By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
WOODWORTH – With rising enrollment that includes a record number of freshmen on campus, Louisiana College President Rick Brewer had much to be thankful for during the recent Executive Board meeting.
“We are preparing graduates and transforming lives at Louisiana College,” Brewer said. “We love our job. We love our students, faculty and staff. We love and thank you for your support through the Cooperative Program. You are there when students’ lives are changed and when things happen for the kingdom, investing in the future.”
He reminded Executive Board members that the goal of the school’s Vision 2020 plan is to have an enrollment of 1,500 students by that time. Currently, they stand at 1,210 for the fall semester, the second consecutive year of an increase.
Brewer also celebrated that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has awarded the school four initiatives, which include a Master’s in Nursing, Master’s in Social Work, Bachelor’s in Computer Science and the ability to offer any course online.
“We praise the Lord for what’s happening, what He’s doing and what’s to come,” he said. “It’s all part of the plan and what God’s leading us to do in these days and in the future.”
He added that the school has several new scholarships at a school that help make the school the 5th most affordable Christian college in the nation. Brewer is optimistic the new scholarships and academic programs will help the school move forward with its goal of enrolling 350 new freshmen next academic year, which will be a key to helping cut into a projected $1.5 million deficit. If achieved, it would break this year’s school record of 330 new freshmen enrolled.
“We are working with a financial stabilization plan calling for increased enrollment, retention, and donor support,” Brewer said. “These initiatives coupled with downsizing and cost containment will, we trust, enable the college to achieve a balanced budget.”
To reach these goals, Brewer asked for Executive Board members to assist the college, reminding them that LC is a needed choice in today’s world that is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity.
“What happens in a young person’s life between the ages of 18 and 24 is significant,” Brewer said. “That’s when they begin to shape who they are, that’s when they begin to determine is this my faith or is it the faith of my daddy or my granddaddy. When they have competing worldviews coming at them from every angle, I’m glad they have a Christian voice at Louisiana College that will provide answers and educational experience enabling students to see world through Christian lens.”
Other entity reports
In his report, Louisiana Baptist Foundation Executive Director Wayne Taylor reminded Executive Board members that 37 percent of regular givers would likely leave a bequest to a church or ministry in their Will if asked, and that his staff is there to help Louisiana Baptists with the task.
“Estate planning is stewardship,” Taylor said. “It’s often times the largest act of stewardship a person will do. They have accumulated more and can give more in their death than they can do in their lifetime.”
Taylor also encouraged Board members to sign up for the Mustard Seed app. Developed by the Oklahoma Baptist Foundation, the app rounds up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and donates that change to the church or ministry of their choice.
Additionally, Taylor encouraged Louisiana Baptists to participate in a Foundation giveaway. Directing members to BaptistMessage.con/give-a-gift, Taylor said individuals can sign up for a drawing each month for a chance to direct $1,500 from the Foundation to the church or ministry of their choice.
For his part, Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home President Perry Hancock shared how God continues to bless the entity, including 130 people who accepted Christ through its various ministries.
Hancock said the Children’s Home has seen more than 220 children in its residential program, an increase from 150 a few years ago. Additionally, through the Granberry Counseling ministry, 1,200 couples and individuals have been served, 50 of who were Louisiana Baptist ministers and their family members.
“This is what God is doing through Louisiana Baptists at the Children’s Home,” Hancock said. “God is giving us opportunities like never before.”
During his report, Baptist Message Editor Will Hall reminded Board members how the newspaper and online news outlet is essential for staying informed about happenings in the Southern Baptist Convention, like changes at the International Mission Board, and, to be inspired by such news as the establishment of the first evangelical congregation, ever, in Plaucheville, because of the Georgia Barnette Offering.
“There is not another news source that operates solely for the benefit of Louisiana Baptists, so that they can be well-informed about the people, issues and events that impact our faith community,” he said.
Additionally, Hall gave a report as director of the Office of Public Policy, outlining some of Louisiana Baptists’ successes during the recent state legislative session, including the defeat of four bills which countered Louisiana Baptist values and the passage of four bills that supported their ideals.
Hall shared a special emphasis about the importance of Louisiana Baptists’ resolutions, saying he used them as stackpoles for his efforts in the legislature.
“Louisiana Baptists voted in 2105 to defund Planned Parenthood and to express concern about children being exposed to online pornography,” Hall said. “This year Louisiana Baptists worked with other conservatives to defeat a sex survey bill advocated by Planned Parenthood in order to receive government grants. We also largely crafted a resolution that passed calling for the governor, the Senate president and the House speaker to work together ‘in an aggressive public campaign to protect children from exposure to pornography.’”
Hall said Louisiana Baptists also enjoyed success this year in passing legislation to rescue children from sex trafficking (related to a 2016 Louisiana Baptist resolution on human trafficking) and to defeat a bill that would have created special rights for people who claim a transgender or gender fluid identity (as opposed by Louisiana Baptists in a 2016 resolution against the politics of transgenderism).