The organising team behind Jesus Club – which runs groups for adults with intellectual disability around the Diocese and beyond – is planning a “Big Day In” evangelistic event at Castle Hill this month and would love to spread the word.
Josh Reid, the operations manager for The Jesus Club Community Inc, says that, before COVID, several popular events were held that brought all the groups together, such as a disco and an art exhibition. Now that concerns related to the pandemic are subsiding, it seemed they could finally plan another event – but they were keen for it to have an evangelistic flavour.
“I was talking to Matt Gorton at QuizWorx about it, and I said, ‘Our guys still love puppets and singing and dancing and being silly, and they have a desire to learn about Jesus, but you guys only do things with kids’,” Mr Reid recalls. “And he said, ‘I’ve actually done a church in Brisbane that has a big group of adults with intellectual disabilities, and we designed and adapted the show for them’. So, that’s where it started.”
Mr Reid adds that, although many Jesus Club members might have the outlook of a five-year-old, with the attendant innocence and wonder, they are still adults with a lot of lived experience and need to be treated as such.
“In our worksheets we don’t have pictures of children doing activities – we use pictures of adults,” he says. “We don’t quote from the children’s Bible but from the easy-to-read adult Bible. It’s really important that what we present and do on the day is for adults... we consciously think of them as our peers. It’s adult and adult, not adult and child.”
The plan for the afternoon includes the QuizWorx performance – which is an adapted version of its show Molly and the Lost Sheep – singing, a puppet-making workshop, a dance presentation from members of the Castle Hill Jesus Club and afternoon tea. Attendees will also be given a showbag containing a CEV gospel and a number of Christian comics, which all have a person with a disability pictured on the front.
Mr Reid says that members are enthusiastically asking friends with disability to the event because they want them to know about Jesus.
“One of the ways that Jesus Club grows is because the members of Jesus Club who become Christian, or are Christians, tell their other friends and associates that they hang out with in art groups, special Olympics groups or sport groups about it – they’re good evangelists!” he says.
“We know that a lot of the Sydney-based Jesus Clubs are going to come together on the day and participate in a fun, exciting gospel message that’s presented in a way that they can understand. It’s also going to be a great time of fellowship, because a lot of these people know each other... but they probably haven’t seen each other for a long time.
“We also hope that many other adults with intellectual disabilities will come along. That will happen through members bringing people, but we also hope that others who aren’t connected to Jesus Club will hear about it and decide to come because it will be a great afternoon for them. And if they want to learn more about who Jesus is and his good news, this is a great way to do it!”
The event will be held on May 27 from 2pm-4.30pm at St Paul's, Castle Hill. It’s free, but people need to register by May 19 here so catering and resources can be organised.