By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, some Louisiana Baptist churches in that area lost important historical and financial printed documents.
However, all was not lost as those churches were able to contact Louisiana Baptists business office to retrieve identical information that was stored in the archives through the Annual Church Profile, or ACP.
The affected churches were then able to submit the information to various entities as part of the claims process.
That’s just one example of the value of the ACP which is Louisiana Baptists/Southern Baptists process for gathering information related to local churches missions and ministries. State conventions work in conjunction with local associations to request and collect the information which is then forwarded to the SBC. The final report provides a snapshot of the average Southern Baptist church as well as the larger work of Louisiana Baptists and Southern Baptists.
“Your ACP is your congregation’s story, its testimony,” said Shana Johnson, information services support supervisor for Louisiana Baptists. “This fall every congregation gets to tell how God is using them to accomplish his work.”
Johnson requests that churches who have not submitted their information do so preferably by the end of September.
“When completing the leadership portion of the profile we encourage congregations to include information such as an e-mail address and cell phone number of the pastor and other staff members,” Johnson continued. “The survey year for the ACP is defined as Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.”
Dale Lingenfelter, Louisiana Baptists business manager, echoed the importance of Louisiana’s roughly 1,600 Southern Baptist churches submitting their information.
“As cooperating Louisiana Baptists, we basically have one way of quantifying and comparing trends regarding our effectiveness in reaching our state. The ACP is that tool,” said Lingenfelter. “Also, having current congregation leadership information is paramount in communicating with local churches regarding various evangelistic, missions and training opportunities.”
Johnson said that completing an ACP is a way of measurement for how a church is carrying out ministry efforts, evangelism and other ministry opportunities.
“When you record something, it gives you a point of reference,” Johnson said. “The ACP can be a very valuable tool for tracking effectiveness”
Johnson noted that in the book of Acts, God led Luke to record how the church started, how many people were baptized, the fact they shared their possessions, how their leaders were selected and other details.
“If God felt it was important enough to write down, it must be important,” she said. “I don’t know about you but I get excited when I read about 3,000 being baptized. Wouldn’t that be great to report?”
If a church has not received an ACP reporting form, please contact the local association or Johnson at (800) 622-6549 ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.