THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Memphis, TN | M Section / Faith and Values
A Perfect Match Store supports Memphis Athletic Ministries with Bibles for children
BY ANNE CHAMBERS Special to Faith & Values
Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) needs Bibles — 800 to be exact — for each of the 800 inner city youth participating in small group Bible studies at the ministry’s 14 neighborhood youth centers.
And Ralph Owen, LifeWay Christian Store manager, needed a ministry to support for a New Living Translation (NLT) Bible promotion at the LifeWay store located at 7720 Polo Grounds Blvd. off Winchester.
“I moved here in August from Dallas, so I was not familiar with local faith- based youth organizations and I had an in-store promotion coming up for the month of September,” stated Ralph. “When I googled ‘Memphis Ministries’ and Memphis Athletic Ministries popped up, I knew that I had indeed found the perfect match.”
“At MAM we need Bibles that kids can call their own. We had just discussed in staff meeting how great it would be if each kid had their own Bible, but the prospect of coming up with 800 Bibles seemed like such a large undertaking. So we were more than overjoyed when Ralph called to see if we could use Bibles,” said James Armfield, MAM president and chief executive officer.
The NLT translation is a compact pocket Bible that is very popular with kids of all ages. The language is easy to understand, the Bibles come in a variety of fun colors, and the small size makes it easy for youth to carry in backpacks, purses and pockets.
Among children receiving Bibles are (seated, from left) fourth-grader Marquisha Morton, sixth-grader Lavonte Fisher, fifth-grader Tamara Morton and sixth-grader Kaylin Morton, all of Grandview Elementary; and (standing) eighth- graders Lamarcus Morton and Jesse Walker, both of Westside Middle School.
Ralph Owen, LifeWay Christian Store manager, shows off some of the Bibles purchased by customers for the children served by Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM).
Daryl Braden, MAM neighborhood director for the MAM New Hope Center, agrees. “The kids are really enjoying having their own Bibles. They have been more diligent in remembering to bring their Bibles every day and are taking notes, marking Scripture and paying closer attention to what they are being taught.”
“It is pretty cool to have my own Bible. I like the bright color and I like to carry it with me in my backpack,” said Tamara Morton, age 11, a fifth- grader at Grandview Elementary.
LifeWay is asking its customers to purchase the regularly priced $19.99 Bible for $5 and donate a Bible to MAM. To date, 1,273 Bibles have been donated.
“This promotion is a perfect match for everyone. LifeWay is a not for profit company that makes significant contributions to Christian missions and ministries. Giving Bibles to MAM not only increases sales, but also gives our customers an opportunity to give to the poor in our community,” stated Ralph.
“And from a personal standpoint, I grew up playing sports and heard the gospel for the first time while playing football, so the premise of combining sports with youth ministry greatly appeals to me.”
Anne Chambers is the Communications director for Memphis Athletic Ministries.