By Message Staff
WOODWORTH –Tony Mathews reminded 45 pastors and their spouses of their responsibility to live out God’s missiological plan for the world during the first ever Louisiana Baptist African-American Missions Conference.
“The personnel of the mission agenda is us,” the president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention African American Fellowship said during one of his messages. “You are employed by Jesus.”
Throughout the conference, Mathews drew from his experiences of participating in mission trips with North Garland Baptist Church where he serves as pastor to challenge those in attendance to realize how they can influence the ends of the earth. Near the end of his final message, Mathews challenged pastors to join him in a mission trip to Ecuador in October, with two responding to go.
Held Sept. 8-9 at Tall Timbers Conference Center, the retreat also featured intensive training led by Mathews and worship led by Thomas Keys, worship minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Shreveport. The pastors also heard encouraging words in breakout sessions from David Hankins, executive director for Louisiana Baptists, Leroy Fountain, church health strategist for New Orleans Baptist Association, Barry Calhoun, mobilization director for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Jon Daniel Bennett, pastor of Belfair Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, and Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Their spouses also had the option of attending a special breakout session led by Carolyn Fountain, the wife of Leroy Fountain.
“I have never had someone present mission testimonies of mission trips in the way Dr. Mathews did,” said Wayne Sheppard, coordinator of partnership missions for Louisiana Baptists. “I felt as if I was there as he literally took us to the site. We could almost smell the smells and feel the atmosphere of the moment.
“I am very thankful for Louisiana Baptists Church Planting Director James Jenkins, Leroy Fountain and Dr. Fred Luter,” he said. “Their leadership and involvement made this event a huge success. Every response by those in attendance was that we want to expand this training over the next year, and we want to make this an annual conference.”
Cedric Murphy, Body of Christ Church in Baker, said he learned that there are partnerships available for small budget and small membership Africa n Americans that will connect them and assist us in reaching foreign missions.
“I learned that God’s mandate for us to share the gospel worldwide is just as urgent as it is to minister locally and in our communities,” he aid. “We were taught that God’s presence and power in manifested greater when we step out of our comfort zones and onto the mission fields.”