Pastor-Artist Illustrates Primer on the Sacraments
By Zoe S. Erler

In 2013, when Jason Dorsey pastored Redeemer Presbyterian in Indianapolis, he often met kids from the 16 Park apartments, a subsidized-housing complex several blocks from the church. Redeemer members had started an after-school program in the neighborhood, and some of the youngsters had begun showing up for church. Before long, having observed Redeemer’s weekly practice of the Lord’s Supper, these kids wanted to know, “Why can’t we come up for Communion?”

Dorsey and the other leaders faced a quandary.

They wanted children to be in the church, and they wanted them to come to the Lord’s Table. But these boys and girls weren’t ready; they hadn’t fully grasped the faith, nor did they understand the sacrament. That meant leaders had some teaching to do, and some evangelizing.

Dorsey, who grew up in a family of artists, including a great-grandmother who was a popular early 20th-century cartoonist and children’s book illustrator, decided to write and illustrate a booklet for these children. The booklet, titled “Come In,” would lay out the basic teachings of the Reformed faith. And it would be accessible to unchurched adults, too, so they could prepare their children to take Communion or be baptized.

The intent, Dorsey says, is to prepare children to communicate their faith to church leaders, either for the purpose of taking Communion or being baptized, if they were not baptized as infants.

Several families from 16 Park read the book with their children, and two boys decided to be baptized, showing up one Sunday in their best suits and polished shoes, while their parents sat beaming in the pews.

“It was a big deal for them,” Dorsey says.

The experience highlighted for Dorsey that a booklet like this could be useful for churches in their regular preparation of children to take Communion.

“I realized in the process that there was actually nothing that I knew of from our denomination that really led kids from the basics of the Bible. It was something that could be used by parents/guardians or pastors and elders in that process of talking to the kids and hearing them share their faith and so on.”

Dorsey reached out to other pastor friends to get feedback on how to improve the book and began making changes in order to market it more widely. But in 2015, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Dorsey and his wife, Jenny, decided to relocate from Indianapolis back to their home in Washington state to be near family. He accepted a call from Redeemer Redmond. The book was shelved, at least for the moment.

In 2020, during the lull of the pandemic, Dorsey dusted off the project, completed the book, and published it under the Sunnyshore Studio imprint, an art collaborative that Dorsey launched after moving back to Washington.

Accompanied by warm watercolor illustrations, the booklet is a winsome invitation: “Come In: Welcoming Children to Baptism and Communion.” Twelve chapters lay out the basics of the Reformed faith: the Bible, Creation, sin, the history of Israel, the person of Jesus, the significance of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit, baptism, Communion, Jesus’ return, and the Great Commission.

A second section delves into the five covenant promises one makes when joining a church in the PCA.

The intent, Dorsey says, is to prepare children to communicate their faith to church leaders, either for the purpose of taking Communion or being baptized, if they were not baptized as infants.

Dorsey wants children to come away from the book with a few key truths: that the Bible is for them, that the church is for them, and, most importantly, that Jesus is for them, too.

He writes in the introduction: “Sometimes pastors use big words that are hard to understand. I’m going to try to explain them using pictures. Pictures help me. Maybe they will help you. If they don’t, ask your mom or dad or guardian to explain. I hope the pictures help you see that Jesus’ arms are open wide to welcome you. He loves you. He wants you in his family forever. He says, ‘Come in.’”

To learn more about “Come In” or Dorsey’s other children’s books, visual art, and film projects, visit

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