Your Voice

Your Voice

Tips for discipling new believers

By Pastor Jerome Whaley
Freedom Baptist Church, Ranburne

I’m so excited for those teens who gave their lives to Jesus [at Freedom Baptist Church’s Heart of A Champion event Aug. 11].

Parents, I’m excited for you too. Now you may be asking, “Where do we go from here?”

Here are a few things I believe will help you encourage your teen’s newfound faith.

1. Model it.

Show them the example they need to follow. You get in the Word. You make the effort to be in church and serve.

2. Give them a resource that makes sense to them.

Find them a good devotional and a Bible. It’s important for them to immediately get in the word of God.

3. Encourage honesty.

If your teen is still struggling in their faith, let them know it’s OK to be honest about it.

4. Don’t push too hard.

Your teen will respond better to your encouragement than your pressure. Remember they are still human. They will still make mistakes. They will still say things that make you go, “Hmmmm!”

5. Partner with a student ministry.

Get them involved in a church youth group and under a youth pastor who is in the Word.

 6. Pray, then pray again, then pray some more.

This is our lifeline to the throne of God. This is how we communicate and listen to Him.

7. Be ready when they’re ready to talk.

Be ready for these moments. They are rare but precious. Prepare yourself by being in the Word and making changes in your life.

8. Seek a church and a pastor.

If you do not have a church family, FIND ONE. This is so important for new believers. They need to surround themselves with this support system. The pastor is there to help disciple and answer questions you may have.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Pastor Jerome Whaley provided these tips for parents following a student event at Freedom Baptist Church in Ranburne where 11 students made decisions to follow Christ. The list is reprinted with permission. Read more about the event and other efforts to reach high school student athletes with the gospel at

Letters to the Editor

In response to Andy Frazier’s opinion piece in the Aug. 18 issue of The Alabama Baptist — “Help kids find healthy balance” — I totally agree that organized sports practices and competitions should not be scheduled or participated in on Sundays.

They are too much like work and have nothing to do with the commanded Sabbath day of rest. It is especially poor training for children.

Sabbath days are to be special: for church, family meals, gentle rest from harsh and mundane physical and mental labors, journaling the Lord’s blessings of the past week, prayerfully considering the week ahead, talking with and counseling friends and family by phone and catching up on reading TAB.

Bob Cosby
Birmingham, Ala.

[Social media] is an unbiblical way to handle potential conflict. Ephesians 4:29 tells us not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, “but only what is good for building up someone in need.”

Many times, conflict seems easier to handle behind a screen through harmful words that we might not be bold enough to say in person. You must be careful with your written comments and responses and consider how what you’re typing might be received.

Remember that you’re a representative of the church and an ambassador of Christ. Kindness always wins!

John Murphy
Managing director of insurance sales
GuideStone Financial Resources

Show kindness and care about others! This world is broken. We as Christians need to step it up. We are to be Jesus to those we come in contact with. Let’s do a better job being His ambassador!

Lisa C. Martin
Trussville, Ala.

The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.

Thomas Aquinas
13th century theologian and philosopher

“When they know you’re sincere and you’re there because you love them, by and large people will receive that,” said Terry Long, director of missions for Choctaw Baptist Association, on door-to-door evangelism.

The Great Commission commands the Church (us) to go into all the world. It does not tell us to ask the world to come to us, rather we are to go to them. I have seen many people get out of the pew and into the field through disaster relief.

The beauty of all of this is it requires people of all skill sets. This ministry requires good leaders, those who can manage people, assign work projects and oversee a specific area. It requires those with good organizational skills; those who can cook (we love our cooks!); those who have good mechanical skills for set up of equipment, repairs and resources; those who do not mind getting dirty and working hard; those who have the gift of evangelism; those who just want to serve; and the list goes on. God has a place for anyone He calls.

Ron Crow
Disaster Relief director
Kentucky Baptist Convention

“When you compete in a sport at my level, [your faith is] going to get challenged a lot more. I’m keeping a positive mentality because I know I’m chasing something greater than myself,” said U.S. sumo wrestler Andrew “Stonewall” Roden, who competed this summer in the World Games in Birmingham.

Prayer is not something we do because we can’t do anything else. Our Lord says to “pray constantly.” Prayer is the before, during and after of daily life. It is a gift that honors God.

Lisa Farrell
Director, IMB prayer office

As Christians, we are called to love one another and present ourselves as humble servants, which is the greatest message to those who are far from Christ.

Joe Souza
Ethnic ministry coordinator
Baptist Churches of New England

“We are called to live out the Great Commission as a living sacrifice.”

Bill Morrison
Author of “Offered” and “Offered as Worship: Attributes of a Disciple”

Growing a healthier church

Biotic refers to actions caused by living organisms. … Let me share six biotic principles identified by author Christian Schwarz in relation to your spiritual growth and the health of your church. …

  1. Interdependence: God created us to be interdependent with other believers to grow individually and corporately as a church.
  2. Multiplication: God created us not for endless growth, but to reproduce. A tree does not endlessly grow but drops seeds year after year to produce more trees.
  3. Energy transformation: Rather than force or coercion, God’s ecological system uses the transformation of energy to bring about growth, even from unlike beings. While feeding on the nectar of flowers and plants, bees and butterflies transfer pollen from one plant to another.
  4. Multi-usage: Trees gather nutrients through their roots and produce leaves each year to provide shade, nesting and other necessities for bugs, animals and people around the trees. The leaves die in season, fall to the ground and decay, producing more nutrients to be absorbed by the roots.
  5. Symbiosis (the interconnected coexisting of two dissimilar beings for the shared benefits): We are not created to live alone in a silo but to live in symbiosis with one another for the mutual benefit of being used by God in His kingdom work.
  6. Functionality: Every living thing God has created has two great attributes — to bear fruit and to reproduce.

What can you garner from understanding these biotic principles of healthy growth?

George Yates
Church health strategist
Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions



Some things I believe about work:

  1. Work is a blessing. God gave humanity something to do as a part of their created design. (Gen. 1:28)
  2. Work is some part of bearing the image of God. (He works, we work.)
  3. Work should be done well and with excellence. (Col. 3:23)
  4. Worship and work are closely related. (Col. 3:17)
  5. Work is NOT our identity. Our identity is in Christ (grace) not in what we accomplish (work).
    (Eph. 2:8–10)


If you know Jesus, then you know the Giver of all the hope, grace, mercy and encouragement that you need today.


No matter how long you’ve served the Lord, there are those special days when ministry is so special and so sweet that it is a reminder of your calling and a confirmation that you are doing exactly what God has called you to do. Today was one of those days for me.


White supremacy is evil.

Pastors must work to reverse a long-standing silence, apathy & indifference to the pain & suffering of people of color.

We must engage one another & look to Christ as our only hope & solution. Now is the time for gospel-centered racial reconciliation.


Love is how you respond to people who irritate you.


I’m in a town I’ve never been to preach to a people I’ve never met. Many pastors will enter the pulpit to stand before a people they’ve cried with, prayed for and done life with for years … decades even.

Big, small, city, rural — all of us have the same aim: #preachtheWord.


“To be a Christian is not a pious pose. It is not a long list of restrictions. Christianity flings open the windows to the real joy of living.”


A baby in the womb (what some call a fetus):

  • has a heartbeat at 3 weeks
  • forms a brain & spinal cord at 6 weeks
  • reacts to touch at 8 weeks
  • sucks their thumb at 14 weeks
  • is valued by God ALWAYS!

That’s called LIFE!