KAREN L. Willoughby, Managing Editor
SHREVEPORT – Eight men from Louisiana preached during the 2011 annual Evangelism Conference, which took place Jan. 24-25 at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, where Chuck Pourciau is pastor.
Despite being the pastor of one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the state, and one of the largest givers to Southern Baptist mission causes in the state, Pourciau sat in a side pew during the evangelism conference and during times of greeting, shook hands with as many people nearby as possible.
“Hi; I’m Chuck,” he’d say with a wide, friendly, folksy grin.
The warm fellowship that’s always part of the evangelism conference deepened into “something more,” many participants said, especially after the Monday evening service, when Charles Billingsley and the Broadmoor choir and orchestra led in an extended time of worship, which was followed by the heartfelt preaching of Rod Masteller, pastor of Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, and president for a second one-year term of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.[img_assist|nid=7033|title=Spirit-filled moment|desc=In the Monday evening service, LBC President Rod Masteller’s call for “Louisiana Baptists to all be on our faces before Him,” brought people streaming to the altar until there was no more room. Others throughout the worship center knelt or bowed their heads at their pews.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=66]
Masteller reiterated a theme common to his presidency – he’s desperate for a movement of God – and with his impassioned preaching he led at least some of his listeners to a point of desperation.
Following are snippets from each of the speakers. Want more? Purchase individual messages or the entire set on CD or DVD, from MasterSound Ministries, which recorded each main speaker and several of the breakout sessions, online at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 505.681.7600.
The LBC Communications team also plans to post what was its streaming video of the evangelism conference.
“We will be reposting the messages in the next few weeks and you will be able to find them atwww.LBC.org/EvangelismConference,” said John Ammons, LBC digital media strategist. “They will be listed on the right-hand side. There are also links on the page to other Evangelism Conference messages, back to 2008.”
Avant started things off by asking a question: “Do we really believe in the God we say we believe in?” He preached from Acts 10:1-4. “God never intended for our culture to be changed primarily through the political process. … God is always looking for a man or a woman. He’s not looking for a church. … Our cities are meant to be changed by God in our midst.”
God is looking for warriors who will fight on their knees, Avant preached.
[img_assist|nid=7034|title=Praise God|desc=Charles Billingsley, worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church, joined with the choir and orchestra from Broadmoor Baptist Church of Shreveport for the Monday evening service.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67] “We’re coming apart, the whole nation is. We’ve lost our passionate love for Him. … Stop praying until you’re ready to follow me. That’s what God says.”
Avant also preached about the need for leaders who pioneer movements – “Your church might be so weak it does not qualify as a church anymore” – and followers who hear God and act.
Mike Walker, pastor of East Bayou Baptist Church in Lafayette, preached from Nehemiah about leadership.
Nehemiah was a burdened man, a broken man, a burning man, Walker preached.
“What are you burdened about? What is it that bothers you about the culture around you? … When is the last time you wept for souls? What breaks your heart? What tears you up? …”
Nehemiah had a burning passion for God, Walker preached.
“What are you burning for? … You need intentionality. When you are intentional, it will change who you are and what you do. … Redemption is what we’re about. We’re a redemption center, not a … cruise ship, not a counseling center, not a ….”
Walker’s second point was directed to pastors. “Every church has a culture. With longevity you can build an evangelistic culture. … It takes time and effort to change the culture of your church. To do that, you’ve got to be committed for the long term. … It takes perseverance to do a great work for God.”
The Lafayette pastor’s third point was directed to church members. Too many people in church have one of three attitudes, Walker preached: serve us, feed us, heed us. To them he preached service, grow up and feed yourself, and allow yourself to be led by your pastor.
Walker closed by asking, “If you weren’t the pastor of your church, would you attend that church?”
Doris “Ginny” Hunt of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in DeRidder sat alone on the second row from the front, on one side, during every session of the Evangelism Conference.
“I’m doing this for him this year,” she said about her husband, who died last summer. Don Hunt was director of missions for Beauregard Baptist Association. “This is my anniversary gift to him. … I wouldn’t have missed it.”
She was particularly moved by the message preached by Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Covington, Mrs. Hunt said. Several others echoed her words.
Bailey preached from 1 Samuel 17 on “our personal walk with God.”
Something will happen every day of our lives, Bailey preached. Everyone faces giants. The biggest giant we have to face is the one on the inside. … The same God who was with you in the past will be with you in the future.
Bailey reminded his listeners to put on the whole armor of God and to walk in God’s footprints.
“Jesus was immersed in the Word of God,” Bailey preached. “He knows it and applies it in his life. …
“What does knowing Jesus do for you right now? … When we know what He’s doing for us, we’re ready to tell others about Him.”
In the Monday evening service, the Broadmoor choir and orchestra, and worship led by Charles Billingsley of Virginia, “primed the pump,” as one pastor was later heard saying, for the heart-felt preaching of Rod Masteller, pastor of Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
“Tonight He wants us to surrender anew and afresh to Him,” Masteller said, preaching from 1 Peter 5:5, Psalm 1:1-3 and other scriptures as he talked about winning in ministry and winning in life.
“Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn,” Masteller preached. “Delight in His word. … Whatever your passion is, you will receive it. … Our appetite must be for putting God’s word deep in our hearts. … If you put your life in God’s hands, He will reshape you into something usable for Him.”
Masteller preached against quitting.
“Pastor, no matter what … do not quit. It’s the Word of God that causes you to know you’re planted. Never ever give up. …
“Know God has planted you by abiding in His word,” the LBC president preached from Jeremiah 18. “Delight in the Word, and surrender all to Him. … Surrender is when I open my life and say, ‘It’s all Yours.’ … the priority of your life must be delight in Him.
“We’re in a tough spot … and we have no hope apart from the power of God. I believe revival can come through Baptists of Louisiana if we are willing to make surrendering to God the priority of our life. … It’s time for Louisiana Baptists to all be on our faces before Him.”
People streamed to the altar to pray on their knees until there was no more room; others throughout the worship center knelt or bowed their heads at their pews.
Philip Williamson, pastor of New Zion Baptist Church in Bossier City, gently closed the Monday evening service of the Louisiana Evangelism Conference.
“God,” Williamson prayed, “we came for a meeting and had a meeting with you. Thank you.”
David Hankins, LBC Executive Director David Hankins preached Tuesday morning what he called a “doctrinal message” from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 that had “God, Christ and us” as his three points, he said.
“God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to restore the original relationship between God and man,” Hankins preached. God initiated the reconciliation; it was His “Plan A.” Christ became the sin-bearer. “Only one thing man can’t do for himself: be reconciled to God.”
The Louisiana Baptist Convention exists solely to give its churches the tools and resources needed to accomplish this ministry of reconciliation, Hankins said.
“You can do it,” he preached. “You must do it. … Let’s swear to Him we won’t get distracted by anything else until we deliver the word of reconciliation to those who need to hear it.”
Steve James, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, preached from the book of Judges about Samson, who did not know the Lord had left him.
“Many preachers and people in the pews are in the same condition as Samson: the power of the Spirit of God has gone from them,” James preached. “When you start playing with sin, you’ll lose.”
“We can’t do church as usual and impact Louisiana,” preached Fred Lowery, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bossier City. “We ask God to bless what we’re doing instead of doing what He blesses.
“Evangelism has to be our highest priority. … People without Jesus are lost. Lost people spend an eternity in hell. … Most of what we do requires no supernatural power. … Your purpose is to take as many people to heaven with you as possible.”
Lowery preached from Acts 20 and Acts 18.
“Stop being afraid to share the gospel,” the First Bossier pastor preached with dry humor and power that pulled convicting tears from his listeners. “Society’s dead wrong. Let nothing ever silence you. Sin will silence you. Success will silence you. Structure – too much or not enough – will silence you. Jesus said, ‘I myself am with you.’ What more do you need than Jesus? Never ever ever stop sharing the gospel.”
The pastor of Celebration Church in Metairie talked about the needs people have, and how reaching them requires seeing their pain.
“I believe the Lord is still in the miracle-working business,” Dennis Watson preached from Luke 5. “Jesus cares about human beings. He really really does. … The good news is Jesus is still in the people-loving, prayer-answering and miracle-working business. How can we help people experience the life-transforming power of Jesus in their life?
“We must see the pain of people around us,” Watson preached. Some people are paralyzed physically, emotionally, spiritually. Some are paralyzed by anger, depression, hatred, malice, sin …. But 365 times in the Bible God says, ‘Do not fear.’ “Most of the time in our churches we have forgotten what we used to be like. We have forgotten God has called us to reach out to the paralyzed people in our lives. …
“Jesus is still in the miracle business. Jesus has the power to change people’s lives and circumstances. No problem is too big for the Lord.”
“What would Jesus do?” The pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans asked a second question: “How can we reach this generation, impact the people who are living now? Let’s consult the expert: Jesus had a word for every situation.
“Jesus would be concerned about this generation; Jesus had a genuine concern for people,” Fred Luter preached. “If Jesus would be concerned, then we must be. Jesus would be compassionate. … Oh, thank God for another chance.
“Jesus would send out a challenge,” Luter continued. “The challenge is not asking the government. Jesus’ challenge is to the church, the body of Christ, the followers of Jesus. Jesus’ challenge is to his disciples.”
Luter pointed his listeners to 2 Chronicles 7:14: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will … heal their land.
“Let’s cooperate to do all we can; the volunteers are few and the needs are great. What we desperately need in Louisiana today is laborers … to impact your world.”