As the new Louisiana Baptist Convention executive director, David Hankins outlined an unquestionably focused and defined goal for the state denomination last week – to light a gospel fire in participating churches all throughout the state.
As the new Louisiana Baptist Convention executive
director, David Hankins outlined an unquestionably focused and defined
goal for the state denomination lasy week – to light a gospel fire in
participating churches all throughout the state.
“Our vision is to ignite a passion for Jesus among
Louisiana Baptists that will result in dynamic, growing congregations
who covenant together to extend the kingdom of God to the ends of the
earth,” noted Hankins, who became executive director of the state
convention earlier this year.
Hankins outlined the core values, mission statement
and vision that will direct his tenure as state leader during last
week’s LBC Executive Board meeting.
His report was a key feature of the session, which also included action on several issues.
In the report, Hankins told board members that he
had been following the biblical leadership model of Nehemiah, who acted
as an administrator to sense God’s vision and enable it. Like Nehemiah,
Hankins said he had been spending time “looking around, getting the lay
of the land.”
The next step is rebuilding, he noted. “It’s coming, …” he said. “We’ve got some rebuilding to do.”
Hankins told board members he had met with pastors
throughout the state and is impressed with their sense of calling,
their commitment and their creativity.
He acknowledged there is some unhappiness about
certain matters related to the convention, as well as a level of
disconnectedness. But there also is a hunger for a new day and
fresh vision, he said.
Hankins also said he had met with directors of
missions across the state. He commended them for their work and pledged
to maintain a “safety net” during the current transition period they
The safety net pledge is important because full
administrative and financial responsibility for directors of missions
passed from the state convention to local associations at the start of
2005. However, the state convention has continued to offer financial
assistance to some associations as they assume full responsibility.
Hankins also said a review of various convention agencies has found them to be in “splendid shape.”
He then turned his attention to a presentation of his vision for the state.
Hankins cited several core values that will guide
the convention’s work. He characterized them as “the fundamental
principles by which we operate. …
“It’s who we are, … and then, we build our work on that,” Hankins said.
“And we will not do any work that is not based on our core values.”
He cited six values:
• Christ-centered. “That’s our focus – nobody else,
…” Hankins said. “I want to keep reminding us that this is about
Jesus. … Everything points to him.”
• Word-based. “We look to the Bible for our
decisionmaking and not to the spirit of the age, …” Hankins said.
“The Scripture is going to drive us.”
• Spirit-empowered. Hankins said Louisiana Baptists
must pray for God to go with them in their efforts. “It’s not about
human ingenuity, …” he said. “It’s about the power of the Spirit of
• Kingdom-minded. “It’s not about us, …” Hankins
reminded persons. “We want to work for the kingdom of God.”
• Church-focused. The Louisiana Baptist Convention
is not a parachurch group with a narrowly-defined purpose, Hankins
noted. It also is not the church. Instead, the convention exists to
create strategies that help local churches function as called by God,
• Pastor-led. “We’re going to be pastor-led,”
Hankins said of the denomination’s work. “It is our ecclesiology.”
Hankins then offered a mission statement for the convention’s work.
“The LBC exists to serve the Baptist church in
Louisiana as a catalyst for igniting a passion for Jesus and his
kingdom, a consultant for strengthening the congregations and a conduit
for accomplishing cooperative missions.”
Each aspect of the mission is important, Hankins
said. He then outlined changes underway to structure the state
convention in a way to enable it to fulfill its mission.
These include plans for a communications team (or
division), hopefully to be in place by the start of July. It will
combine various aspects of current convention structure – such as
public relations – while also focusing on new avenues of telling the
“We’re going to communicate,” Hankins noted of the
addition to the state convention structure. “We’re going to tell our
story. We don’t have a choice. This is something we have to do.”
Hankins also noted that an evangelism and church
growth team and a pastoral leadership team are being formed within the
The former combines the current evangelism office
and offices of the church development division, except for the music
and worship office. The new team will be headed by Wayne Jenkins,
currently evangelism director for the state convention.
The pastoral leadership team combines the current
church-minister relations office, the music and worship office,
bivocational ministries and the prayer office. It will be headed by
Alan Miller, currently serving as church-minister relations director.
Miller unanimously was approved for the post by board members last week.
In addition, changes are underway in the state
missions and ministries division, which will include the use of
regional church planters across the state, Hankins said. In addition,
current African-American Director James Jenkins will be moved from the
church development division to the missions and ministries team, where
he will serve as African-American specialist and a regional church
Also, current Church Development Director Beau Colle
now will serve as a special assistant to the executive director,
Hankins announced. Part of his duties will be to build relationships
with associational directors of missions.
Hankins emphasized more changes will come as work
continues on structuring the state convention to fulfill its mission.
He then presented the convention vision statement to “ignite a passion” for Christ among Louisiana Baptists.
“May God let it be so,” the state leader said in conclusion.