Your Voice

Your Voice

Outreach tips for Halloween

By Chip Warren
Albertville, Ala.

For a number of years, my family and I were involved in our church’s fall carnival and were not home for the large number of kids that came through our neighborhood on Halloween.

Now we are delighted to see so many kids and families ringing our doorbell. We love this new opportunity and are having a blast.

I urge churches to encourage some of their members to stay home and participate in trick or treat at their own front doors. Here are two suggestions to consider:

  • In addition to a generous amount of treats, include a kid-friendly and season-appropriate gospel tract or Christian music CD. Bible storybooks or Bible coloring books are also good options.
  • Remember the parents. Include an appropriate gospel tract or a copy of the Gospel of John in your goody bag for the kids. Consider a calendar of upcoming church Christmas programs and information about various ministries.

Building bridges

While the cost of some of these items can quickly add up, I ask, “What value can we place on just one child or parent that may come to Jesus as a result of some of the items they received at your front door?”

Any conversation or interaction with trick-or-treaters and their parents goes a long way in building bridges with them. Money spent is money invested in eternity.

Depending on the number of kids that come through your neighborhood, you may consider asking some church friends who live in a low-traffic or rural area to help you. If you are in the latter group, offer to help a church friend who is in a high-traffic neighborhood.

My ‘Experiencing God’ story: A transformed life

I read your request in The Alabama Baptist to share about the study “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”

That study changed the trajectory of our lives. I’m looking forward to the new edition, planning to go through the study again and hoping it will challenge me as much as it did before.

Here is our Experiencing God story:

We are currently at Valleydale Baptist Church in Birmingham, where my husband, Jeff, serves as the executive pastor.

When the Experiencing God study first launched, we were on staff at Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Northport. Fresh out of seminary, we had just built a new home on a community lake with a beautiful tree house for our three sons.

We were a short drive from grandparents in Birmingham and Mobile. Our church was growing, with one of the fastest growing Sunday Schools in the state of Alabama.

Life was good

As a bonus, Jeff was getting Alabama football/basketball tickets left and right, and life was good!

We had NO reason to want to move. We could have been happy there for the rest of our lives.

However, Jeff became concerned and a little discontent with the fact that most of our growth was due to new baptisms within our own church family or transfers from other churches. A desire welled up within him to reach people who had never known the gospel.

We had some connections in South Florida with a few fellow students Jeff had befriended while in college at Samford University.

One of them asked him to sing at his wedding in Fort Lauderdale, so we drove down the week of the wedding. What a culture shock!

People from all nationalities were there, speaking different languages — truly a melting pot of the world.

My famous last words were, “This is a nice place to visit, but I would NEVER want to live here!” From my mouth to God’s ear. We were living there within three months. God used Experiencing God to bring us to a place where we were willing to let our yes be on the table.

There is so much more to our story. It was not an easy transition for us, but God did so much in our time there.

Here in the Bible Belt you see a lot of lukewarm Christians. Everybody either goes to church or claims to have some sort of church affiliation. In South Florida there were no fake Christians. They were either hot or cold, and when they were saved, it was radically and so refreshing!

We never thought we would be back in the Bible Belt, so we are surprised to find ourselves back in Birmingham.

However, that study brought us to a place in our lives where we will always be looking for God working and looking to see if He is ready for us to join Him.

I am so excited about the new study, knowing how God used it in our lives before. Never before and never since has there been a study so transforming for us.

Over the years I’ve referenced that study to others, and now I’m hoping it will be just as transformative, not only for us, but for this new generation.

By Donna McGukin
Birmingham, Ala.

EDITOR’S NOTE — We’d love to know how the “Experiencing God” study has helped you in your walk with the Lord. Email us at to share your story.

MinistrySafe training

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions began to provide training and procedures to help churches provide a safe environment for children.

In 2015, state missionaries began to attend MinistrySafe training to help prevent child sexual abuse. More than 1,300 other church leaders have since been trained by the MinistrySafe events sponsored by SBOM.

In addition, beginning in 2022, those enlisted by SBOM and Alabama WMU to serve at camps and other events for children and youth were required to receive MinistrySafe awareness training.

During the first half of this year, 150 people received the training.

Your church also can benefit from MinistrySafe training. Each Alabama Baptist church can receive a $200 scholarship toward the first year of MinistrySafe. That lowers the cost to $50 per church.

In addition, each church can train its staff and volunteers with the MinistrySafe awareness training for $5 each.

To sign up, go to Click on the Sign Up Now button, and use the coupon code “alsbom.”

For more information, contact Lee Wright at or 334-613-2241.

In today’s world of laid-back worship, it is easy to lose focus on one’s faith. No better lesson can be found in the Scripture than the story of the thief on the cross at Calvary. No baptism, no communion, no missions trips, no committees. He didn’t even bend his knees to pray the “sinner’s prayer.”

Yet this lowly thief walked into heaven the same hour as Jesus simply by believing! He could offer nothing more than his faith that Jesus was who He said He was.

James W. Anderson
Talladega, Ala.

“Students are in a post-pandemic mental health and spiritual crisis, and the body of Christ can do something about it,” said Doug Clark, national field director for the National Network of Youth Ministries, noting the importance of prayer events like See You at the Pole and the need for students, parents and other Christian adults to pray for this effort.

“It’s a challenge when you start with nothing, but it’s been a blessing,” said John W. Granger, pastor of Church on Boll Weevil Circle, in Enterprise, and retired DOM of Coffee Association, regarding his recent retirement as DOM.

“It is my prayer readers will find the love of Christ, along with His hope, comfort, peace, love and joy, [and] determination to stay focused on Him no matter what might be happening in our lives,” said pastor William “Buddy” Nelson, author of “Getting Off the Fence Post: Choosing How to Face Difficult Times.” 

“You cannot stay where you are and go with God. Change has to happen,” Kris Henderson, discipleship pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church in Ranburne, Alabama.

“I work hard and try to do my best to represent God through football. Whether it’s small things, big things, whatever it is, I understand that God’s with me,” said Bryce Young, University of Alabama starting quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner.

From the Twitterverse


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Satan kills through temptation and then buries with guilt. Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.