Louisiana Baptists targeted missions in a big way in 2007.
STATEWIDE – Louisiana Baptists targeted missions in a big way in 2007.
In rural villages, small towns, medium-sized cities and large metropolitan areas, and across the globe, Louisiana Baptists prayed, gave and went out to do God’s kingdom work last year.
The Dec. 27 issue of the Message recapped articles from the first six months of 2007. This issue will recap what was reported on about Louisiana churches from July through December.
All articles remain online at www.baptistmessage.com. Search by a main word in the headline or article. For example, to read about ministry to motorcyclists, search for the keyword “motorcycle.”
North Monroe Baptist members participated in a variety of local ministries as part of its “40 Days of Community” discipleship study. Two members at Kingsville Baptist in Pineville developed thewww.baptistbiz.com website as an online business directory. Castor churches participated in Christian Community Action Alert, an umbrella ministry that speaks out “against things that are an abomination to God, and to alert people to things they can do to take action on these issues,” according to the article that was part of a series on Bienville Baptist Association. About 800 World Changers – teens on construction missions – descended on Baton Rouge in late June to help rebuild homes and restore hope for community residents. Herb Dean led 1,382 people – mostly teens – to the Lord during the 28 years he was a chaplain for the sheriff’s department.
Ray of Hope ministers through providing food, clothing and furniture in West Monroe, and as a result, more than 800 people have made professions of faith in Jesus during the five years of the ministry’s existence, said its founder, Michael (wife Karen) Sammons. First Baptist Bastrop reached out to help with a church starting in New Brunswick, Canada. Acadian Baptist Center launched the Acadian Outdoor School to teach children the truth about God and His creation, said founding program directorGuy Atkinson. First Haughton students attended Student Leadership University courses at sites throughout the world.
For more than 18 years, Bill Collins has helped college students through Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Northwestern State University develop their potential for ministry and leadership by involving them in churches throughout the District Eight Baptist region. Myra Gulledge served BCM students for 37 years at Northwestern State University. At least 60 BCM students from across Louisiana served in summer missions – 32 in North America; 28 elsewhere across the globe – during the summer of 2007.
Calvary Alexandria’s goal for 2007 was for every member to focus on one non-member during the year. They called it 1.7.1 – one person giving seven days a week to one person. Southern Baptists across the nation have been part of helping build homes in the Baptist Crossroads project envisioned by First Baptist New Orleans in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. January 2008 update: 39 homes completed; 21 more in various stages of construction. 340 planned to be completed by 2011.
Cook Baptist Ruston’s pastor, Mike Holloway, kissed a goat when girls in VBS raised more money for missions than did boys. In that VBS, 45 youngsters made professions of faith in Jesus.
St. Tammany Parish officials asked Southern Baptist Tobey Pittman – former director of Brantley Baptist Center in New Orleans – to serve on the North Shore Emergency Operations Committee. First Baptist Dry Prong makes elaborate VBS sets, then shares them throughout the summer in Louisiana, Texas and even internationally.
Jinny Henson, Kathy Frady, Rebecca Hughes, Cheryl Ruth Turner, Pam Nunn and Michelle Self minister through laughter and spiritual insights.
Bill Bailey MD retired in 1999 to devote the rest of his life to short-term medical/evangelistic mission trips he coordinates when he’s not ministering in Bossier Parish jails. Randy Tompkins of Alexandria helps churches get healthier than ever.
Brian and Vicki Cockerham of Woodlawn Baptist Rayville serve God through 2Talk42 Puppet Ministries, which they take statewide and more.
About 40 people attend Sunday morning services at Amiable Baptist in Glenmora. Together they raised enough money to send a non-Christian bricklayer to Brazil to help build four churches as part of an annual Louisiana thrust to that South American nation. That bricklayer made a profession of faith, as did more than 3,000 Brazilians.
First Baptist Sulphur Pastor David Holder and staff developed a summer-long, DVD-enriched, missions curriculum for the congregation they’d be glad to share.
Bedico Baptist Ponchatoula wants to start West Tammany Baptist. They’re ready with money in the bank, and while they wait, they’re helping out their neighbors with home repairs.
Pisgah Baptist Bernice invites churches from across the state to hear internationally-known Christian Apologist Ergun Caner. Pastor Jerry Dark said he met Caner at the 2007 Evangelism Conference and invited him. “It was as simple as that,” Dark said. First Baptist Avondale’s pastor, Marc Daniels, lead the church to revitalization after he had a fresh encounter with God, the pastor wrote.
First Baptist Oak Grove led in an area-wide revival with Louisiana Evangelist Jack Daniels that netted more than 1,400 participants, and 170 of them made professions of faith. Teche Baptist Centerville developed a preschool learning center as a community outreach.
East Bayou Baptist Lafayette cited as “healthy church of the month” by the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health at NOBTS. Lauren Brown of First Baptist Minden had her hair shorn for Locks of Love during Blume, a national WMU-hosted event in Kansas City, Mo. Jesse and Susan Owen – he’s the former pastor at First Baptist Gueydan – led their Arkansas congregation to minister to and through Pecan Island Baptist, which was devastated by Hurricane Rita. Open Gate Western Heritage Church in Lake Charles started with Mark Stagg as pastor. Reginald “Reggie” Arnold ministers as a Baptist Collegiate Ministries director at Grambling State University. Les and Debi Comeaux transformed 80 acres into a west-central Louisiana retreat center “where people can walk with God undisturbed by city-type pressures,” according to an article by Tammy Sharp, prolific Message writer who now stays home to care for two sons.
Jackson Baptist Association, where Clovis Sturdivant is director of missions, traveled to South Dakota to minister in Sioux Falls and across the state at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Fellowship Baptist Jena was transformed into the town of Galilee during VBS 2007, and 18 professions of faith were recorded. Fellowship Jena focuses on missions projects rather than doing VBS crafts. The Georgia Barnette Offering for Louisiana Missions helped start Thompson Road Baptist, Slidell, where Randy Boyett is pastor. GBO also helps community ministries, such as Breadcrumb Baptist Center in Jonesville, which started as a literacy center and has grown from there. Trinity Baptist Lake Charles recorded 250 professions of faith and 119 other decisions during a week of revival meetings with Ronnie Hill of Fort Worth, Texas, preaching, and Ray Jones of San Antonio, Texas, as music evangelist.
Will Graham headlined the community-wide, second-annual, Katrina remembrance praise celebration, which took place at First Baptist New Orleans. Artists James and Amy Welch started the Convergence Center for the Arts, and Sojourn Ministry, in New Orleans’ arts district. Members from churches in Gulf Shores Baptist Association ministered last summer in Anchorage, Alaska. Bobby Hodnett, pastor of Little Pass Baptist in Charenton, has ministered for 40 years in St. Mary’s Parish.
Retiring Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton, a Southern Baptist, says over the 35 years of his career he has used his faith to help guide him in running his department and handling people. Fourteen years ago he started a boot camp for teen offenders. Milldale Baptist Church and Conference Center hosts over Labor Day weekend and in February what might be the only camp meeting in the Southern Baptist Convention. Great preaching; great music; great time. You’re missing out if you don’t participate in at least one, but go “prayed up” for best effect.
Katrina unified rural churches in LaTangi Baptist Association, reported Director of Missions Lonnie Wascom. He particularly lauded the work of the WMUs of the three North Shore associations he leads: LaTangi, St. Tammany and Chappapeela.
Arnold Nelson, Henry King and other “Senior Seniors” blazed a path for sharing the gospel in Louisiana, as recounted in a three-part series that started Sept. 20, 2007.
Poydras Baptist, where John Galey is pastor, returned to its pre-Katrina church building Aug. 11, thanks to the Cooperative Program and Southern Baptists nationwide. Jena churches stood strong and ministered one-on-one during a media storm in late September that focused on national activists’ perception that racial barriers existed in the small central-Louisiana town.
Washington Baptist Association churches work together each October during the Washington Parish Free Fair, ministering at the site of the state’s first Baptist church: Half Moon Bluff Baptist, which constituted in 1812. First Baptist Calhoun participated last September in Louisiana Baptists’ first official Acts 1:8 Renewal Weekend. Ivan Harless, a Mission Service Corps volunteer, is the Louisiana Baptist Convention Renewal Weekend consultant. Kingsville Baptist in Pineville hosts a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and FunZone as a community outreach. Stan Wyant, pastor of Lismore Baptist in Jonesville, developed an outdoors ministry to involve men and families who are not going to church. First Baptist Pollack, where Nicholas Taylor is pastor, hosted an Outdoor Expo in mid-October as a community outreach. First Baptist Chalmette receives a $50,000 matching grant to help with construction materials for its new workship center. The previous building was razed by Hurricane Katrina.
Delta Storefront Ministries in Ferriday give “gap” groceries to 500 families each month who run out of money before they run out of month. Preston and Ruby Holder – he’s pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist – direct the ministry. Delta Storefront is one of perhaps 35 community ministries Louisiana Baptists are involved in along the poverty-stricken delta region that flanks each side of the undulating Mississippi River from Arkansas to the Gulf of Mexico.
Kevin Roberts, associate pastor at Philadelphia Baptist Deville, spearheaded the group that organized three major events and several smaller ones as part of the evangelistic thrust called CrossOver in Pineville/Alexandria just before the LBC annual meeting in early November. The WMU of Mooringsport Baptist decorated hats to raise money for missions. The hats had to feature money as a decorating element. The $450 raised was given for water filters for people in third-world countries. First Baptist West Monroe baptized 49 people in the Ouachita River in late summer, and a total of 198 during the 2006-07 church year that ended Aug. 31. John Avant is pastor. About 370 churches participated in the annual food drive for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. Across Louisiana, more than half of the state’s Southern Baptist churches are pastored by men who also work a secular job. Several were featured in the Oct. 25, 2007, issue. Many more will be featured throughout 2008, Editor Kelly Boggs said.
Nearly 40 people participated in an evangelistic mission trip to South Korea in late October, and by the end of it, more than 1,200 people had made professions of faith. It was the 40th anniversary of a partnership between Louisiana and South Korea, the first-ever partnership of a state convention and a national convention, according to documents held by the International Mission Board. David Cranford, pastor of Tioga First Baptist, was incoming coordinator. Charles Lowery, who was in on the beginning, was outgoing coordinator. A noon luncheon Bible study hosted by the BCM at McNeese State University in Lake Charles grew from 140 in 2006 to 190 in 2007, and that’s just one evidence of God’s activity among the college students, reported BCM Director Keith Cating.
WMU members from across Louisiana and Arkansas prayer-walked through selected neighborhoods in New Orleans Oct. 27. The BCM Center at LSU-Baton Rouge remained under construction during 2007, with Steve Hayes and Jim Wyble of Louisiana Baptist Builders as construction coordinators. Despite the dust, BCM Director Steve Masters led a thriving program that included mission trips, ministry opportunities, Bible studies and leadership development.
Bivocational Pastor Hardy Estes of Marlow Baptist in Leesville walloped his listeners at the LBC annual meeting with a hard-hitting sermon on the tempting wiles of the devil. The captivating message was peppered with references to the outdoors, and to serving as a soldier in God’s army. “Hardship’s not easy, and ‘must’ says it’s coming,” Estes preached from 2 Timothy1-4. Call 1.866.430.8273 to get a CD of Estes’ sermon or that of any speaker at the 2007 LBC annual meeting.
Cheniere Baptist celebrated its 75th anniversary and dedication of its new multipurpose worship center sometime during the fall. In October, Fillmore Baptist in Princeton hosted a block party that drew more than 300 people from the community. Activities included games, special music, puppets and witnessing led by Carl Carrington, a vocational evangelist and member of the church.
Louisiana Disaster Relief teams were called out to assist in Choudrant after a train derailment. Area churches provided shelters; Rolling Hills Ministries manned the kitchen. A children’s book, “Growing Up in Charis” recently was published by Bob Adams, pastor of First Baptist Bogalusa. Originally written for Adams’ four grandchildren, the book was picked up by Publish America book publishers.
First Baptist New Orleans responded to the city’s homeless crisis by working with the New Orleans Rescue Mission to erect a temporary shelter that should be able to house 150 men a night through the winter months and into April. Jonathan Forester MD and five others from Louisiana went to Zimbabwe on a medical missions trip that took place the week the Zimbabwe inflation rate skyrocketed, but despite all, several people placed their faith and trust in Jesus. Churches across the state produced Christmas events designed to connect with their communities, such as various versions of the Christmas story at First Baptist St. Francisville, CrossPoint Baton Rouge, First Baptist Zachary, Temple Baptist Ruston and Broadmoor Shreveport, among others.