Leslie Byrd, Senior Pastor

New World UMC

East District


Matthew 19:13-14

Some people brought children to Jesus so that he would place his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded them. “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” Then he blessed the children and went away from there.


When I was seven, I was in a Girl Scout troop that met at the church across from my elementary school. In the room where we met, there was a picture of a man on the wall that intrigued me. I asked about the man and others told me He was called Jesus. They said churches taught about Jesus.


My family did not attend church, but the next Sunday I dressed and walked to the church across from my school. The gentleman at the door looked a bit perplexed about what to do with an unaccompanied child standing before him. I told him I was here to learn more about Jesus. I also told him I went to school across the street.


This kind man took me to the children’s area of the church and introduced me to a wonderful lady and a classroom with children. I stayed for the entire hour and learned that Jesus loved me with all His heart and that was such wonderful and comforting news.


I did not get to go back to the church because my parents separated a couple of weeks later and I went to live with my grandparents. But I have never forgotten the kind man at the door and the teacher who welcomed me and told me that Jesus loves me.


My grandmother took me to her church where I was the only child for three years in the Sunday school – but that teacher too reminded me week after week that Jesus loved me. I asked questions, learned to read the Bible, and begin to talk to God. I have never forgotten these moments and the impact they made on my life. I see every child of God as one who just might want to know more about the man named Jesus, who loves them with all His heart.


Gracious God in heaven,

Thank you for those faithful servants who so graciously and tirelessly work to teach and lead all God’s children to Jesus. In a world where people are continually searching for meaning and purpose, Jesus offers us truth, justice, forgiveness, peace and most of all love. Within all of us is the heart of a child – enable us to look for ways to remind each child that Jesus loves them with all His heart. In His holy name we pray. Amen.




February 19th, 2021 – Waco, TX – 9:00-3:30