Your Voice: Churches have opportunity to help children and be a village

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Your Voice: Churches have opportunity to help children and be a village

We’re living in a time when many families truly need a village to help them escape the generational burdens of fatherlessness, poverty and lack of educational opportunities. In both urban and rural communities, the church has the opportunity to be that village.

Doing the chasing

Pastor Michael Catt once observed that the group who chases the heart of young people will catch them. What if, instead of the gangs, drug dealers and other evil forces doing all the chasing, God’s people are contenders in this race?

If you went to prison and interviewed inmates, I daresay almost none would say, “I was in church and then I went to prison.”

When the church views mentoring as another aspect of making disciples and invests time and resources into building strong spiritual relationships with young people, only good will come from that effort.

Here are some ways God’s people can do God’s work to help people come to faith and walk with the Lord:

  • A strong Christian man can be a powerful influence when he chooses to be a spiritual father to a fatherless young man. Attend ballgames, cheer him on, take him and his friends to dinner and then to church. It’s relationship-driven but it works.
  • The church can provide educational opportunities, such as helping high school students prepare for the ACT or SAT, taking a student on a tour of one of our Baptist colleges or providing financial assistance for the student to attend college. What if the church committed to stand in the gap in cases where parents might be absent or simply unfamiliar with what is possible?

The church can be the second family that sees these young people through high school, college, military and beyond. We can love them as Christ loves them and help them see a lifestyle of health, happiness and joy.

Future families

They will want that for themselves and for their future families.

Who in your community needs someone to invest in them? More importantly, who are you going to invest your life in? Who’s your one?

By Neal Hughes
Director of missions
Montgomery Baptist Association

Alabama families and the ‘pipeline to prison’

I have done prison ministry for as long as I have been in pastoral ministry.

There is one thing I find in common with the incarcerated more times than not; that is many of them have had a horrible home life that includes broken promises, broken marriages, drug abuse, abandonment and dysfunction on many levels.

While this is no excuse for criminal behavior it is an explanation that points to a solution.

Over time, the compounding issues of our families form pathologies that we in the church call generational curses where the kids seem to get sucked into a vortex from which there seems to be no escape. Our state’s incarcerated also seem to be severely limited in academic ability and communication skills.

Can the state do better?

So can the state do any better than the family in raising children? No, all it can do is expand its reach over the people through stiffer and more intrusive laws.

Right now the state is seeking to make stricter laws for fentanyl use and seeks to ban divisive language in college classrooms which, in my opinion, actually adds to the problem.

If the family cannot get its children off drugs or teach them to intellectually defend themselves, why does the state think it can do a better job by bolstering state power to trample on the rights of educators or taking advantage of those already addicted?

The family has collapsed. … We have forfeited our responsibilities and can prepare for the rise of an authoritarian regime that will do the thinking and acting for us!

By Pastor Robert O. White II
Pastor, City of Refuge Church in Montgomery
Faculty member, Alabama State University

The thief on the cross and me

How does your faith compare to the thief on the cross?

As we enter the Easter season, it is especially appropriate that we as Christians reflect and examine our faith and Christian beliefs.

As we consider what we believe compared to the thief on the cross at Calvary, it is an opportunity for unimpeded honesty with the Lord and how our personal beliefs fit with the thief.

For this thief, there was no baptism, no communion, no confirmation, no speaking in tongues, no missions trips, no volunteerism nor church clothes.

He didn’t recite a sinner’s prayer. He couldn’t even bend his knees to pray.

Among other things, he was just a thief.

Jesus didn’t take away his pain, heal his body or rebuke his scoffers.

Yet it was this thief on the cross that walked into heaven the same hour as Jesus, simply by believing.

This thief had nothing more to offer than his belief that Jesus was who He said He was.

There was no spin from brilliant theologians or flashy TV evangelists. There was no ego displays or arrogance or shiny lights or crafty words. No donuts and coffee at the entrance on Sunday mornings.

Just a naked man dying on a cross, unable to fold his hands to pray.

Are you at peace with your Christian beliefs?

James W. Anderson
Talladega, Ala.

Then [the thief on the cross] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 2:42–43).

The redemptive purpose and ministry of God through the church is carried out by enabling others to know His forgiveness.

Morris Murray Jr.
Jasper, Ala.

You’ve got to be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do — who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. … It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.

Coach Nick Saban
University of Alabama

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

Elisabeth Elliot
Missionary, author, speaker

“No matter how many ways we tell it, there’s still somebody out there who hasn’t heard it quite like that, who needs to hear it, who’s waiting to hear it, who actually is praying that somebody would tell them the story.

“God is so gracious that He just shows up. He has a way of letting us know we’re on a track that He’s encouraging us to keep going,” said Karen Moore, author of “Prayers to Strengthen Your Soul,” in an interview with Janet Harllee on “Faith In An Ever-Changing World.”

Plans change. They always will. Life changes. I can’t control everything. I can hardly control anything. That’s something I need to work on accepting.

But there’s one thing that truly never changes — God never changes. His love for us never changes. Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins will never change — it will never not be enough.

Hannah Muñoz
“Our steadiness in life’s changes”

From the Twitterverse


It is astounding what people will say to protect their fallen heroes. Respect or influence should never morph into blind idolatry.


Friends, authors, and especially pastors: BEWARE THE SPOTLIGHT. Shun the applause of man. Reject the accolades that you are the next {great person from history}. Follow the Matt. 6:3 principle and serve without need of recognition.


If you are following Jesus for the wrong reasons, then it’s probably not the Jesus of the Bible you are really following.


If you want to see a revival, then you need to do revival-like things. Emotions will catch up. Don’t wait for a big emotional encounter with God. That may happen, or it may not. To have a personal revival, you need to go back to the basics in your walk with Christ.


Accountability is something we all desperately need but seldom want. God help us find a few trusted friends who love us enough to tell us the truth.


“I have not to preach to you a salvation losable and dependent upon your good behavior; but lo, I preach a pardon never to be reversed, acceptance in the Beloved never to be canceled, adoption which makes you sons forever.”

—Charles Spurgeon


A robust Christian public theology and social ethic is rarely if ever being promoted or articulated by keyboard warriors. Christians are to be rooted and marked by unchanging truth and deep humility, not by the hot take dujour or alarmist grandiosity.


The great temptation of leadership is to think it is about you. It’s ALL about Jesus!


Never get over the fact that Jesus rescued you. He SAVED you. That truth changes everything.


Who but God can take our biggest failures and use them to pull us closer to Himself? He really is the Redeemer.


We know Sunday morning worship is a Saturday night decision. Let’s make evangelism an everyday decision too …