking, Bishop has not lost sight of his original calling; instead, he has pursued his ministry to heights no one could have predicted.
“Giving someone a Bible is great. But you’ve got to teach them. We want to walk alongside these kids.”
Casey Kellogg is an intern at Mississippi Christian Living and a sophomore at Mississippi College, where she is studying English writing with a minor in literature. She hails from Nesbit and enjoys listening to musicals and spending time with her cat, Wishes.