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Your Voice: Opportunities exceed number of volunteers

By James D. Fisk
Birmingham, Ala.

Recently I spent many hours in a room with 26 active 2-year-olds. It was a time of great joy and great fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even as I write this, I can see those beautiful faces looking up at me. We were at camp.

Volunteers at the annual Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes Camp of Champions receive back far more than they give. Old friends reacquaint and new friends are made from all over the state, everyone uniting to create a time of unconditional love for children.

The families’ connections are biological, foster and/or adoptive, but you can’t tell which is which. Like vegetable soup, they are all mixed up together.

Some of these children come from hard places. Your heart will break when a child asks if he can eat all he wants, then hoards an apple for later.

Joys and heartaches

You will shed tears when children who have never had much fun in their lives run completely amok, squealing with delight at balloon popping and funnel cakes and bounce houses and water slides.

You will be changed when a little girl shares that she is burdened by not living with her biological parents, thinking she is the only one, and then is stunned to find the room is full of children carrying the same burden.

When you volunteer, you might deliver snacks and drinks, stuff bags with supplies, pray with an 8-year-old, sanitize toys, cry with a foster child, drive a golf cart delivering families to their next event, encourage a worn-out foster parent, rescue a lost little one separated from his mama or haul suitcases for folks with more stuff than hands.

And the hugs. Oh, the hugs! This is the 21st century equivalent of washing feet; you become the hands and heart of Jesus for some of the least of these.

Don’t wait for next year’s camp. ABCH is statewide, and year-round opportunities exceed the number of volunteers. The demand is great, the benefit is immediate, and the results are eternal.

How to help

Make the call and get plugged in locally. Get your pastor signed up and get your church involved.

Send your youth group to camp to volunteer. Babysit for an evening so foster parents can have a night out.

Help remodel and furnish a group home. Help equip a starting-over mom with the household stuff she needs to care for her children. Fund college tuition for a foster child.

The need is enormous. Your money, time, presence, talents and prayers are valuable.

Quotes from

All too often, the current mood of our spirit is not to feast upon the riches and depths of God. We are so quick to reach for spiritual junk food that doesn’t satisfy instead of feasting on the six-course meal at God’s table. … Joy in the pleasures of this life will not be as complete unless we enjoy them in God. … He is the source of all good things.

James Hammack
“Joy in the Lord (Part 2)”

If we’re going to put so much emphasis on keeping women out of pastoral roles, let’s also put emphasis on making our churches safe places for them to serve in other ways.

Jessica Ingram
“Opinion: SBC 2023: ‘Not well taken’”

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean allowing the person who broke your heart to come back into your life as if nothing ever happened. … Forgiveness is, however, deciding that you will not allow that hurt to control your life. It’s also about letting someone, or something, leave your life to allow healing to begin.

Amy Hacker
“Forgiveness is freedom”

Thoughts on leadership

To be a leader means that we provide direction for those we are called to lead. We don’t lead just anywhere, or nowhere for that matter. We are called to advance the mission of the church or ministry organization.

Followers of Jesus have one mission — the Great Commission — and every Christian leader must give himself or herself to the advancement of that mission.

There are certainly lots of ways to advance the Great Commission, but each of us has a little piece of leadership responsibility in God’s grand economy and we are responsible for advancing the Great Commission in that specific area. Leaders must advance the mission. …

It is not enough that we solve problems and advance the mission. We must also love people and care well for them. We must strive to create and cultivate a
culture of care, fairness and justice in the place where we lead.

Leaders care for people by providing both challenge and support.

Todd Gray
Executive director
Kentucky Baptist Convention

“Leadership in our churches must be biblical and missional. We want to help our churches discover their God-given purpose,” said Ken Allen, director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions office of LeaderCare, noting leadership development is an ongoing process.

“We realized, ‘OK, God you are way bigger than we realize, and you’re seeking to reach this whole society,’” said International Mission Board worker Wes Blakely, addressing the impact he sees sports ministry having on lives in Central Asia.

“I’ve learned to say, ‘OK, God, why are You waking me up? What are You trying to say?’ The middle of the night is the only time most of us are quiet and still,” says Alabama author Stacy Averette, regarding sleepless nights.

“I believed then and believe now that the reason I was allowed to go through this is that I would be able to encourage somebody else who might be going through the same thing,” said Keith Vaughan, pastor of Valley Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, on the challenges of struggling with burnout in ministry.

“The next generation is growing up with a foundationally secular worldview that tells them the meaning of life is found in discovering themselves,” said Chuck Peters, director of kids for Lifeway Christian Resources. “The pressure to do this has resulted in unprecedented levels of anxiety, loneliness and a desperate need to belong.”

“Have you prayed about the obstacles, intentionally and persistently? God sometimes moves mountains right out of the way simply by devoted, intentional prayer,” said Rick Harrington, author and pastor in Massachusetts.

“We have resources today that help us learn to do anything, so we mustn’t believe we can’t grow in people and leadership skills,” said Mark Clifton, senior director of replanting for North American Mission Board. “Every pastor can learn to be a better pastor.”

4 lessons from Habbakuk

One of the most beneficial disciplines God has taught me over the years is to take time to journal regularly.

Journaling has helped me process many of my thoughts as I focus on God’s Word daily.

Sometimes I will look back and read prior entries to get a clear picture of how God is working through the circumstances of life to mold me into the image of His dear Son.

I want to share an excerpt of an entry that I wrote on May 27, 2020. It spoke fresh into my heart in a special way. I pray He speaks to you as well.

Habbakuk 1:5

“Look among the nations and watch — Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it were told to you.”

Habakkuk was chosen to speak to the people on behalf of God. He was struggling to understand how and why God was working. He learned that it is not man’s responsibility to explain God, but to simply trust Him. Whenever we do not understand the activity of God it is an opportunity to be drawn closer to Him.

How should Habakkuk respond? How does God’s work teach us to respond?

  1. Habakkuk had to look. He had to open the eyes of his heart to get a bigger picture of what God was doing.
  2. He had to watch for God to do things beyond his belief in order to accomplish God’s purpose.
  3. Habakkuk had to listen.Listening involves the spiritual discipline of waiting. Waiting involves being still and not being preoccupied with other things.
  4. Habakkuk had to learn.Learning is a process that never ends.

Pastor Brent Thompson
Heflin Baptist Church
June 1, 2023, newsletter


I have been repeating this mantra: ‘Hard days do not equal bad days. God is pruning me and bearing fruit in me even here, even now.’



I have had multiple pastors reach out to me … who went to the hospital because of panic attacks. And each of them had never experienced them before until now.

The cost is real. The strain of ministry is uniquely hard. Pray for pastors.



When culture is screaming about topics like sexuality and gender, but the church is silent … then, a whole generation only hears one worldview. Silence can’t be an option for the church.

We must love genuinely, but also teach biblically. There’s a generation desperate for this!



Don’t let your circumstances become a weapon that undermines your faith and hope.



Being able to pray to a Holy God is a super blessing. Being able to pray for yourself, your family, your church, your community, your city, your county, your state, your nation and the world is also a super blessing. We should do that more.

Prayer helps our hearts and minds which lead our actions and responses.

Pastor Dewayne Rembert


Abide and He will provide above and beyond what we can imagine. He will meet our needs according to His glorious riches, including godly vision and wisdom. — “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5