By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Louisiana Baptists are encouraged to pray and pledge for the future of Louisiana College for one day next month.
Scheduled for Feb. 23, Pray and Pledge Day will focus on giving to refurbish dormitories, administrative buildings and other areas of the state’s only Louisiana Baptist college. The special day is part of a larger effort to meet a goal of $50 million for improvements on campus.
Of that $50 million goal, $12 million is dedication to student housing, which includes needs such as roofing, new HVAC units, new windows and new lighting that would make the dormitories more energy efficient. One of the dormitories, Cottingham Hall, has not received an upgrade in 70 years.
Dr. Rod Masteller, director of the Joseph Willis Institute for Great Spiritual Awakenings at Louisiana College, said too often prospective students will tour the campus and notice facilities in need of repair. As a result, many of those students will choose one of the state schools over Louisiana College, Masteller said.
“For the kingdom’s sake and our state convention’s sake, we have to redo these dorms,” Masteller said.
Masteller said he hopes Pray and Pledge Day will bring greater awareness to the school’s mission of academic excellence for God’s glory and how it is changing the world for Christ.
“If every church would somehow do something, we can reach our goal,” Masteller said. “This is critical for our nation because very few colleges in our nation are standing strong on the inerrancy of the word of God. We are convinced a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of our students is the only hope we have for transforming our culture.”
During the 2012 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in West Monroe, messengers granted Louisiana College officials permission to approach churches for financial assistance regarding the campaign, which ends in four years. To date, nearly $1.25 million has been received and $10 million pledged toward Louisiana College’s capital campaign.
Of the 1,500 students who attend Louisiana College, 700 live on campus. Among those is Coy Raiford, a resident assistant in one of the on-campus dormitories.
Raiford, who is a senior Christian studies major from DeRidder, said adequate facilities can heavily influence a student’s decision whether to attend LC. He added that one of the greatest complaints he hears from students and parents are concerns over on-campus facilities.
He believes that up-to-date and refurbished facilities are vital to maintaining the mission of LC.
“What an opportunity we are missing out on as a university when a student chooses another university, most likely secular, because of something as small, yet big, as our facilities,” he said. “Our facilities are not our end, but a means to our end, the exaltation of Christ Jesus.
“May our emphasis prayerfully be on our end as we trek the path of this campaign together as Louisiana Baptists,” he continued. “May we prayerfully give joyfully and sacrificially as the Macedonians did in 2 Corinthians 8, not for the better of our facilities, but for the better of the Kingdom in which we are heirs to, bringing glory to our Lord.”
Parker Pearson, a senior Christian studies major from Port Allen, said Louisiana College has provided an opportunity for tremendous personal, academic and spiritual growth, as well as a way to bond with many fellow classmates during his time at his residence hall. Pearson said that many of those on his residence hall that he met as a freshman are now life-long friends in what he calls a community.
He said refurbishing the dorms is important so other students can have the same dormitory life that he has had during this time at LC.
“My life has been impacted so strongly through living in the dorms, and I know that the lives of countless others have as well,” Pearson said. “That is why the Capital Campaign is so important. “Ultimately, it is not about the dorms,” he continued. “It’s not about the money. It is about the ability to influence the students that will come and live in them. To help them become stronger believers, build community, and then have them do the same when they graduate, just like they have done for me the past three and a half years.”
While materials such as brochures, posters, letters and an overview of the campaign for use with Pray and Pledge Day were expected to reach churches by Jan. 6, additional materials are available. They may be accessed at lacollege.edu.