Prison . . .
I often think and pray about issues
that face America and attempt to come up with solutions that
would work in our church and would help us love people and
lead them to faith in Christ. We don't have the
widespread influence to offer political, cultural, or governmental solutions, but we can love and help people
one-at-a-time. We've found ways to help those who are
hungry, those who are homeless, those with medical needs and
no insurance, young moms with few resources, and many
What can we offer those who are
just coming out of prison and who want to turn their lives
around? The problem is much more challenging than
I first thought.
Obviously, we can't find a solution
until we understand the problem. Here are
some basic facts about our prison population in America:
Every year, 600,000 men and
women in our country leave prison and find it very difficult
to reintegrate into society. By that time, they may have burned some
bridges and broken some relationships. Jobs and housing
are hard to come by. They often have few skills and
fewer options. It's no secret that many of them will end up
back in prison.
Our prison population is growing.
America has only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of
the world’s prison population. Since 1970, our prison
population has increased by 700% to 2,300,000 people.
And unless something changes, it's
going to get worse. Statistics tell us that one out of
every three black boys born today can expect to go to prison
in their lifetime. (It's one out of every 17 whites.)
And the fastest growing prison
population is among women.
One church like ours can't do much
to change these frightening statistics, but we can help at
least a few people in our own area. Here's something
I'm thinking about:
Form a “company” that does the kind
of work that people with limited skills can do but that will
also teach a marketable skill. It could be a maid
service, a landscaping business, a handyman company, or a
construction company. (And, yes, I am well aware
that there would be obstacles. We would need to form
another corporation or work with an existing one. We
would need to generate start-up funds . . . and find enough
work to keep a crew busy . . . and convince people that the
workers could be trusted . . . and have a capable and
hardworking manager/foreman . . . and solve dozens of other
We would interview people right out
of prison or halfway houses who want to turn their lives
around. We would offer them a low-paying job (but with
the chance for advancement) for six
months that would give them life skills, a positive work
record, experience, and a start in a new way of life.
(And like I've already said, I understand there are issues.
What about housing and transportation? Could we
generate enough work to keep a crew busy?)
We would require participants to
meet some basic requirements: Weekly attendance in church,
participation in a weekly small group targeted at those who
have recently come out of prison, passing random drug
testing, working hard at their jobs, etc.
It’s more an idea than a proposal at
this point, but it’s something to pray about. I have
no set timetable and no real business plan. But Jesus
(and therefore the church) are in the
people-loving-and-helping business. That's who we are
and what we do. I'm just trying to apply that truth to
a very specific group of people in need.
Thanks for dreaming with me and for being such a great
church. I hope to see you Sunday!
(AKA Vacation Bible School)
Opening Night of Bible Adventure
Week is now less than three weeks away; are you ready
to Game On? We've got epic things planned for
'athletes' of all ages, from rookies to all-time greats. Now
it's your turn to step up to the plate! You can now register
for free online at
fsbca.org/vbs or in person by stopping by our ministry
table this Sunday. This event is free and for all people, so
please use our invite cards found in both foyers to spread
Invite your kids, grandkids, aunts,
uncles, parents, brothers, sisters, coworkers, teachers,
dogs--ok maybe not dogs, but you get the point. All are
Did I mention that it's totally free?
The event is June 11-15 from 6:00-8:30 pm. Get ready to Game
Interim Children's Ministries Director
Priscilla Shirer is coming to Phoenix this October!
You know who Priscilla Shirer is, right? She is the star
of that great movie, "War Room." And she is so much
more than that!
She is an incredible Women's Ministry speaker and Bible
Teacher who happens to also be the daughter of Dr. Tony
Evans. Through the expository teaching of the Word of God to
women, her desire is to see women not only know the
uncompromising truths of Scripture intellectually but
experience them practically by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Priscilla graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a
Master's Degree in Biblical Studies.
I have had the privilege of leading our ladies to work
through nearly all of her excellent Bible studies including
"The Armor of God," "Gideon," "Discerning the Voice of
God," "Jonah," "War Room," "Breathe," and others.
All of us who have gone through her studies have been
blessed by the depth of her teaching. She is not "fluff,"
that's for sure! Ain't nobody got time for fluff!
She has never come to Arizona before, so we are especially
excited and grateful that God has led her to come our way
this Fall. She will be at the GCU Arena for a one day
conference--Priscilla Shirer Live--on Saturday, October 13
from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The early-bird/group registration
price is $59. (Individual early-bird pricing is $69 with
the price going up to $79 in early July.) However, if we
can get 75 women to sign up in a group, we will get
ASSIGNED/RESERVED SEATING which is huge! We are taking
registrations NOW! You can sign up and pay online at
FSBCA Priscilla Shirer
We had a good talk with a representative from Point Man
Ministries during our recent Project Connect Outreach.
They would love to start a chapter in our area. The
leader would need to be a veteran who is actively involved
in a local church. Point Man Ministries runs support
groups aimed at meeting the spiritual, emotional, and
physical needs of veterans, specializing in helping veterand
with PTSD. Some groups meet in churches; some are held
in American Legion posts. Is there a veteran in our
church who is interested in helping other veterans?
Contact Pastor Jack
for more information.
Last Thursday, at Project Connect, we helped literally
hundreds of people who were homeless or near-homeless or who
were recently arrived refugees in our country. To
accomplish this, we partnered with the Valley of the Sun
United Way and dozens of other organizations.
We fed them 375 breakfasts and 550 lunches, offered them
backpacks full of hygiene items, snacks, clothes, water, and
dog food. They received services such as showers and
haircuts. They were able to meet onsite with
government representatives (SS, VA, DES, MVD, etc.) and a
multitude of non-profit and faith-based groups that helped
them connect with housing, jobs, and support groups.
Our staff and volunteers did an amazing job of coordinating,
cooking, cleaning, guiding, and being faithful witnesses of
the power of God's love!
We don’t just talk about
loving God, loving people,
and following Jesus.
We put it into practice. Specifically, we put our
money where our mouth is. Through our budget giving
and special gifts, a significant portion of our dollars goes
to various mission ministries projects. Here are our
2017 mission expenses:
beyond these amounts, we contribute heavily to missions in
other ways. We cover all building and utility expenses
for mission ministries such as
Mission of Mercy
(our medical ministry),
IHELP (our Homeless ministry)
and the New Life
Pregnancy Center. Our
members volunteer thousands of hours in these and many other
mission ministries. And many of our members give
directly—far beyond these amounts—to our partner ministries.
thank you for giving to and working in our mission
ministries. FSBCA is an incredibly generous and
hardworking church. We are doing God’s work in our own
community and around the world!
We recently completed "Name Change Survey 2." It was a
survey of the 4 most common names from our first round:
Here are the results of those who turned in a survey:
Avondale Baptist Church 45.2%
Grace Baptist Church 22.8%
First Southern Baptist Church of Avondale (Current Name)
Compassion Baptist Church 11%
This will be discussed at a Name Change Team and the Church
Council before we decide where to go next. Thanks for
prayerfully sharing your opinion!
The Student ministry is taking our
bi-annual service project trip to help You Matter
Ministries on Saturday, May 26 from 6:30-10:30 am. We
are traveling to 30th Ave and Van Buren to help feed the
homeless and participate in their Bible study and worship
You Matter Ministries serves
those who are hurting and homeless and preaches the good
news of Jesus Christ. All teens are welcome! We are
taking any canned goods that we can collect, so if your teen
is able to bring a couple of cans we thank you! If you
have any questions or need a permission form,
please contact Student
Ministries Director Holly Kilfoyle. Canned Food
donations can be brought to the church by May 24.
May 20 - Sunday (Make Up Day)
May 21 -
May 22 -
May 23 -
May 24 -
May 25 -
May 26 -
May 27 - Sunday (Make Up Day)
May 28 -
May 29 -
May 30 -
May 31 -
June 1 -
June 2 -