A passion for ministry

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – Jon Harvey and his family have been attending First Baptist Church in Clarksville since 1994. It’s where Jon learned about Jesus, and where he was baptized at age 12 after praying with his father, Doug, to accept Christ. 

Jon is 34-years old and is known as the ‘King of Vacation Bible School’ (VBS). He already knows next year’s theme, and he volunteers, without hesitation, with music and to be a group leader. He became a deacon a few years ago, and he’s always the first one to sign up for any mission opportunity – especially if it involves doing a VBS. 

After hearing all of this, it was no wonder that Jon was one of the first few people we met during our trip to Clarksville to see what churches in the area were doing for One Day: Serve Local on October 3. He had on his Razorback hoodie, which I was told he’s a huge fan of, and he was sporting the orange salvation bracelet that One Day: Serve Local participants received. 

Stationed at a laundromat in town, Jon and a group from FBC Clarksville were there to pay for people’s laundry and share the Gospel. Teresa Grenwelge was there that day and told me later that Jon was the lead on passing out the coins and sharing the Gospel with his bracelet. 

“What’s so amazing about Jesus is that He is God from the Old Testament to the New Testament,” Jon said. “And I want to share that with people so their names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” 

Cheryl Harvey, Jon’s mother, said that Jon has been an inspiration not only to people in the community and at church, but in their own family as well. 

“I’ve been amazed at the way God has given him a way of understanding spiritual matters and such a heart for learning about Jesus and spreading the gospel. It comes from just a pure place and such a  longing to just be more like Jesus,” she said. “He’s always been an inspiration for me, as his mother, but for his sister and just our family in general. He’s helped us to grow in our relationship with Jesus.” 

Before COVID-19, every Sunday morning before the 9 a.m. service, the pastor and associate pastor would meet with anyone who wanted to join to pray for that day’s service. Jon and his father were always there, faithfully. Even now, as the prayer has moved virtual, Jon is there and always has ‘a prayer that touches hearts.’

While there isn’t a special class or ministry geared towards people with disabilities at their church, Jon’s parents said that his inclusion in all aspects of church life has been integral in letting his passion for sharing the Gospel grow.

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