By John Kyle, Louisiana Baptists Communications
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – How do you reach a culture that is seemingly not interested in you?
How can you instill a vision and passion for missions in children?
How can you use current communication platforms to seed God’s truth across the state?
How can you bring a once vibrant congregation back to life?
According to Missions and Ministries team leader John Hebert, all of the above is possible, “With a lot of help from your friends.”
“In the day-in and day-out grind of ministry, it’s easy to forget how large our task is,” Hebert said. “If we’re going to make the impact all of us agree needs to be made, we need more individuals participating in the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.”
David Hankins, executive director for Louisiana Baptists, echoed this challenge.
“We have literally hundreds of churches and thousands of our members who do not participate in this crucial offering for Louisiana,” said Hankins. “It’s not simply a money issue, it’s a participation issue, a resource issue. The task in Louisiana is so large, so big, it’s going to take an even larger effort on our part to provide the Gospel opportunities needed to engage the estimated two million people in our state who do not have a relationship with Christ.”
Since 2014 gifts to the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering have ranged between $1.5 and $1.6 million dollars. The goal for 2018 is $1.7 million dollars, which would require an increase of roughly $118,000. Hebert notes that all of the money stays in Louisiana for local missions and ministries.
“You could call GBO an organic offering,” Hebert said. “It’s given by Louisiana people for Louisiana people.”
Hankins cited three reasons why churches and individuals should prayerfully participate in this offering.
CHURCH PLANTING SUCCESS
“We’ve had tremendous success in planting churches across the state,” he said. “Since 2010 more than 223 churches have been planted in 100 cities and these new churches have baptized almost 3,300 people.”
PEOPLE GROUPS ENGAGED
“God is blessing our efforts in reaching the various people groups God has placed in Louisiana,” Hankins continued. “Every week the Gospel is proclaimed among 14 different people groups.
The People Group Taskforce convened by the President’s 2020 Commission in 2013 has completed their initial assignment and continues to meet, monitor and ideate on how we can increase our effectiveness in engaging these groups with the Gospel.”
SPREADING THE MESSAGE
Hankins noted that “Here For You,” Louisiana’s multi-media evangelism strategy, recently completed its third pilot market in southeast Louisiana.
“Since 2014, more than 325,000 of our friends and neighbors have seen the ‘Here For You’ commercials in multiple markets. This does not include the reach of social media. In February of this year over 849,000 people across the state saw the commercial during the Super Bowl and plans are being made to take this initiative statewide on a full-time basis in February 2019.”
According to Hankins, “We would not be able to attempt an effort of this magnitude without assistance from the Georgia Barnette Offering.”
This year’s theme, “Think Big,” is taken from 2 Corinthians 9:6, “A lot of seeds make a big harvest,” (CEV). Hebert is praying big thinking will lead to big praying and big giving.
“The job God has given us in Louisiana is bigger than our largest church, but it is not bigger than all of our churches,” Hebert said. “My prayer is God’s people will ask Him how He wants them to respond to the big opportunities and big challenges that lie before us. I’m praying they will respond in obedience and faith.”
Individuals wishing to give online may do so by visiting www.GeorgiaBarnette.org. Additional information and promotional resources, including videos, also are available on the site.