Submitted by philip on Wed, 10/09/2013 – 18:34
By Philip Timothy, Managing Editor
WOODWORTH – Louisiana Baptist Convention President Waylon Bailey did not pull any punches as he discussed the findings of the President’s 2020 Commission, the health of Louisiana Baptists, their churches and their efforts to further God’s Kingdom in the state.
Bailey took the opportunity of the LBC’s Executive Board’s annual fall meeting at Tall Timbers to present what the commission had discovered and a 10-point action plan to strengthen, renew and reinvigorate efforts by utilizing Louisiana Baptists’ strengths.
“Let me start by telling you where we are. From 2000 to 2010, a lot has happened in Louisiana. It has been a very momentous time in the state,” Bailey said. “The state’s population has actually increased by 60,000, despite the losses following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, yet we have 45,000 fewer members and there were 30 (1,613-1,583) fewer churches.
“Our data shows we are losing ground in reaching the young people of our state,” Bailey said. “Since 1980 we have seen a significant decline in baptisms amongst our youth and children. Baptism of children and youth is down 42 percent. We are baptizing barely half the number of children and teens in our churches as we did 30 years ago.
“The most startling and, yes, alarming stat of all was last year 900 congregations did not baptize a single child … not one.
Bailey continued, “Sunday school enrollment has declined by 20,000 and VBS numbers went from 124,000 to 106,000. We have seen a significant drop in attendance in Sunday school amongst our preschool (42%), elementary (51%) and teenagers (41%) since 1980. While the 12-17 year old age group now comprises almost 25% of the population in Louisiana only 12% of them can be found in church – regardless of denomination – on any given Sunday.
“Folks this is tough to hear, let alone to try and digest,” Bailey said.
Disturbed by this growing and alarming trend, Bailey decided something had to be done about it and done quickly.
At the 2012 annual meeting, he formed a commission of 400 Louisiana Baptist leaders broken into 20 sub committees whose task it was to analyze specific areas of ministry employed by Louisiana Baptists. The committees met numerous times during the year including a two-day summit in April and reports were filed.
A steering committee comprised of the chairs of the 20 groups and LBC strategists reviewed the reports’ findings and recommendations. Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 24), Bailey and LBC Executive Director David Hankins presented those findings.
“The task before us is not to change the mission, or even to restate it more cleverly,” Bailey told members of the Executive Board. “The task is to fulfill the mission more completely. Therefore, they have developed and we are recommending a seven-year strategy for maximizing Louisiana Baptists’ effectiveness in gospel ministry.”
“Fellas, it is obvious we need a revival … a revitalization. This study has helped us to reduce it down to two audiences that we need to reach and engage – the next generation and the non-anglo population,” he said. “It is not about what the state convention can do but rather this is about what I can do … what your congregation can do. This is all about who and what we are … evangelism, missions and churches. It is not about the message but the method in which we deliver it.”
Hankins followed Bailey and presented to the board the commission’s findings, recommendations and plan of action.
“How best can we reach these people,” Hankins said. “We believe we have identified four avenues – congregational revitalization, church planting, communication and collaboration. We believe these strategies, none of which are unheard of, will give us our best opportunities and allow us to utilize our strengths in reaching the lost for Christ.
“So, we have adopted the word Kairos (Key Actions in Reaching Our State) to describe our course of action,” Hankins said. “Kairos is Greek meaning the right or opportune moment. We need to make the most of this opportunity.”
The report has 10 recommended actions, implementation of those actions and 28 goals Hankins told board members.
“We will use these action statements and goals to help shape our work,” he said. “What does success look like? What do we want Louisiana Baptists to look like in 2020? Perhaps this:
Every congregation will understand and engage all the people in its geographical reach; will have a clear plan for ‘making disciples,’ especially the young; will model biblical stewardship; will minister to the needs of its community; will aid in starting new churches; will communicate the gospel message in a compelling way; will collaborate with other Louisiana Baptists in ministry; and will give generously to support the cooperative missions.
“Let’s make the most of the KAIROS, for the gospel, for our state, for this time,” Hankins said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the report.
THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT’S 2020 COMMISSION
Louisiana Baptist Convention
“Opportunity Louisiana: For The Gospel, For Our State, For This Time”
Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16 NIV
At the 2012 annual meeting of our Convention, Louisiana Baptists celebrated two centuries of
ministry in the state. We had used the bicentennial year as an occasion to seek the Lord for a
spiritual awakening. Next, came the time to put feet to those prayers. Dr. Waylon Bailey,
president of the Convention, announced the formation of a commission to evaluate the
ministries of Louisiana Baptists in order to prepare for the daunting challenges and the spiritual
opportunities of the next several years. The president enlisted 400 Louisiana Baptist leaders,
including church pastors and staff members, laymen and women, and denominational workers.
This group, which represented churches of every size, ethnicity, and region of the state, were
organized into twenty sub-committees that each analyzed a specific arena of ministry among
Louisiana Baptists. They met numerous times (in person and electronically), including a two-day
Summit in April for the whole Commission. Reports were filed by each sub-committee,
whereupon the Steering Committee (chairs of the twenty groups) and LBC strategists reviewed
their findings and recommendations. The President and the Steering Committee submit the
following to the Louisiana Baptist Convention for its prayerful consideration.
Affirmation of the Mission
The Louisiana Baptist Convention, a voluntary organization of autonomous Southern Baptist
congregations in the state of Louisiana, was founded in 1848. It has always been clear about its
mission which “is to provide means through which Louisiana Baptist churches and members can
cooperate in bringing persons to God throughout the world.”(LBC Articles of Incorporation). We
exist to be used of God to reach lost persons with the saving gospel of Jesus. Evangelism and
missions is our heartbeat. More recent statements articulating our common purpose read as
The Louisiana Baptist Convention exists to serve the Baptist churches in Louisiana as a catalyst
for igniting a passion for Jesus and His kingdom, a consultant for strengthening the
congregations, and a conduit for accomplishing cooperative missions.
Our vision is to ignite a passion for Jesus among Louisiana Baptists that will result in dynamic,
growing congregations who covenant together to extend the kingdom of God to the ends of the
The 2020 Commission believes our mission is clear. The task before us is not to change the
mission, or even to restate it more cleverly. The task is to fulfill the mission more completely.
Therefore, the aim of our work was “to develop and recommend a seven-year strategy for
maximizing Louisiana Baptists’ effectiveness in gospel ministry.”
Scripture and Theme
Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16 NIV
The Scripture chosen to identify this study is compelling and apropos for Louisiana Baptists. Just
like the Apostle Paul, we face serious and urgent challenges, some of which the report will
identify. It is obvious even to the casual observer that many aspects of the society in which we
live are characterized by growing ungodliness. People have rebelled against God and they, and
our culture, are experiencing the negative consequences. The number of Americans who claim
no religious affiliation is growing dramatically, and voices in open opposition to Christianity are
becoming more numerous and more strident. Although we are thankful for victories that God
gives us, the data gathered about Louisiana Baptists shows that we are losing ground in our
effort to win our state to Christ. The days are evil indeed!
But Paul also saw in his culture a moment of opportunity to make a difference for the Lord. The
Greek word kairos is sometimes translated “time.” (e.g., “redeem the time.” Eph. 5:16, KJV).
However, the word does not indicate chronological time, but an opportune moment. “Making
the most of every opportunity.” Our theme “Opportunity Louisiana” is attempting to convey a
sense of urgency. We must act with intensity and precision. And we must act now.
Before we begin to list our conclusions, there are some considerations that give context to the
We recognize that God has given us His favor. We are grateful for the contributions
Louisiana Baptists have made across the decades and we acknowledge with gratitude
the many people of past and current generations who have labored faithfully in our
common ministries. We, by God’s grace, will continue to serve through the varied
ministries of the churches and the convention. We pray that they will continue to
advance the cause of Christ in Louisiana and across the world.
We recognize that our tasks are spiritual, and we will not be successful unless God
blesses us with his power. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who
build it.” (Ps. 127:1, NASB). We are not attempting to “outwit the world.” Strategies and
studies are useful tools but they are no substitute for God’s Spirit bringing grace, mercy,
and revival. We must continue to give ourselves to prayer for spiritual renewal in our
We will not violate our convictions in order to be “successful.” As much as we would like
to reach more people and prosper numerically, we will not compromise the truth. It
does us no good to please men if we displease God.
Our desire is for the kingdom of God, not just our Louisiana Baptist enterprises. We are
thankful for every faithful gospel ministry in our state and are not in competition with
them. We will cooperate with other Christians where we can and pray that Jesus will be
honored through them as well as through us.
The recommendations included herein became apparent as we understood the needs we face,
and evaluated the opportunity Louisiana Baptists have to make a real difference. Every
suggestion from the sub-committees was heard but not all are recommended. The Steering
Committee gave greatest consideration to strategies that are accessible to our pastors and
churches, that invite the maximum involvement of our constituency, that have the greatest
impact on lostness in the state, and that provide a clear pathway to advancing our goals.
Who needs to be reached? Two Audiences
We asked ourselves, “Who are the people in Louisiana who need to be reached?” Our study
revealed two unmistakable demographic groups of greatest need: the younger generations and
the non-Anglo people groups. The data about these groups is so compelling that we have
identified them as the two major audiences for our near-term ministry initiatives.
The Next Generation
It is imperative that we reverse the trends that show we are losing ground in reaching the
younger people of our state with the gospel. Our children’s sub-committee analyzed our
statistics in our work with children. Since 1980 baptism of children is down 42%.
In regard to Sunday School, we have seen similar declines with a 42% drop in Preschool
attendance and a 51% drop in Elementary age attendance. We are baptizing barely half the
number of children in our churches as we did thirty years ago. Half of our congregations did not
baptize one child last year.
The data regarding youth is just as startling. Average attendance of teenagers in our churches
has dropped 41% since 1980. At the same time, the population of people aged 12-17 has seen a
significant increase over the last 10 years. That age group now comprises almost 25% of the
population in Louisiana. There are more teenagers and more churches than ever in history. Yet,
on any given Sunday, only 12% of the population of teenagers can be found in anyone’s church,
regardless of denomination. As with children, we are also baptizing half the number of teens as
we did thirty years ago, and several hundred of the churches had no teen baptisms last year.
The college age population attending church reflects the same declining participation. Although
we have seen encouraging responses to our convention conferences such as the Youth
Evangelism Conference, the Pre-Teen Invasion, and the College Evangelism Conference, we
have yet to see gains in church attendance and baptisms against the population growth. We are
thankful that the Baptist Collegiate Ministries on Louisiana campuses are growing in their reach
to students but much remains to be done.
It is axiomatic that the next generation is the key to gospel success for the future. The loss in
attendance and baptisms in the LBC in the last several decades is almost entirely in the younger
generation. The 2020 Commission believes reaching the next generation should be the priority
of our strategies and efforts in the churches and the LBC. The recommendations in this report
reflect that priority. In addition to the other recommendations contained herein, the
Commission recommends the following as a priority initiative:
The LBC Executive Director will form a “Next Generation Task Force” whose assignment will
be to 1) study the needs of the younger generation, 2) discover and develop strategies for
engagement and ministry to this generation of Louisianans, and 3) promote implementation
of these strategies among Louisiana Baptists. The Task Force will report regularly through the
Executive Director to the Executive Board.
Every People Group
Of equal importance with reaching the next generation is the need to reach every people group
in Louisiana. The LBC membership is predominantly Anglo. Only five percent of our membership
is non-Anglo with only about 145 of 1600 churches having non-Anglos as their primary
constituency. However, four of ten people residing in Louisiana are non-Anglo. These people
groups are situated predominantly in the southern regions of our state where our churches are
not as numerous or as strong. For the state of Louisiana, the church to population ratio is
1:2,764.In South Louisiana (from a latitude 20 miles north of Opelousas to the gulf),it is
1:7,700.The ratio of Anglo to African-American SBC witness is 11 to 1 (we have one Anglo
church for every 1,955 Anglos but only one African-American church for every 21,609 African-
Americans). The ratio to Hispanics is 3 to 1, and to Asians is 2 to 1. These disparities are
intensified in New Orleans, our largest city. These populations also have a growing ratio of
In summary, LBC churches tend to be Anglo, northern, rural, and older while the population of
Louisiana is trending non-Anglo, urban, southern, and younger. If we are to impact lostness in
Louisiana, including reaching the next generation, we must identify and implement strategies
that engage the non-Anglo population. The 2020 Commission believes reaching every people
group ought to be our priority. The recommendations in this report reflect that priority. In
addition to the other recommendations contained herein, the Commission recommends the
following as a priority initiative:
The LBC Executive Director will form a “People Group Engagement” Task Force whose
assignment is 1) to evaluate the ethnic diversity in Louisiana and its implications for Louisiana
Baptists, 2) create avenues for input and involvement in LBC life by non-Anglo leaders and
congregations, and 3) lead Louisiana Baptists in effective engagement with and ministry
among all people groups in the state. The Task Force will report regularly through the
Executive Director to the Executive Board.
How can we best reach them? Four Avenues
There are a myriad of possible ministry actions that can contribute to reaching the lost people
of Louisiana. The 2020 Commission has identified four areas of effort that hold the most
promise for successful engagement of our Louisiana neighbors. The four avenues are:
1) congregational revitalization
2) church planting
Each of these areas holds particular promise in reaching our identified audiences. Although
none of these is unheard of, we are convinced they are pivotal in maximizing our reach for
Christ in Louisiana. We believe these strategies provide our greatest opportunities and utilize
our greatest strengths for reaching more of the lost in Louisiana, especially the next generation
What are we recommending? Ten Actions
We are calling these actions KAIROS recommendations: “Key Actions In ReachingOur State.”
These are momentous opportunities. In summary, the ten “KAIROS” recommendations call for
specific actions through our four avenues to reach our two audiences.
Revitalizing our Congregations
The strength of Baptist ministry in Louisiana is the local congregation. The churches are the
engines that drive our accomplishments. For any strategy to be successful in advancing our
work, it must engage the local churches.
It has been widely noted that a majority of our SBC congregations are “plateaued or declining.”
This term generally means that the numbers of people being baptized and attending the church
has been static or lower across the last several years. It does not mean that the congregations
are not accomplishing many good things for the Kingdom of God. However, the challenges
before us demand that we honestly evaluate our efforts in maximizing our ability to reach the
lost in Louisiana. The 2020 Commission noted declines in Bible study attendance, baptisms,
giving, and mission support. We expect nearly 200 LBC congregations to die by 2020. Factors
that contribute to the death of congregations include population losses, aging membership,
internal conflict, and changing demographics. A significant component of reaching Louisiana
with the gospel over the next seven years is “revitalization of our congregations.”
How can this be done? The Commission makes the following recommendations that identify
challenges in the churches that must be addressed if we are to maximize effectiveness in gospel
KAIROS # 1: Equip churches with a proven Evangelistic Church Growth Implementation Process
Every congregation needs a plan of action for growth that is specific to their external and
internal demographics. The LBC will assist congregations in developing and implementing this
process. We especially encourage the churches to address the task of reaching children and
youth, and of engaging all people groups in their communities.
- Congregations study and adopt an Evangelistic Church Growth Implementation Process
by 2015. The LBC Evangelism and Church Growth Team will have the responsibility for
encouraging, monitoring, and reporting on this project.
- Congregations will achieve a 5% growth in attendance by 2016 and 10% by 2020.
- Each congregation will aim to baptize at least one more child and one more youth per
year than the current number.
KAIROS # 2: Assist churches with the development of a disciple-making process for the local
In order to be effective in reaching others for Christ, the churches must lead their members to
be mature, committed disciples of Christ. Our aim is not just to increase numbers, but also to
increase spiritual growth and vitality. Churches would be helped in this task by adopting a
carefully articulated process that 1) defines what a disciple of Christ should be and 2) outlines a
pathway toward mature discipleship.
- The LBC Evangelism and Church Growth Team will lead the development of a
customizable resource for the churches that describes “making disciples.” Particular
attention will be given to the training of children and youth leadership. This will be
ready by 2015.
- Congregations will study and adopt a specific, measureable disciple-making process by
- The LBC Evangelism and Church Growth Team will have the responsibility for
encouraging, resourcing, monitoring, and reporting on this project.
- By 2020, at least 50% of LBC congregations will be utilizing a specific, measureable
KAIROS # 3: Challenge Congregations to Regularly and Intentionally Promote Biblical Financial
The data reviewed by the 2020 Commission reveals that Southern Baptists (along with virtually
all American church members) are contributing, on average, a smaller percentage of their
incomes through the church than ever before. The average is barely over 2%. This multi-decade
decline is startling given the relative financial prosperity that Americans have enjoyed during
this period. Getting Christians to be faithful in stewardship is always challenging. The problem
is compounded by out-of-control personal debt by many Americans. However, if we are going
to have the resources to accomplish needed ministries, we must reverse the decline in
stewardship. The 2020 Commission believes that congregations which have regular teaching
and promotion of Biblical stewardship, particularly of tithing, are experiencing improvements in
members’ stewardship practices.
- The LBC will make available annually resources for the churches to use in teaching
stewardship including the practice of tithing as well as overcoming indebtedness.
- By 2016, every congregation will engage, at least annually, in stewardship teaching and
promotion. The LBC Stewardship Strategist will encourage, monitor, and report on this
- By 2020, the number of Louisiana Baptist families committed to tithe will increase by
KAIROS # 4: Engage LBC congregations in Compassion Ministries
Understanding the physical needs of our neighbors, and attempting to help with them, provides
Louisiana Baptist churches remarkable opportunities to share the love of Christ and reach
people for faith. Compassion ministries are numerous and varied. They include feeding and
clothing programs, ministries to prisoners and their families, abortion alternative services,
tutoring classes, disaster relief, counseling, and so on. Many LBC churches already engage in
one or more forms of compassion ministry. These ministries can be especially useful in opening
doors of friendship and witness to overlooked people groups and their children and young
- Every LBC church will engage in at least one local compassion ministry on a regular
- The LBC will create a compassion ministries network in consultation with pastors,
DOMs, and leaders of various ministries by 2015. The LBC ministry evangelism strategist
will encourage, monitor, and report on this process.
Planting Churches for Everyone
The Church Planting sub-committee was aided in its deliberations by the NAMB emphasis “Send
New Orleans” and, especially, by the recent LBC church planting study. The sub-committee
concurs with the conclusions of the previous study, as stated:
Recent U. S. Bureau of the Census demographic population projections
and data from the Center for Missional Research, North American Mission
Board, point to the urgent need for impacting lostness in Louisiana through church
With an estimated 2009 population of 4,488,442 and over twenty-five distinct
language people groups, and a projected population of 4,702,687 for 2014, the
urgency of impacting lostness grows each year. In 2008 the Louisiana Baptist
Convention Annual Church Profile reported 1,624 affiliated church and church-type
mission congregations with a total membership of 578,918, and 10,371 recorded
baptisms. That means Louisiana currently has one LBC affiliated congregation for every
2,764 Louisiana residents.
In a previous Evangelism Index study, the North American Mission Board indicated a
lostness ratio of over 50% for Louisiana. One out of every two Louisiana residents
surveyed indicated no “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ as understood by
Southern Baptists. For Louisiana, this means over 2,244,000 people are without Christ.
As the population of Louisiana grows, lostness will also grow unless evangelical
Christians and, especially, Louisiana Baptists aggressively seek to fulfill the Great
Commission through “making disciples” and planting vibrant, healthy, multiplying,
New Testament congregations. The challenge is to impact every people group and
population cluster in Louisiana with the gospel and provide a New Testament church
in which every believer can grow to become a fully devoted disciple of Jesus.
We affirm the declaration by C. Peter Wagner as modified by Ed Stetzer and Warren
Bird in Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers: “The single
most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churchesthat in
turn reproduce themselves” (p. 16). If we are to maximize effectiveness in gospel
ministry, we must start churches for everyone. (from the LBC Cooperative Church
Planting Strategy study).
KAIROS # 5: Partner with churches, associations and other Southern Baptist entities to plant
healthy, culturally relevant, biblically sound, multiplying churches that seek to fulfill the Great
- Promote church sponsorship, by developing resources and by providing “eye opening”
moments for potential sponsors.
- In partnership with associations, NAMB, and church sponsors, continue the LBC
recruitment, assessment, and training process for church planters.
- By 2020, double the non-Anglo LBC congregations (for a total of 300) with special
attention given to New Orleans and the southern region of the state.
- Utilizing the regional church planting benchmarks, plant 300 new churches by 2020. The
LBC Church Planting Team will be responsible for encouraging, monitoring, and
reporting on this goal.
- In order to provide needed additional funding for LBC church planting, increase the
Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering by 5% each year between now and 2020.
Creating Communication That Connects and Compels
No facet of contemporary life has changed as dramatically as the arena of communications.
With the advance of the Internet and cell phone availability, it seems everyone can know
everything and communicate with everyone—and do it instantaneously. The SBC Radio and
Television Commission, started 70 years ago, seems archaic by comparison. But just as Baptists
endeavored to reach the lost through technology then, we must do so now. In 2012, over 184
million people had Facebook accounts. Twitter boasts over 554 million users. It has been a
catalyst for political movements and even national revolutions. We can no longer deny the
power of social media to change the world and influence the discussion in our society. The 2020
Commission believes communication is an arena where Louisiana Baptists can be benefitted by
unified efforts. Many of the twenty sub-committees identified enhanced communication,
especially via the web, as a necessary strategy to maximize effectiveness in their assignment.
The new communication platforms bring rapid changes and considerable expense, but
Louisiana Baptists cannot afford to ignore this strategy if we are going to reach the population
of Louisiana for Christ.
KAIROS # 6: Launch Operation Highways and Hedges, a multi-year, multi-platform media
strategy designed to provide every person in Louisiana the opportunity to say yes to a
relationship with Christ.
- Roll out phase one in Southwest Louisiana in 2014. Continue by segments until the
entire state is involved, by 2017. Encouraging, developing, monitoring, and reporting on
this strategy will be the responsibility of the LBC Communications Team.
- By 2020, involve churches in all regions of the state in a continuous evangelism strategy
utilizing mass media. Encouraging, developing, monitoring, and reporting on this
strategy will be the responsibility of the LBC Communications Team.
KAIROS # 7: Provide training for leaders and churches in the use of social media such as
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, etc. Provide content for churches and ministries
which will make their websites more engaging and useful.
- Offer periodic training in social media beginning by 2015.
- Provide regular “turnkey” content for websites and other applications, beginning 2014.
Collaborating for Maximum Impact
“Congregations working together” is a hallmark of Southern Baptist life. It is one of our greatest
strengths. We even have an article in our confession (The Baptist Faith and Message) entitled
“Cooperation” which reads in part: “Members of New Testament churches should cooperate
with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for
the extension of Christ’s Kingdom.” The 2020 Commission believes there are strategic
opportunities for more effectively reaching the lost in Louisiana by intentionally increasing our
collaborative efforts as churches, associations, and convention enterprises. We have identified
three KAIROS recommendations involving collaborating for maximum impact.
KAIROS # 8: Create Mentoring and Ministry Networks.
Several sub-committees noted that expertise exists among various Louisiana Baptist churches
that should be marshaled and organized to improve the whole. For example, churches needing
help with children’s ministries could be benefitted by being in a network that includes
experienced children’s leaders from other congregations. Similar kinds of inter-church
mentoring could address effective youth ministry, pastoral leadership, worship, partnership
missions, etc. These are not new ideas. Groups have existed for years for Ministers of
Education, Youth Ministry, Church Administration, etc. Also, the state convention and the
associations have regularly arranged conferences for addressing mutual needs and
opportunities for joint endeavors. What is needed appears to be a new commitment to
collaboration by Baptists, for Baptists in Louisiana. The 2020 Commission agrees we are underutilizing
our human resources and our opportunities to collaborate. We recommend that
leaders across our state take a fresh look at creating opportunities for strengthening our work
through mentoring and ministry networks.
LBC strategists, in consultation with DOMs and church ministry leaders, will recommend
strategies for identifying, reshaping, or developing needed mentoring and ministry
networks in their areas of assignment. Progress reports will be made to the LBC
Executive Board in 2014.
KAIROS # 9: Increase financial support through the Cooperative Program and the special
Since 1925, the Cooperative Program has served as the chief conduit for all Southern Baptists
churches to give financial support for the wide array of ministries of the state and national
conventions. This unified funding mechanism has maximized efficiency, consistency, and
breadth of accomplishment while minimizing competition, expensive solicitations, and uneven
support for ministries. By the 1930s, confidence in the Cooperative Program caused the
churches to reach a level of more than 10% of the churches’ aggregate undesignated receipts to
be contributed through the CP. That level of support lasted into the early 1980s, fueling an era
of great expansion nationally and internationally. However, in the last thirty years, the
Cooperative Program percentage has plummeted to just over 5% in the SBC. Various initiatives
have been recommended to reverse this downward trend. So far, none has had sustained
The 2020 Commission believes a concerted effort ought to be made to re-engage our churches’
confidence in and support of the CP as our main channel of funding our common mission, and
our most strategic collaborative opportunity. In addition to effective and compelling
communication, a key strategy should be the enlistment of Louisiana pastors who will advocate
among their peers for increased percentage giving through the Cooperative Program.
Appropriate attention should be given also to encouraging maximum participation in the
International, North American, and State mission offerings.
- Request the new LBC president to initiate a purposeful conversation among Louisiana
church leaders regarding advocacy for the Cooperative Program.
- Challenge every LBC congregation giving less than 10% through CP to increase their
percent of undesignated receipts for CP by at least 1% by 2017, and 2% by 2020.
- Challenge every LBC congregation giving less than 5% through CP to increase their
percent of undesignated receipts for CP to at least 5% by 2020.
- Increase the number of LBC congregations giving through the CP and special mission
offerings by 10% by 2017 and 20% by 2020.
KAIROS #10: Lead Louisiana Baptists to maximize their collective influence in the arena of moral
and cultural concerns, especially in strengthening families.
The decline in the belief and practice of biblical morality in our culture continues apace both in
the United States in general and in Louisiana in particular. Harmful attitudes concerning
marriage, public education, the value of human life, sexual ethics, family structures, and so on
are degrading the culture and are destructive to children, women, and families.
Working for God-honoring solutions is incumbent on the states’ churches. There is no arena of
ministry more suited for collaboration than the battle for public righteousness. We must unite
our efforts to achieve the most impact. In recent years, Louisiana Baptists have formed the
Public Affairs Office under the ministry of the Executive Board. This new endeavor affords
Louisiana Baptists the vehicle for addressing public morality, speaking to the legislative process,
collaborating with like-minded groups, and rallying the churches.
Additionally, with the leadership of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and Family
Ministries, initiatives that reach children in distress (such as foster care and adoption strategies)
are being pursued.
The 2020 Commission recommends the following goals:
- Continue to expand the interaction between the LBC Office of Public Affairs and the
State of Louisiana Administration, Judiciary, and Legislature.
- Create a network for informing and involving Louisiana Baptist members and
congregations about legal, social, and moral issues that need Christian engagement. The
Office of Public Affairs will report on progress.
- Continue to develop strategies that help Louisiana Baptists minister to children in
distress. The Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home will keep the LBC informed on progress.
Our Dream for Louisiana Baptists
A good question to ask ourselves about any planned endeavor is, “What does success look
like?” What do we want Louisiana Baptists to look like in 2020? Perhaps this:
Every congregation will understand and engage all the people in its geographical reach.
Every congregation will have a clear plan for “making disciples,” especially the young.
Every congregation will model Biblical stewardship.
Every congregation will minister to the needs of its community.
Every congregation will aid in starting new churches.
Every congregation will communicate the gospel message in a compelling way.
Every congregation will collaborate with other Louisiana Baptists in ministry.
Every congregation will give generously to support cooperative missions.
By 2020, the convention as a whole will reflect a greater participation by younger generations
and by all people groups. We will be making a greater impact through the comprehensive use
of social media. We will be more actively caring. We will be stronger numerically and financially.
We will bless the generation to follow with a valuable heritage and a vibrant structure that will
serve them well as they assume the rei ns of Baptist work in Louisiana, for the glory of God.
Let’s make the most of the kairos, for the gospel, for our state, for this time.
The Steering Committee of
The President’s 2020 Commission
Dr. Waylon Bailey, President