In his book The Treasure Principle, author Randy Alcorn pointed out something so obvious that I wondered why I had not considered the truth before now. “You have heard about prayer warriors: What about ‘giving warriors’?” Thankfully, I have known and benefitted from having prayer warriors in my life. You know them too. They have enriched your life as well. These are the people who pray for you when they say they will and even when those words are not said. They are people who have made a huge difference in your life and in mine.
Back to the question offered by Randy Alcorn: “What about giving warriors?” They are difference makers too. They are the people who have set the example in giving sacrificially to the cause of Christ. I have known some giving warriors as well. They came on the scene when the need was the greatest and the concern was the highest. They were not looking for praise or recognition. The satisfaction of being blessed by our Lord and the opportunity to give was the only motivation.
This Christmas season, I am praying for some more giving warriors to come of age in our churches across Alabama and the Southern Baptist Convention. The Kingdom of God will be impacted positively when people decide that God owns everything and that we are stewards of all He has entrusted to us.
A family gathering of Alabama Baptists is now just a few weeks away. I hope your church will elect messengers to attend the annual meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, November 12-13 at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville.
Our theme this year is Life Changers, a testimony to the power of God to change lives and to use us in outreach to people with the Gospel and for ministry.
The meeting is open to all Alabama Baptists who wish to attend. Please consider this a special invitation to come to Whitesburg for the Tuesday evening celebration. Two much-beloved Southern Baptists will lead us in worship: Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and Charles Billingsley, a former Alabamian who is now worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va.
During the meeting, we will also gladly hear sermons by John Killian, our Convention president, and Kevin Wilburn, pastor of First Baptist Church of Scottsboro.
Churches face many daunting tasks in the pilgrimage of doing ministry. Arguably, one of the most critical times in the life of a church is when a pastor leaves and the search begins for a new pastoral leader. Among Baptists and similar faith groups, the process involves a pastor search committee. Each church determines how this committee or team is selected. Most often, that selection is driven by bylaws or some other codified means of choosing representatives to do the search for the church family.
During my pastoral ministry, I have had occasions to talk to pastor search committees. I was the one being researched and interviewed in the process of calling a new pastor. In most instances, the experience was pleasant and informative, even when I did not make the transition to the church that a committee was representing. I did learn a few things along the way that might be helpful to those engaged in this calling process.
A couple of disclaimers need to be noted before I offer comments about the process of calling a pastor. I must admit I have never been on a search committee for a pastor or a CEO of an entity. I have had my share of experiences in ministry, but this one I have not yet encountered. Therefore, my views on the subject may come across one-sided or a bit biased. If that is the case I apologize in advance.
“I cannot believe he is gone.” Those words still ring in my ears. They came from parents of a young pre-teen who took his own life. As you would imagine, these parents were beyond being consoled. Their pain was so real and their sorrow was so deep that there was nothing that I or anyone could say that seemed to bring relief. I felt helpless. I did my best to offer comfort before the funeral, during the service and afterward, but I still felt powerless to help them.
Losing a child is unbelievably difficult. Dealing with one who took his or her own life is even more challenging. Every so often, I read an article or a book which resonates with me concerning this most horrific of grief situations. Frank Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, has authored such a book: Melissa: A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide.
Frank chronicles the painful experiential road of grief that he and his family traveled when his daughter Melissa took her own life a few years ago. I would classify this book as a must read for those who want to help people facing the sorrow of such a loss or who know people with suicidal tendencies. Allow me to summarize why I think the book is a resourceful tool of comfort and encouragement for hurting people.
Praying Across Alabama was an exciting adventure for me personally. I know that may sound like an overstatement. After all, the effort was simple in strategy: Go to all counties in the state and, in some instances, more than one venue, and hold a prayer gathering. What can be so exciting or adventurous about that?
From my vantage point, and I believe I speak for other state missionaries, having a prayer gathering among Alabama Baptists was unique in that we have never done a prayer event this way before this endeavor was launched. It was a first for us. We did not know what to expect. How many people would participate? Would local authorities allow us to meet on or near the courthouse areas in each county?
All of these questions and others were answered in the resounding affirmative. The local officials not only allowed us to meet at the courthouses, but many of them chose to be involved themselves. This was a bit of a surprise to me. The crowds were good in number, despite some terribly windy and cold weather in various places. The spirit of the people was positive and expectant.