Restoration key to church’s health
RAYVILLE – Over the last seven years, Boeuf River Baptist Church has spent more than $90,000 on the restoration of its 7-acre property.
It’s also been involved in the restoration of countless lives.
“If anyone is to be restored, it’s [prison/jail] inmates, or the guy living unbder the bridge, or the lawyer whose life is spinning out of control,” says Pastor David (wife Becky) Herrington. “You begin to touch base with these people, and I’ve seen amazing things happen. … To me, that is what church ministry is all about. It’s about affecting people.”
About 120 people attend Sunday morning worship at Boeuf River. They give 10 percent of their offerings to missions through the Cooperative Program, 2 percent more to Richland Baptist Association, and send money each month to two missionaries.
“It’s a very missions-minded church,” Herrington said. “The first Sunday I was here to preach, some of the members were in Honduras.”
Prison ministry is one of Boeuf River’s primary outreaches. Men and women of the church go regularly, as they are permitted by wardens and sheriffs, to have Bible study, worship and one-on-one time with inmates.
“They have been judged and condemned,” Herrington said. “If I can affect some restoration in their life and they become born-again, productive citizens, then I think we have more than fullfilled our calling and our commission as a Christian on this earth.”
Prison ministry is an integral part of the ministry of Boeuf River Baptist, the pastor said.
“I think we [Christians] need to change our mindset,” Herrington said. “It’s not that we go to church; we ARE the church. To be that, we have to change the way we look at issues around us and not judge people, but love them. Love covers a multitude of sins.
“When we do that, we don’t just fill their cup, we fill THEM up, and they can fill their cup and maybe help someone else.”
Today’s families are under attack, Herrington said when asked about challenges he and the church face.
“We have babies having babies, our schools are becoming war zones and so many single family homes,” the pastor lamented.” [The answer] comes down to men being men and raising their families in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If your family is strong, you can handle all these things, but if it’s not, it doesn’t take much.”
Vacation Bible school hasn’t happened yet this summer at Boeuf River Baptist. It’s planned for a Saturday just before school starts, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“They go through everything [that’s in a 5-day VBS],” Herrington said. Helen Tarver is VBS director. “It’s pretty effective,” the pastor added.
The church has been remodeling its fellowship hall this summer – knocked out a couple of walls, put up a new roof and new flooring, that type of thing. It’s restoration, kind of work the pastor and congregation like to do.
“The most amazing thing to me other than the fact that He saved me is that He restored me,” Herrington said. “That’s the heart of this church. We can’t shut our eyes to hurting people.”
His Church flexes expansion muscles
PINEVILLE – Steve Speer started His Church in Pineville two years ago.
About 160 people attend one of three Sunday morning worship services in what used to be a day care center. Already the church is stable, with maturing Christians in the congregation who have eagerly accepted leadership responsibilities.
This means the pastor can start looking at the next site God has planned, the pastor said.
“My vision is to start contemporary churches in every major college town in Louisiana,” Speer said. “We’re looking at Monroe in January. One of our graduates is going to ULM [University of Louisiana at Monroe] and wants to help start a new church.”
The style of music presented at a worship service is a key toward gearing a church to a specific target group, Speer said. At His Church in Pineville, the music is songs still receiving air time on Christian radio.
Halfway up the walls of the worship center is an eight-inch high wallpaper border with dark yellow vertical striping that looks similar to what might be found at a construction/high traffic site.
“Disciples under construction” is the legend repeated over and over as the border lines each wall. It subliminally drives home the point that spiritual growth [aka discipleship] work is to be done by each Christian at His Church in Pineville.
Speer spoke of satanic attacks one recent Sunday, in words a young, edgy congregation would understand.
“There is the enemy,” Speer preached. “He’s limited; he’s intentional; he places his children among God’s children.”
His sermon on hypocrites, and hypocrisy, pulled no punches, and to make sure his congregation knew what he was talking about, Speer described a hypocrite:
• It’s living like two people;
• Your spiritual life is fake;
• You have divided loyalties;
• All talk and no action;
• Religion is a game;
• You have religion but no relationship with Jesus;
• You talk about God but not to God.
“The person you are when no one is looking, that’s who you really are,” Speer said. “Hypocrisy is devastating to God’s Kingdom work. There is a reckoning. God knows the difference. You can’t lie to God. You can’t hide from God. You can’t escape God.”
Speer concluded the sermon by saying, “The harvest is inevitable. Get real.”
Speer was pastor of Longview Deville for 15 years, and Friendship Many for six years