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Churches reach out in many wayscomment (0)

February 17, 2005

By Johnie Sentell

Baptist churches in Alabama use a variety of strategies to reach out to individuals around them.

First impressions are always important, so most churches are careful to have someone with a pleasant outlook answering the phone.

At Shades Crest Baptist Church, two people share the position of church receptionist. Serving on Tuesdays and Thursdays is Sara Bryan. She and her husband, Sigurd, joined Shades Crest in 1966, but I met them at Samford University back in the summer of 1959, when he taught me Old Testament. Sara has been Shades Crest’s organist for 39 years and a schoolteacher for 33 years, mostly at nearby Bluff Park Elementary. The Bryans’ daughter, Catherine, is writing her dissertation as she pursues a Ph.D. in Old Testament.

Liberty Park Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills is planning a prayer walk around its neighborhoods this weekend, defining prayer walking as “praying on-site with insight.” Participants have been told, “If you are not able to walk and pray, you are welcome to ride and pray.”

Hamilton Baptist Church in Baldwin Association is reaching out to men with its annual Wild Game Day on Saturday, Feb. 19, at Belle Fountain School beginning at noon. Wild game and seafood will be served, and there will be an auction to raise funds for the new education building. Pleasant Grove First Baptist will have a Wild Game Feast Feb. 24, beginning at 5:30 p.m. It will include an expo, dinner and worship. Guest speaker will be John Croyle of the Big Oak Ranch.

Churches are also reaching out to women. At Clearview Baptist Church, Pinson, the scrapbooking ministry will be starting up again soon, and they invite anyone interested to join them. Generally meeting monthly, they will convene Friday, Feb. 25, from 6:30 until 11 p.m.

Last Sunday the WMU at First Baptist, Clanton, sponsored a Ladies and Girls Luncheon with a missionary speaker. Sally Moore is their WMU director. Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Hueytown is one of many churches with a “Mom’s Day Out” program. They provide child care Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

It is good to hear of churches ministering to people in difficult circumstances. First Baptist, Sylacauga, is one of many churches that reach out through a divorce care support group.

Deacons at Forestdale Baptist Church will host a Widows and Widowers Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 19, at noon. Hillview Church in Birmingham collects and delivers books to people in jail.

As you have read this article, perhaps you have gained an insight of how your church can improve its outreach. All these ideas were gleaned from newsletters of churches that use the local edition service of The Alabama Baptist to deliver their information. More and more churches are using this method to save time and money while delivering a more effective newsletter. Your church can give it a try for any length of time with no obligation whatsoever.

Some churches use the paper to deliver a newsletter on a weekly basis. Others use the service on an every-other-week schedule. Smaller churches often use the service monthly.

However, churches are not locked into a schedule. It can be varied with only a week’s notice. This paper belongs to you, and we want to serve you and your church the best way we can.

For more information about the local edition service, call 1-800-803-5201.
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