March 2012

Baptisms are trending up in state

By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor [img_assist|nid=7978|title=River Baptism|desc=Eight-year-old Simon Rucker was one of 57 children, teens and adults who participated in First Baptist Covington’s third annual mass baptism at Bogue Falaya Park. Photo by Mark H. Hunter|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=447]STATEWIDE – “This is the fourth year in a row of increased baptisms,” reports Wayne Jenkins, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism and church growth team. “We’re moving in the right direction.”


Pastor, congregation make ‘covenant’ with community

By Quinn Lavespere, Message Staff Writer SHREVEPORT – As he looked at the postmodern community in Metro Shreveport-Bossier, Luke Allen saw a place fertile with spiritual opportunities. As pastor of Covenant Church of Shreveport/Bossier City, Allen has inspired his congregation to reach out to those in the surrounding community and teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A call to church planting was the starting point for Covenant Church’s outreach effort in Metro Shreveport-Bossier.


Baptisms decline: It’s time THE WALL came tumbling down

By Bill Day, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Last year the number of baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was 331,008. Except for a minor increase in 2009, our baptisms have been declining since 1999. In just ten years our baptisms have declined by more than 87,000, a 21 percent decrease. The number of baptisms in the SBC are now at the lowest since 1948, when we had 310,226. We wait each year to see a turnaround. After all, we’ve had declines before now. We console ourselves by remembering that periods of decline have eventually been followed by periods of increase.


Why homosexuality IS different -- the reality

By Mike Goeke, Associate Pastor Stonegate Community Church For years, those of us doing ministry in the area of unwanted same-sex attraction and outreach to the gay community have worked diligently to help the church see that homosexual behavior is no different than any sin. For those of us who struggled with same-sex attraction, the church’s seeming placement of homosexuality at the top of some created “sin hierarchy” was frustrating and hurtful to us.


Liberal coercion becoming a reality in United States

By Kelly Boggs, Editor Baptist Message Planned Parenthood, Vanderbilt University and the Obama administration – what do these three have in common? Each recently has been involved in situations that address whether or not private and/or religious organizations are going to be afforded freedom and respect when it comes to matters of faith and conscience, especially by those who disagree with their beliefs.


Justin Martyr: Defending the Faith in life and death

By Bill Warren, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Justin Martyr, the best-known Christian apologist of the second century, wrote the earliest extant defenses of Christianity we have from the period after the New Testament. Motivated by seeing Christians willing to die rather than recant their faith in Christ, he moved from being a follower of Greek philosophers to being a follower of Christ.


Disaster Relief Volunteers Receive Awards

By Staff, Baptist Message LORANGER – Awards were presented recently at the annual Southern Louisiana Disaster Relief Roundtable to four volunteers for their “outstanding contributions to the LBC Disaster Relief program.” Shira Easley of New Zion Baptist Church Two Rivers Baptist Association received the Ollie McGlone Memorial Disaster Relief Chaplain Award. Butch and Sandy Bates of Sandy Creek Baptist Church in William Wallace Baptist Association together received the Volunteer of the Year award.