Bedico Baptist Church, where Leo Miller has been pastor for about 12 years, is waiting on a man of God.
PONCHATOULA—Bedico Baptist Church, where Leo Miller has been pastor for about 12 years, is waiting on a man of God.
With about $21,000 in the bank ready to begin the West St. Tammany Church, Bedico hopes to more than double that amount for a church plant in the middle of an upscale area of St. Tammany Parish.
“Bedico Baptist is praying for God to send the right church planter to lead in this strategic outreach,” Miller said. “We are also praying for God to begin the process of calling out some of our leaders to commit to serving as the core group to this plant.”
Right on the line between St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes, Bedico also sits very close to Lake Pontchartrain, yet came out of Hurricane Katrina virtually unscathed, said Lonnie Wascom, director of missions for both the Chappapeela Association, where Bedico is located, and the St. Tammany Association, where the church plant is set to be located.
After the storm, the church made itself available immediately for groups to come in for relief and recovery, while at the same time providing shelter for displaced people, Wascom said.
“They really threw themselves wide open to minister to sister churches in the area,” he added.
As the region around the church grew in population in the wake of the storm, Bedico, while continuing to host recovery groups and minister to those around them, stepped forward to sponsor this new church plant, Wascom continued.
“This church put their money where their mouth is,” he said. “They do it because they love Christ.”
During Miller’s tenure, Bedico Baptist, a small country church, has grown exponentially, Wascom added. The congregation, with its heart for missions – a direct reflection of its pastor, Wascom said –has been setting aside $1,000 monthly for 21 months for the church plant.
The target area for the plant has a population of more than 6,500 people who are predominantly Roman Catholic and Anglican, Miller said, referring to a profile done by Lane Corley, a church plant profiler on contract with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. The median age in the area is 42, while the median income is about $48,000.
Housing developments are cropping up everywhere, including Bedico Creek, a development for more than 900 upper scale homes with prices starting at $350,000 and ranging up to $1 million.
Population within the Madisonville city limits is made up of “river rats and weekend boaters” with executives and retirees shaping the community along the Tchefuncte River, Corley wrote in his report. In addition, young families are filling up new subdivisions in the area. Both the population and the standard of living are growing.
New residents are attracted by a low crime rate, new schools, and huge youth sports programs in Madisonville and at the new Coquille Sports Complex north of I-12.
Despite the affluence, however, lostness seems prevalent, Miller said.
“It is difficult to drive through this ever-growing community and not sense the lostness,” he continued. “God has blessed Bedico Baptist with the opportunity and burden of reaching out to this segment of population in every way possible.”
With only two Southern Baptist churches in the area, with attendance at both averaging about 175, leaders see a great need for a work in the area, Miller said. Two other denominations also have recently begun church plants.
“We’re trusting the Lord to guide us in His time to start this work,” Miller added.
Because the population is upscale, this church plant will require a little more work and more resources, continued Miller who said he hopes to have more than $50,000 set aside by the time a church planter comes on board.
“We’re standing on ‘G,’ waiting on ‘O,’ waiting for God to send the right man in to lead us,” Miller said. “We look forward to beginning the process of birthing and nurturing another kingdom-minded fellowship in our area.”