February 2008 – “I felt like a Catholic boy who got blessed by the Pope!” That’s how Jimmy Evans recalls his brief meeting with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. When Warren learned of Evans’ ministry of distributing free CDs and tapes, Warren gave permission to use some of the pastor’s own recorded sermons and teachings.
Evans says he’s always loved listening to personal testimonies. Through the years, he often shared with friends some of the tapes and CDs that ministered to or
“I’ve always found them very inspiring,” he told AFA Journal. “Then people would give me feedback on how they enjoyed them, too. Well, finally, I thought, ‘This would be a great ministry, a really easy way to share the Gospel.’”
Traveling as a vendor calling on grocery stores, Evans spotted a rack of Christian literature at the Country Junction Truck Stop in Wesson, Mississippi, some 60 miles south of Jackson. The man who had run the ministry had passed away.
“I’ve always thought about giving away tapes and CDs, but I’ve never pursued it,” Evans told the manager. “Could I do that here?” He got immediate permission, but months passed before he got organized.
“Then one Friday, I felt God telling me I needed to go to the truck stop that day,” Evans said. “But I said, ‘No, God, I’m not ready. I’ll go Monday.’” Monday, he went to Country Junction and the rack was nowhere in sight.
“I didn’t think you were going to do it,” the lady told him. “It’s been so long.”
“Where’s the rack?” Evans asked.
“Oh, we threw it away Friday.” Evans rescued the rack from out back, cleaned it up, stocked it with a few CDs and tapes and posted a sign that said, “Free – Take One.” Thus, in June 2002, Believer Should Ministries, as Evans dubbed the project, was off and rolling down I-55.
Since that humble beginning, Evans has distributed more than 120,000 CDs and tapes (24,957 in 2007 alone), most of them at Country Junction and all of them free of charge. He secures permission, does the duplication and depends on his wife Mary, daughter Elizabeth, 13, and son J.T., 9, to help package them.
“It’s a unique way to share the Gospel,” he said. “I still give out primarily testimonies. They’re always great because no one can ever argue with what God has done in someone else’s life. They can’t say, ‘That’s not true.’”
David Gibbs Jr.’s message titled “God is Attracted to Weakness” has drawn the most feedback. “The first story on here is so funny,” Evans said, “I’ve had people tell me that when they heard it, they had to pull off the road because they were laughing so hard.” The story has to do with Gibbs unloading the holding tank on the camper he rented for family vacation.
Men from Evans’ church, Colonial Heights Baptist in Ridgeland, Mississippi, helped him set up the Web site to showcase the ministry’s offerings. The entire ministry is administered by the church, giving Evans an accountability relationship.
After five-and-a-half years, he said he’s received incredible encouragement in many ways. For example, Ted Betz stocks a similar rack at Arlene’s Truck Stop in Battle Creek, Michigan. He started after he read about and contacted Evans. Evans sent him a complete set of his library of messages.
A Country Junction employee told Evans that people mail the tapes and CDs to others worldwide, from Japan to Kuwait. A truck driver listens to the messages, then gives them to his daughter in prison. Evans gets feedback from people who returned to their walk with the Lord after listening to a CD and from others who came to faith in Christ.
Evans is awed at how far God has carried this ministry. But he knows it can still go farther. One of his favorite slogans to end letters and notes to friends is, “Keep fishing until the nets are full.” And Jimmy Evans is still fishing – at Country Junction Truck Stop.
MORE INFORMATION ...
Jimmy Evans never asks for money, and he seemed a little surprised that some AFA Journal readers might want to make a donation. For more information on starting a free CD ministry or to make a contribution (checks payable to the church):
Colonial Heights Baptist Church
ATTN: Missions and Outreach Dept.
444 Northpark Drive
Ridgeland, MS 39157