By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA – After nearly a year of countless meetings and planning on a seven-year ministry strategy for Louisiana Baptists, the affirmation of a final report from the President’s 2020 Commission could be just days away.
Affirmed during the Louisiana Baptist Executive Board meeting on Sept. 24, the report is aimed at challenging Louisiana Baptists to maximize their effectiveness in Gospel ministry through the year 2020. Messengers to the 2013 Louisiana Baptist Annual Meeting will have the chance to affirm the report during the Monday evening session of the two-day meeting, scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at the Alexandria Riverfront Center.
Messengers and others attending the convention will also have the opportunity to learn in-depth about the 2020 Commission plan that will focus on two audiences, four avenues to engage those audiences and 10 actions steps, also referred to as KAIROS (Key Actions in Reaching Our State).
As a result of months of research conducted by Louisiana Baptist leaders, the two audiences identified were the next generation and every people group. According to research, only 12 percent of students are involved in anyone’s church and 40 percent of Louisiana’s population is non-Anglo.
To engage those audiences, four primary avenues will be utilized: church planting, church revitalization, communication that compels and connects and collaboration among various groups.
Finally, the 10 action steps, referred to in the report as KAIROS (Key Actions In Reaching Our State), will utilize the four avenues that will in turn engage the two audiences.
Throughout the Annual Meeting messengers will have a chance to learn more about the KAIROS in a designated section of the exhibit area. Additionally, the KAIROS booths will re-open immediately following the Monday evening session from approximately 8:30 to 9:15 pm. Messengers and guests will enjoy some white chocolate bread pudding and coffee while gathering more information regarding the KAIROS.
“I am deeply grateful for the large number of people who worked on the 2020 Commission,” said Waylon Bailey, who is completing his second term as Louisiana Baptist Convention president. “None of us needed anything else to do, but they gave their very best. I believe God will bless and use what we have given.”
Disturbed by alarming and growing trends within Louisiana Baptist churches, Bailey believes something must be done quickly. Such trends included fewer churches in a state with a growing population from 2000 to 2010 and a significant decline in baptisms among youth and children and Sunday school attendance since 1980. Additionally, research revealed that 900 Louisiana Baptist congregations did not baptize a single child last year.
During the 2012 annual meeting at First Baptist West Monroe, Bailey formed a commission of 400 Louisiana Baptist leaders broken into 20 sub committees. They were tasked to analyze specific areas of ministry supported by Louisiana Baptists. Since then, the committees met throughout the year, including a two-day summit in April, which was the only time the entire 2020 Commission met in one location.
A steering committee comprised of the chairs of the 20 groups and LBC strategists reviewed the reports’ findings and provided feedback regarding the recommendations.
Bailey and LBC Executive Director David Hankins presented those findings during the most recent LBC Executive Board meeting held at Tall Timbers Conference Center in Woodworth.
“I believe God will bless our faithfulness and our desire to serve Him,” Bailey said. “If we take these recommendations and institute them in our churches, the year 2020 will be a good year.
The President’s 2020 Commission is one of several items scheduled during this year’s annual meeting, which will be held Nov. 11-12 at the Alexandria Riverfront Center.
Highlights on Monday include special music by Scot Cameron of Sugar Land, Texas, a Bible study by Argile Smith, Vice President for the Integration of Faith and Learning at Louisiana College, and a report on the evangelistic efforts which occurred during CrossOver 2013 just prior to the Annual Meeting.
The bulk of the business of the Convention will take place on Tuesday.
Among the highlights for the final day of the meeting include reports from the convention’s entities, messages by Bill Dye of North Monroe Baptist Church and Bailey, approval of motions and the election of a new president and officers. At press time, Steve Horn, pastor of First Baptist Lafayette, was the only presidential candidate whose name will be placed.
Preceding the Annual Meeting is the Pastors’ Conference which is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 at First Baptist Church in Pineville. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘More Than Conquerors’ from Romans 8:35-37.
A full preview story can be found on page 9.
The week prior to the Annual Meeting, various schools in Rapides and Grant parishes other sites will serve as locations for the Cross Over evangelistic effort.
Churches from the Big Creek, Central Louisiana and North Rapides Baptist Associations, along with staff from the LBC evangelism team, will coordinate this week-long outreach, which will culminate on Thursday.
A team from Real Encounter is scheduled to use its motorcycle and BMX skills at several schools in Grant and Rapides parishes. In addition to the Real Encounter team, Wild Horse Ministries will use its horseback riding and skills ministry to share the gospel at the former Dry Prong Junior High School at 6 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Read more about what’s planned for CrossOver on page 20.
Gatherings for Nov. 11 include:
• The Louisiana Baptist Christian Educators Association lunch, noon, Baptist Building, Alexandria
• Louisiana College reception, after the evening session, Riverfront Center, Room B
Gatherings for Nov. 12 include:
• Louisiana Haiti mission trip breakfast, 7 a.m., Riverfront Center, Room A
• Bi-Vocational/smaller church pastor breakfast, 6:30 a.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, Alexandria
• Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary alumni lunch, noon, Riverfront Center, Room A
• New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary alumni lunch, noon, Riverfront Center, Room B
• Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary alumni lunch, noon, First Baptist Church, Pineville
• Louisiana Baptist Retirees lunch, noon, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Alexandria
• Missions and Ministry lunch, noon, Baptist Building, Alexandria