In a meeting short on business, LBC Executive Board considered the nation and
its need for prayer
In a meeting short on business, LBC Executive Board considered the nation and
its need for prayer
Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board members proposed a record Cooperative
Program budget for 2002 last week, but first and last, they focused on an even
more urgent matter – the state of the nation.
Meeting two weeks after terrorist attacks on America, the boards
meeting at Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center in Woodworth last week was
short on business but long on prayer and appeals for national repentance and
Board members preceded their meeting with a mini concert of
prayer, with various persons leading in Scripture readings and prayer. During
the session, board members and guests gathered in small groups to offer prayers
of praise, confession, repentance and revival, intercession and commitment.
“We thirst for forgiveness,” board member Wayne Kite
prayed. “We have failed to pray, to stand tall, to follow you. … We yield
to your control. … Refresh us.” Kite is pastor at Westview Baptist Church
“Our father, there are so many people hurting,” Joe
Ratcliff prayed in a subsequent segment on intercession. “We intercede
on their behalf. … We stand for them, asking your Holy Spirit to do what we
cannot do and bring about change, bring about comfort, bring about care. …
“For our nation, for our leadership, for those countless
numbers of families (in the military), … we pray for them and that somehow
out of all this mess in our country, you will draw glory to yourself,”
said Ratcliff, pastor at First Baptist Church of St. Francisville.
“Father, I pray in these days, we would see a harvest
of souls like never before,” added Philip Robertson, pastor at Philadelphia
Baptist Church and Executive Board chair. “Lord, we know youre working.
… May we be obedient to your great commandment to go (into the world with
After singing “Victory in Jesus” and “God Bless
America,” board members then opened their business session.
The key item addressed during the session was the proposed
2002 Cooperative Program budget for the state.
Board members unanimously voted to recommend a 2002 budget
of $23,923,076 to state convention messengers later this fall. The record total
represents an increase of $1,173,076 (5.2 percent) from the current budget.
The proposed increase comes at a time when Cooperative Program
receipts are down in the state. Through August, state receipts were running
about $250,000 behind last years pace and about $790,000 behind budget.
Despite the totals, state leaders expressed confidence during
the meeting, noting that the convention continues to operate within its financial
LBC Stewardship and Cooperative Program Director Randy Tompkins
also said past trends indicate receipts may increase in the latter part of the
year. He voiced hope that the final quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of
2002 would result in a reversal of the “slight downturn.”
He noted that 677 Louisiana Baptist churches gave more through
the Cooperative Program in the first half of 2001 than they gave during the
first half of 2000.
Another 681, churches gave less during that time, while 269
churches gave the same amount. The latter number includes 199 churches that
gave nothing in both years.
Sixty-one churches that gave nothing in the first half of 2000
made contributions in 2001, while 62 churches that gave in 2000 did not give
in first half of 2001, Tompkins said.
He said the near equal numbers indicate that economic factors
seem to be the primary reason for the current downturn in Cooperative Program
In response, Tompkins urged board members to become “vocal
advocates” of the Cooperative Program. “We cannot have any of us …
leaders who are not vocalizing, encouraging and supporting the Cooperative Program,”
Board members subsequently showed their confidence in the
unified giving plan by approving the record budget proposal without debate or
As in past years, the proposed budget would forward 35 percent
of receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention, while retaining the rest for
use for Louisiana Baptist work.
Beyond that, breakdown percentages change little for convention
programs and agencies, with some slated to receive a slightly bigger slice of
the Cooperative Program pie and some proposed for a slightly smaller slice.
The percentages are important because that is the means by
which Cooperative Program funds are distributed each month. The dollar totals
reflected in the budget serve as a guide for what programs and agencies are
to receive if the full budget is met. In the case of the proposed 2002 budget,
all but two convention agencies will receive additional funds if that occurs.
State missions services is figured to receive $10,854,598
in the proposed 2002 budget, marking an increase of $475,600 from this year.
Louisiana College is slated to receive a little more
than $3.2 million if the 2002 budget goal is met, representing an increase of
$150,000 from the current year.
The Louisiana Baptist Childrens Home is allocated
$650,000 in the full budget, the same dollar amount they are budgeted to receive
The Baptist Message stands to receive $464,987 in the
full 2002 budget, an increase of $35,000 from this year.
The Louisiana Baptist Foundation is slated to receive
$289,897 in the proposed 2002 budget, an increase of $15,000.
The Baptist Retirement Center looks to receive $30,600,
also the same amount they are budgeted in the current year.
The board recommendation also calls for any funds received
in excess of the 2002 goal to be allocated on the same percentage basis as the
proposed budget. That represents a change from the current budget, which calls
for the first $125,000 in excess 2001 funds to be allocated to Louisiana College
and the rest to be reserved for state missions services.
The proposal also continues a trend of allocating excess funds
in various ways. Prior to the mid 1990s, excess funds traditionally were allocated
on the same percentage basis as the regular budget. However, in three of the
previous five years, excess funds were reserved for the Southern Baptist Convention
and for state missions services, with Louisiana Baptist Convention agencies
The proposed budget still must be approved by convention messengers
in November to become effective.
In addition to acting on the budget, board members also:
Received a report that plans for the convention to establish
a new division of convention work and open a World Mission Center have been
tabled at this time. David Ketchand of Baton Rouge reported that LBC Executive
Director Dean Doster has decided to wait on implementation of the organizational
and personnel changes because of funding concerns and other factors. Ketchand
said Doster also had indicated work on the World Mission Center will be delayed
until funds have been raised for that purpose.
Received a report from LBC Business Director Jack Ready,
who presented the executive directors report for Doster, who was awaiting
heart surgery at the time. (See Page Two) Ready emphasized that good things
are happening among Louisiana Baptists. He cited various items, including the
growth of churches involved in the FAITH Sunday School and evangelism program
and the launch of 62 churches in the state already this year. “Good things
are happening, …” Ready stressed. “Its happening because our
people are a cooperative body. We want to be together. We want to be a united
force. We do not want divisive issues to arise that would divide us. We want
to be a united force that can stand in the face of disaster, … stand in the
face of evil and do what is right. Thats the Louisiana Baptist way.”
Welcomed four new board members – Mickey Bounds,
pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church in Bernice; James Headrick, a member at First
Baptist Church of New Orleans; Wayne Morrow, pastor at Trinity Baptist Church
of Natchitoches; and Andy Myrick, pastor at Loch Arbor Baptist Church in Monroe.
All four persons replace persons who had to resign from the board because of
Approved a motion to publicize information on how persons can contribute
to ongoing relief and recovery efforts related to the recent terrorist attacks.
Learned that Keith Cating of Mississippi has been hired
as New Orleans/Metro Baptist Collegiate Ministries director. Cating will be
responsible for overseeing student ministries on several New Orleans-area campuses.
After handling business, board members once again focused on
recent events during remarks by current LBC President Tommy French.
The state leader reminded board members that God has the attention
of people as a result of the terrorist attacks two weeks earlier. “We need
to take advantage of that for the gospels sake,” urged French, pastor
at Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.
The recent terrorist attacks follow several other events –
such as the Oklahoma City bombing several years ago and various school shootings
– and represent “only the beginning” for the nation, French warned.
“We need to understand where we are today. … Weve
aborted 78 million babies, but we sing God bless America, ”
French noted. “We have gambling running rampant in our nation and in our
state, but we sing God bless America. We have pornography in our
living rooms, and 42 percent of the American males are addicted to pornography,
and we sing, God bless America. … We have adultery and fornication
running rampant in our nation, as if its acceptable, and we sing, God
“Perversion of every kind, but, oh, God, bless America,”
French continued. “Wickedness in high places. We cant pray in Jesus
name in public places. Gods Word is not read, and Gods Word is derided,
but we sing, God bless America. ”
French acknowledged a lot of people are praying in wake of
the attacks. “But you know what I havent seen in the whole prayer
ministry around this nation,” he asked. “I havent heard anybody
talk about repentance.
“We want to pray. We dont want to repent.”
However, French reminded persons the Bible indicates that without
repentance, America will perish. “Unless our nation repents, the signal
has been sent,” he warned. “Were a religious war thats
French reminded board members that the strength of the nation
must be in faith. “Our strength is not in our weapons, in our B-52s, our
atomic power, our guided missiles. Our strength is in our faith and our trust
in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
“We can pray for revival, but were not going to
have revival until we have national repentance. And its got to begin with
me and you, with our churches. … We need to start repenting before we keep
French called on Louisiana Baptists to lead out in a time of
national repentance lest God remove his hedge of protection from the nation.
“Lets go home and get on our knees and call on God to send us genuine
repentance,” he concluded.
“When that happens, well have revival.”