Special to MCL
Equipped with a Bible in one hand and a guitar in the other, Harold Sprayberry ventures into the metro Jackson area for a singular purpose: to share the gospel with children. For the past 10 years, he has used a Bible club that includes games, songs, activities, and Bible stories to reach children with the good news of salvation.
Sprayberry’s Bad News … Great News Clubs meet all around the metro, and he leads seven clubs a week at places like Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, private daycares, after-school programs, and more.
Sprayberry is greeted with smiles, hugs, and high-fives when he shows up for clubs. With only 45 minutes per club, he is always looking for ways to connect with the kids. One way is through music. Some songs, like “Pharaoh, Pharaoh” and “Bullfrogs and Butterflies,” are older but still fun for younger kids. “The kids sing along and even end up memorizing the songs,” Harold says.
One popular song lists the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5. “It’s great because you’re taking something that’s fun but teaching truth.”
At the clubs, many kids hear a clear gospel message for the first time.
“Most of the kids that I deal with don’t even know John 3:16,” Harold says. “As a child, for me, that was the first verse that I memorized. Their knowledge is very limited, and many kids have never heard about the free gift of salvation.” Instead, they’ve heard things like go to church, obey God, and be a good person; everything but the finished work of Jesus.
Sprayberry adds: “I’ve noticed that sin, the subject of sin, is not talked about that much anymore. It’s because of sin and the condition of our hearts that we need Christ. He’s the one who took the punishment for what we deserve. When they hear that, you can see the kids perk up, and it’s like a light goes off in their heads, and many finally get it and respond.”
Sprayberry has many stories about kids making a decision to trust Jesus, but the children aren’t the only ones getting exposure to the gospel. Leaders are there at every club, overseeing the children and listening.
Sprayberry will usually give an invitation to trust Christ at certain times. With heads bowed and eyes closed, he will ask the kids to raise their hands if they decide. One time, at a club in south Jackson, he noticed two leaders raising their hands. “It was so incredibly encouraging to see how the Holy Spirit leads in these clubs,” he says.
Sprayberry recounts another encouraging moment: “Several months ago, I had a club in south Jackson, and I would start leading the songs. After one song, this little girl was looking at me, and she raised her hand. She said, ‘After we sing, are we going to pray, read the Bible, and talk about God and Jesus?’
“That absolutely floored me! You don’t see many kids interested in praying and reading the Bible and talking about God, and yet this young girl had an appetite that I think only the Holy Spirit could give her.”
Seeds are being planted every day with Bad News … Great News Clubs, and the harvest is plentiful. Harold says, “This ministry is important to me because it’s important to Christ. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ I think those are profound words that have inspired me to serve in this ministry for such a long time.”
About Harold Sprayberry
Born in 1952, Harold Sprayberry was raised in south Jackson and attended church there until 1981. He then joined Riverwood Bible Church in Jackson and is still a member. Harold has ministered to children 3 years old and up as well as teenagers from 1970 to now.
In addition to numerous ministry roles, Harold taught and coached junior high kids in private school for two years and public school for eight years. He left teaching and his coaching profession in 1985 to become a youth pastor and children’s director at Riverwood Bible Church for the next 29 years.
At Riverwood, he started a children’s ministry founded in Chicago called AWANA (“Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed,” 2 Timothy 2:15). He worked as commander and Bible lesson leader of this ministry for 27 years. From 2012 to 2014, he led Bible clubs in daycares, YMCAs, and Boys & Girls Clubs via Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).
In 2014, he branched out with his own club called Bad News … Great News Clubs. These clubs are now a part of a larger ministry called International Children’s Outreach of Commerce, Georgia. The mission is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with boys and girls and train them in Christian living.
To reach Harold Sprayberry to pray for or support him, email email@example.com.