Kathy O’Brien is a teacher—a teacher overflowing with passion for kids’ ministry.
Being a Christian educator had been Kathy’s dream since she was seven years old. She actually wrote an essay about it as a young student, but her teacher was less than thrilled.
“The teacher gave me an F and wrote across the top: ‘What a worthless career!’” remembers Kathy. “I just used that as extra incentive to prove to myself that I could be where God wanted me to be.”
Kathy eventually studied education in college and went on to spend more than 10 years serving as a full-time overseas missionary. When she got back to America, she taught at a church camp, but something just wasn’t right.
“I asked the director what they did to correspond with the kids after camp,” recalled Kathy. “He said ‘nothing.’ There was no outreach to help these kids continue walking with God. And that’s my pet peeve with children’s ministry. We have all these programs that lead kids to the Lord, but then we leave them there. They think, ‘Ok, now that I believe, what do I do?’ They really don’t know how to pray, or have quiet time with the Lord, or witness to others. We just assume they know.”
About a year after that conversation, Kathy started Word of Truth Ministries—a Bible correspondence school for kids. The name actually originated from a camper. This young boy really resented being at camp. He had a hardened heart and shied away from other campers. Kathy knew that the boy enjoyed swimming, so one day she went down to the water to watch. She gave him a heartfelt compliment and the boy just beamed. By the grace of God, Kathy was able to crack through his hard shell.
The next day, he said to her: “I want to talk to you about this Jesus you keep talking about, but don’t tell me any lies. I don’t want to hear anything make-believe. Just tell me the truth.” Kathy knew just what to do. She took out her Bible and told the boy the truth about Jesus and the Gospel message. The Holy Spirit led him to faith almost immediately after that conversation.
Through Word of Truth Ministries, Kathy and a group of supporting volunteers mail Bible lessons to kids all over the world—as far away as Mexico and China. Her program takes children through the Bible chronologically, encompassing nearly 150 Gospel-based lessons. Kids between the ages of 5 and 18 are encouraged to start at any time and progress at their own speed.
As children work through the lessons, they study activity pages, real-world application stories, and review questions. They mail those pages back to Kathy; she “grades” them, provides encouraging feedback, and mails the pages back to the student. After seeing them complete a full course of seven lessons, she mails the students prizes—a Bible, Christian devotion books, stickers, and other small gifts. She purchases many of these gifts from CTA because they are affordable and easy to mail. She frequently uses CTA’s stickers, key chains, and activity books.
“I’m drawn to CTA because there is such a wide spectrum of products for different ministries, but all of the products are so appropriate,” said Kathy. “Everything is Scripture-filled and meaningful. The gifts are always colorful and so useful!”
Kathy’s lifetime passion for Christian education is soaring now that Word of Truth Ministries has been in operation for more than 15 years. Her love of God and dedication to the children she serves is truly remarkable.
“I want to come alongside the kids for a season in their lives to help them see the Lord. I want to be more than a typical teacher . . . My goal is to make discipleship the center of my ministry with kids. I want to teach, mentor, and encourage them in their Christian walk with God.”
In many places, church attendance drops during the summer months, so take extra care to make sure your church stays connected with the kids this year. CTA offers several resources for children’s ministry that can be used in summer Sunday school, used at VBS, or sent home with kids. Check out our children’s ministry page to see what would be most useful in your ministry programs!
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in CTA’s Grab ‘n Go newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe to this newsletter, sign up here.
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