Eastwood Baptist Church in Haughton, Northwest Baptist Association in Shreveport and the Louisiana Baptist Convention are partnering in a unique way here.
BOSSIER CITY – Eastwood Baptist Church in Haughton, Northwest Baptist
Association in Shreveport and the Louisiana Baptist Convention are
partnering in a unique way here.
Together they bought a church building near Interstate 20 from a
Pentecostal group that was relocating, which the three Southern Baptist
entities are making available to mission churches that need a facility
in which to meet.
“One of the difficulties in starting a new work is finding a place to
meet,” said Brian Prucey, administrator of the facility known as
Meadowview Mission Center, which is across Shed Road from Meadowview
Elementary School in an older neighborhood in east Bossier City that is
transitioning from anglo to African American, with a healthy portion of
“We also provide various community-wide activities that provide
opportunity to meet other people in the neighborhood,” Prucey said.
At the present time four congregations meet in the facility, which has
a 220-seat worship center and classroom space painted and muraled to
One room includes what looks like a home in an African village,
complete with straw ‘roof.’ A child-size, apparently ‘time- out,’ chair
faces the house.
“It looks like a time-out house,” Prucey grinned. The decorating was
left by the former church, which sold the building for a reasonable
$380,000, he said.
• Christ Fellowship, where Uriah Oxford is pastor, meets for worship at
6 p.m. Saturdays. This cutting-edge new start reaches out to
college-age and college educated people across Bossier City and
• Faith Baptist Fellowship, where Larry Black is pastor, meets for
worship at 8:30 a.m. Sunday; Sunday school follows at 10 a.m. This is
an African American new start.
• Antioquia la Iglesia Bautista, where Virgillio Tunon is pastor, meets
for Sunday school at 9 a.m. Sunday; worship follows at 10:30 a.m. This
is an Hispanic new start.
• Common Ground, where Jessie Colston is pastor, meets for Sunday
school at 5 p.m. Sundays; worship follows at 6:30 p.m. This is a
neighborhood new start.
Each of the pastors is bivocational or a student. Oxford attends NOBTS;
Black, maintenance worker at LSU Medical Center; Tunon, from Guatemala,
is studying English; and Colston, school bus driver.
“I’ve been bivocational most of my ministry,” Prucey said. “I know the
struggles of men who have to juggle home, work and church
responsibilities. With the mission center, they don’t have to worry
about facilities and financial management; I do that for them. They can
concentrate on growing their churches, discipling their members and
evangelizing their communities.
He meets with the pastors, Mills and Christina Berry, community
ministry coordinator, at 9 a.m. each Thursday. The pastors meet
together five mornings each week for prayer.
Berry, who has planned an Oct. 31 fall festival for the community, is
set to also launch a Wellness Walking program, and has started various
English as a Second Language classes meet for two hours each Tuesday
evening at Meadowview. About 25 people, mostly Hispanics, participate.
A MOPS – Mothers of Preschoolers – group meets between 9:30 a.m. and noon on the first Thursday of each month at Meadowview.
“The missions incubator is the brainchild of Scott, Teutsch, pastor at
Eastwood Baptist,” Prucey said. “They sponsor five mission churches –
four of them meet here.”
That’s a coincidence, said Chad Mills, Eastwood’s missions pastor; he
supervises the pastors of Eastwood’s missions among other duties at the
mother church. The senior pastor had the idea about two years ago and
developed the partnerships; the building went on the market a year ago;
and this summer several Bible studies were ready to emerge as mission
churches, Mills said.
Organizationally the facility is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, explained
Prucey, its administrator. He pays bills and payroll, is responsible
for maintenance and upkeep, and coordinates the center’s calendar.
Prucey is governed by a board of directors, which consists of Director
of Missions Eddie DeHondt, Mills, and other interested pastors.
The building was purchased by Eastwood, Northwest Baptist Association
and – utilizing Cooperative Program and Georgia Barnette funds – the
Louisiana Baptist Convention.
The mission churches contribute 30 percent of their tithes and
offerings for use of the building. The building’s monthly rent is
$1,250; its insurance, $250. Electric bills alone reached a high
of $698 in July.
The total of the building’s costs is greater than the sum total of the
30 percent each of its missions give, Prucey acknowledged. That’s where
Meadowview’s other partners come into play.
Several churches in the Northwest Baptist Association have pledged to
give amounts ranging from $50/month to $100/month, to help fund the
mission center’s operating expenses.
They include Plain Dealing Baptist, Oak Hill Baptist, New Zion Baptist,
Bansok Baptist, South Bossier Baptist and Haynes Avenue Baptist.
“They believe in the concept,” Prucey said. “The concept is that the
mission churches become self-supporting and get their own property;
then new missions can come in.”
In addition to the 30 percent they contribute toward the cost of the
facility, each of the missions gives 10 percent to the Cooperative
Program and 2 percent to Northwest Baptist Association. Since the
pastors’ salaries are covered by Cooperative Program giving, the
mission has 58 percent of its offerings left for its programming. One
of the missions pays a part-time youth minister out of its 58 percent,
At the present time the schedule would allow for two churches to meet
Sunday afternoon, one having Sunday school when the other is having
church, Prucey said.
“I’m right now seeking, asking God, who?” Mills said. “The problem is
finding a pastor. If you don’t have a pastor, you don’t have a church.”
A hip-hop church that would reach young African American males is one
idea; a ministry to workers at Louisiana Downs casino and racetrack is
Not that Eastwood has to be the sponsor of a mission church that would
meet at Meadowview, Mills said. Any church in the association that has
a need for a facility – whether for a mission church or if the church
can’t use its facility because of a fire or another reason – is welcome.
Meadowview Mission Center has had some problems. Its 20-foot-high sign
was attacked by strong winds in a summertime storm; it still hasn’t
been replaced but the sign company is working on it, Prucey said.
Teenagers entered the building through a window in early summer. They
poured lamp oil on the carpet in front of an exterior door, and lit it,
which caused more smoke damage than anything.
An anonymous tip led to the arrest of a 16-year-old who quickly
accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized. He helped with
the cleanup – it took about a week to scrub and repaint the building;
the carpet where the fire started still has not been replaced – and
these days is in the church about every time it’s open, Mills said.
“The dad showed up a couple of days after the son was caught,” Mills
said. “He said, ‘I owe this church an apology.’ We told him, ‘Grace has
been given to us, and we’re supposed to pass that on.’ It convicted
this man, because he gave up on church 20 years ago.”
The teen and his father attend services regularly; the teen has made a profession of faith.
“When they do community health surveys, prayer walks, whatever, he’s here,” Mills said. “He even brings neighbor kids with him.”
“He actually serves as a testimony to the community,” Berry added.
“They see him walking down the street with his Bible in his hand.
“Most of the people in the [nearby] community have become hardened to
church,” Berry continued. “We’re out in the community to give a face to