By Staff, Louisiana Baptist
WOODWORTH – Baptisms are up for the third year in a row. Cooperative Program giving is up more than 5 percent over last year. Close fellowship abounds across the state.
Members of the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s 91-member Executive Board heard these reports and others at their spring meeting, which took place May 3 at Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center.
“We have found God’s favor,” said LBC Executive Director David Hankins. “We need to have grateful hearts.”
The spring meeting opened with a stirring message from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk by Steve Horn, Board president, followed by reports from Hankins, Board committees, and each of the LBC agencies – college, children’s home, foundation and newspaper.
Habakkuk raised two questions that people are asking today, said Horn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lafayette: “God, how long?” and “Why are you silent?”
God’s answers, Horn preached: “I am doing more than you think,” and “I am keeping an account.”
Our response should be worship, the Board president continued from Habakkuk 2. The righteous shall live by faith. … The Lord is in his holy temple.
Hankins listed three reasons that Louisiana Southern Baptists are experiencing God’s favor: fidelity to the people of God and the Word of God; a season of good fellowship; and the financial generosity of God’s people.
The LBC Executive Director then gave the purpose God has for Louisiana Southern Baptists: To spread God’s love to others across the state, nation and world. The Cooperative Program makes that possible, he said. Michael Stewart, LBC CP consultant, is to lead a listening session in mid-March at the Baptist Building on the Cooperative Program, with people from across the state.
Hankins and LBC Executive Administrative Assistant Wayne Sheppard were to travel to Haiti in early May with Jay Johnston, who leads in Louisiana’s participation in the rebuilding of earthquake-torn Haiti. Johnston is an associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington.
Committee reports followed:
Chairman Bob Adams spoke for the Administrative Committee. He has pastor of First Baptist Church of Bogalusa, and writer of the page one devotions in each issue of the Baptist Message.
The committee made two recommendations – the final financial report for the 2010 calendar year, which came in at 99.87 percent of budget, with receipts at 91 percent of budget; and the first-quarter 2011 report, which shows Cooperative Program receipts at 109.01 percent of budget. The Board passed these unanimously, as well as a proposed amendment to the LBC constitution – minor wording changes – which will need to be voted on by messengers at the annual meeting.
Chairman Tommy Middleton, pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, deferred the Properties Committee report to Dale Lingenfelter, LBC Business Director. Lingenfelter discussed renovations of the Baptist Building in Alexandria, which will be reported on in the May 26 issue of the Baptist Message.
Middleton then deferred to John Hebert, LBC Missions and Ministry Director, who explained the change-over of the Toledo Bend Resort Ministry and its property from LBC to the District Eight Baptist Convention.
This is to take place over five years, with a decrease in LBC funding of 25 percent a year of Toledo Bend’s budget, starting in 2013. A motion toward this end passed unanimously.
Vice-chairman Steve Folmar, pastor of First Baptist Church of Houma, spoke for the LBC Executive Board’s Business and Finance Committee.
A motion to limit liability or indebtedness of any LBC entity to $100,000 or 2 percent of annual budget “other than those that can be repaid from anticipated receipts for operating purposes and/or capital needs within a period of three years” passed unanimously.
This will entail an amendment to Section V of the LBC’s Business and Financial Plan, which requires approval of 2/3rds of voting messengers at the LBC’s annual meeting Nov. 14-15 at First Baptist Church of Covington.
Chairman Mike Hawkins, pastor of Heflin Baptist in Heflin, spoke for the Missions Support Committee. At least 15 potential new works have been identified across the state, according to the committee’s written report. These include Anglo, African American, Hispanic and Chinese.
Reports to the LBC Executive Board from LBC entities are to appear in the May 26 issue of the Baptist Message.