For the published week of February 12, 2004
Louisiana Baptists got 2004 off to a very strong start as far as convention
receipts are concerned. January receipts for all but one area of giving were
up significantly from the previous year.
Cooperative Program receipts totaled $2,105,388, an increase of
$146,304 (7.5 percent) from January 2003. The total launches the 2004 budget
well, exceeding monthly needs by $272,055 (14.8 percent). The receipts also
send a good signal to the convention, which begins 2004 with a reduced budget
as a result of a dip in giving the previous two years.
Receipts for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International
Missions totaled $1.7 million last month, an increase of $330,383 (23.7 percent)
from the previous January. The Lottie Moon offering is the only avenue of giving
not on a calendar year – its runs from June 1 to May 31. Thus, eight months
into the offering year, state Lottie Moon receipts stand at $2.8 million, an
increase of $443,870 (18.8 percent) from the same time last year.
Receipts for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American
Missions totaled $103,931 last month, an increase of almost $36,000 (52.9 percent)
from the previous January.
Receipts for the Georgia Barnette Offering for State Missions totaled
$118,119 last month, a jump of $29,103 (32.7 percent) from the previous January.
Receipts for the World Hunger Offering totaled $15,696, a decrease
of almost $13,000 (45.1 percent) from the previous January. The drop is the
only giving decline for Louisiana Baptists last month.
The 2004 Fellowship of Louisiana Baptist Secretaries Retreat has been
set for March 11-12 at Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center in Woodworth.
The theme of the two-day event is “Dare to be a Danielle.” The scheduled
keynote speaker is Joe McKeever, pastor at First Baptist Church of Kenner. Small-group
sessions are set on office organization, Web pages, spiritual encouragement,
working with congregations and staff members and makeup tips. The schedule also
features times for panel discussion, fellowship and entertainment. Cost for
the conference is $35 for commuters, with three meals included; $70 per person
with three to four per room and four meals included; $75 per person with two
per room and four meals included; and $95 per person for a single room and four
meals. Renewal fees for fellowship membership is $10 -$15. The conference is
set to begin March 11 at 9 a.m. and conclude Friday at noon. To register, call
Ruth Hernandez at (800) 622-6549 or (318) 448-3402.
Gifts through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program totaled $20.1 million,
an increase of more than $1.2 million (6.5 percent) from the previous January.
Four months into the Southern Baptist Conventions fiscal year, overall
gifts total $65.3 million, an increase of $4.1 million (6.8 percent) from the
same time last year. The total also stands almost $4.6 million (7.6 percent)
ahead of budget at this time. Meanwhile, designated giving totaled almost $27
million last month, an increase of almost $3.9 million (16.9 percent) ahead
of the previous January. For the year, designated gifts total $39.3 million,
an increase of $6.1 million (18.4 percent) from the same time last year.
Super Bowl show
The Federal Communications Commission has opened an investigation into the
broadcast of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show and has promised the probe
will be thorough and swift. The investigation follows an MTV-produced halftime
performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. After dancing provocatively,
Timberlake pulled off a piece of her outfit and exposed Jacksons right
breast. Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham attended the Super
Bowl. “(The incident) was a public exhibition of the disregard for virtue,
innocence, purity and true love in our present society,” he said. “Yet,
while we express our displeasure, … we also express love and compassion for
a generation of young people who are saturated by this sex-crazed culture.”
Graham also called on churches to be more aggressive in the fight against darkness
in todays society. “More than ever, it is vitally important that
our churches strive to reach this generation with the hope of Jesus Christ,
…” he said. “We are to be a light shining in darkness. And seeing
all that the world has to offer, we know we have something so much better.”
Walk Like a Wildcat
Louisiana College has scheduled its annual spring Walk Like a Wildcat even
for Feb. 19-20. The two-day event is designed to introduce high school students
to the Louisiana Baptist school in Pineville. Prospective students have the
opportunity to spend the night at the school and to attend classes and extracurricular
events with current Louisiana College students. The event is set to begin Feb.
19 at 5 p.m. and conclude the following day at 12:30 p.m. “We want the
students to have an opportunity to learn what campus life is all about at LC,”
Associate Director of Admissions Scarlett Pourciau said. “They will attend
classes on Friday morning and will have a chance to speak with professors in
the major field of their choice.” For information or to register for the
event, call (318) 487-7259 or (800) 487-1906 or visit www.lacollege.edu/campusvisit.
Super Bowl numbers
The New England Patriots took home the Super Bowl trophy, but the real winners
were those who gave their lives to Christ thanks to the efforts of hundreds
of volunteers involved in the Super Bowl Evangelism Project. In one initiative
alone, 253 professions of faith were recorded at “watch parties” throughout
the Houston area. Former NFL football players gave testimonies of their experiences
as athletes and Christians at the parties. The Inner City Evangelism (ICE) team
also canvassed the streets of Houston in the days prior to the game. Tourists
and locals alike swarmed into the downtown area for nightly block parties organized
by private enterprises and others. Looking for a good time, many revelers found
something much better – a relationship with Jesus Christ. Each person who
made a spiritual commitment filled out a card testifying to that fact. The information
now will be sorted out to area churches. Also, LifeWay Christian Resources of
the Southern Baptist Convention is sending discipleship literature to each person.
In addition to sharing the gospel, the Super Bowl Evangelism Project also sought
to share the love of Jesus in a tangible way. Those efforts included food distribution
to more than 500 families.
Online registration for the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis
has opened. Churches may register messengers online at www.sbc.net to avoid
waiting at the counter at the convention. More than 40 percent of messengers
to the 2003 annual meeting in Phoenix registered online- and more are expected
this year. By registering online, the convention Web site gives a church a “messenger
reference number” form to be printed out and presented by each messenger
at the convention registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of
ballots. A church-authorized representative must complete all online registration.
Online registration ends at midnight June 12. Names can be added, edited and
deleted up to that time. Each messenger must present the printed form that shows
the messengers reference number – given on the Web site – at
the registration booth in order to receive a nametag and set of ballots.
A Texas man recently purchased 6,000 tickets for Mel Gibsons “The
Passion of The Christ” and gave them away to the community. Arch Bonnema
is a member at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and attended a preview
of “The Passion.” The film had such an impact on him that he said
he wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Bonnema first inquired
about renting out the Cinemark complex in Plano for the day “The Passion”
is released – Feb. 25. The cost was $42,000, but Bonnema – who owns
an insurance agency with his son – agreed to pay. The Cinemark theater
has 20 screens – and Bonnema and his family have rented them all for the
showing of “The Passion.” The film will show 22 times between 6:30
a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Show times are staggered in 30-minute intervals so that all
6,000 people will not be entering the complex at the same time. Bonnema gave
half of the tickets to Prestonwood, and they are being distributed through the
Bible fellowship classes. He gave 1,000 to Dallas Theological Seminary and 1,000
to ministries that he and his wife support. For the remaining 1,000, Bonnema
sent an e-mail to a few friends to let them know that if anyone wanted a ticket
he had some available. In three days he had 2,300 requests.