By Message Staff
RUSTON – Louisiana Baptists came together with their Hispanic brothers and sisters to celebrate their unity in Christ during the opening session of the Pastors Conference, Nov. 11 at Cook Baptist Church in Ruston.
In step with the conference theme “Whole: Equipping the church to love the whole church,” the session featured music led by Fellowship Church in Prairieville and Istrouma Espanol in Baton Rouge, and a message shared by Louisiana Baptist Church Planting Strategist Carlos Schmidt.
“Since we are all in Christ, all ethnic, social, economic and gender barriers have crumbled,” Schmidt said during his message. “He does away with it. Christ is all in all. We can truly say we are one family in Christ.
“Therefore, in our relationships with one another, they should be saturated with kindness, mercy, humility and forgiveness,” he continued. “There is no place for un-forgiveness in the Christian life. As you have been forgiven by Christ, therefore you should also forgive one another.
“All of us might be different but the scripture says there is none good enough, there is none righteous,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are white or Hispanic in God’s eyes, we are all sinners and Christ paid the penalty for that sin.”
“People enjoyed the unity and seeing diversity in music, prayers and the message,” said Kirk Jones, pastor of Prairieville Church. “This night served as an encouragement for our people to see what God is doing in the convention.”
Alfonso Morales, a member of Broadmoor Hispanic Mission in Shreveport, said the evening allowed him to meet a diverse segment of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
“The night was about unity between the Americans and Spanish which I thought was reflective that God is equal for all people,” he noted.
Guillermo Mangieri, pastor of Spanish of Istrouma Espanol in Baton Rouge, enjoyed worshipping in both English and Spanish.
“Tonight we were reminded we are one church who is about Jesus,” he said. “Singing together was an experience that all of us in this room will remember for a long time. Carlos Schmidt got it right when he said we need to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.”
The conference continues at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 12.
Those scheduled to preach are John Meador, lead pastor of the First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, Jeff Wallace, executive director of Lift Tour and Youth Pastor Summit in Orlando, Florida, Bill Dye, lead pastor of North Monroe Baptist Church in Monroe, and Jon Bennett, senior pastor of Belfair Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.
The conference will feature breakout sessions on such topics as leading worship services that unite, developing diversity in leadership and loving those with mental health issues.
Spouses will have the opportunity to attend a Ministers’ Wives lunch at noon featuring Amanda Taylor Walker, author of “Discovering God’s Design: A Journey to Restore Biblical Womanhood.” Walker’s husband, Chris, is university and missions pastor at Cook Baptist. Each participant will receive a complimentary copy of her book.