Somehow, Dr. Mike Holloway finds time to pastor Cook Baptist Church in addition to all the hours he gives to all Louisiana Baptists as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
RUSTON – Somehow, Dr. Mike Holloway finds time to pastor Cook Baptist Church in addition to all the hours he gives to all Louisiana Baptists as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
Elected last November to the first term of what at a maximum could be two, 2-year terms, Holloway spends hours each week in a variety of committee and trustee meetings for the LBC and its entities – Children’s Home, College, Foundation and the Louisiana Baptist Message – as well as the SBC entities – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, International and North American Mission Boards, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and LifeWay Christian Resources.
“It was months before I realized I didn’t have to attend all the meetings,” Holloway said with a grin. “When I have a conflict, I send one of the other officers, but I try to make as many as I can.”
Holloway said he also tries to be – and is, most weeks – in his pulpit every Sunday morning. His congregation seems to understand.
“I think it [Holloway’s service as LBC president] only strengthens everything he does here,” said Debbie Gay, who added that she grew up in the church. “He hasn’t neglected anything. It’s made him stronger and us grow stronger.”
Norene Rabb, a member since 1984, said she agreed with Gay.
“I don’t see it as a problem,” she said. “I’m proud of him for doing it. He’s gone a few times, but that’s okay.”
Three other fulltime vocational ministers serve Cook Baptist with Holloway. Dave St. Andre leads in the music and senior adults ministries; Stephen Nutt leads with college/young adults and the church’s education programs; Joe Ashley leads with youth and the www.cookbc.com website.
With Holloway as president, missions receives a lot of attention statewide, and that’s good, said Rhea DeOliviera, a member since 1989.
“It’s given him more of a floor to explain missions,” DeOliviera said. “It [Holloway being president] does a lot for connecting us with other churches, and that’s good, too.”
Churches cooperating together is one of the main things Holloway said he hopes to accomplish during his presidency.
“Churches are so hesitant to work together,” Holloway said during Sunday dinner that followed a sermon at his home church on parenting. “I want to see more cooperation among churches.”
Churches that work together are individually and collectively stronger, and are able to do more for the Kingdom of God than any one church could do on its own, the president added.
Also on Holloway’s priority list: promoting missions; widening Louisiana College’s donor base; and reigniting a passion for Jesus Christ.
“If a church gets involved in missions, it strengthens the whole church, because if they go represent Jesus around the world, they will better represent Him here at home,” Holloway said. “God strengthens the people who do His work.”
Holloway is vice president of Open Door Missions, an alliance of Southern Baptists founded in 2002, which ministers primarily in Shiprock, N.M., Ukraine, in Eastern Europe, and Guinea, West Africa. He leads Cook Baptist to minister locally and regionally as well as globally. Events such as the recent Harvest Festival are outreaches to the community. Youngsters this summer raised money for mosquito nets for a missionary in Africa to use as an outreach.
Regionally, New Orleans is a regular destination for Cook Baptist mission teams. The church has gone there numerous times since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The need is still great,” Holloway said. “Several churches still need assistance. Some members still need assistance. I was hoping each association would adopt one project, and passed that on to the directors of mission.
“Most churches are barely hanging on,” Holloway said. “There could be two from one church [outside the New Orleans area] and three from another, going down to work on different projects. They’re not making nearly as much progress on either one as they would be if they were joined by several more from other churches in the association. We can do more when we work together.”
That “working together” is just one reason he’s a strong advocate of the SBC’s Cooperative Program, the LBC president said.
“I think most Baptists don’t know how much their money is doing,” Holloway said. “Through the International Mission Board, Southern Baptists support 5,300 or more missionaries who are engaging more than 1,100 different people groups around the world. New churches – more than 1,455 in 2007 – were planted through the efforts of more than 5,271 North American Missionaries, whose efforts are coordinated through the North American Mission Board and individual state conventions.
“Working together, Southern Baptists saw nearly 1 million new believers baptized around the world in 2007,” Holloway continued. “And, our six Southern Baptist seminaries educate in excess of 16,000 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year. It’s not been a surprise, but with the different meetings I’ve attended this year as president, I’ve been encouraged to see how many things we’re involved in. [Note to Mike: Figures doublechecked with CP office of SBC Exec Committee.]
“The Cooperative Program is just as effective right here in Louisiana,” the LBC president said. “It helps undergird everything we do, from the Children’s Home to the resort ministries, from Baptist Collegiate Ministries statewide to Louisiana College itself, from outreach ministries to starting churches and so much more, your Cooperative Program dollars are at work – working effectively – right here at home.”
The state’s only Baptist college went through some turbulent times during a period of administration transition in the early years of the decade, Holloway said. That disrupted the flow of regular donations by long-time supporters to the college.
Because of that, because of advances Louisiana College has made in the last three years – adding a master’s level teacher education program, allied health programs, school of law – and because of a need for renovation or replacement of aging dormitories, there is a need for more Louisiana Baptists to become regular donors of LC, the LBC president said.
“I have a burden to see all Louisiana Baptists embrace and work with our state Baptist college,” Holloway said. “There’s such a wonderful spirit going on there right now.”
The students and the faculty are enthusiastic about Louisiana College because at the same time students are getting a strong, solid academic education, they’re growing in their faith and learning how to approach life with the strength of a Christian worldview, Holloway explained.
“Louisiana College students of today are Louisiana’s – and the nation’s, and the world’s – leaders of tomorrow,” Holloway said. “They’re going to be making a difference, a positive difference, because of the education they’re receiving today at our state Baptist college.”
Holloway’s strongest words were about Louisiana’s Southern Baptist churches.
“Many of our churches may cease to exist within the next decade,” Holloway said. “We live in a day and time when people will not waste their time going to a church that’s just going through the motions and that has lost its passion for Christ and His work. … We need to be unified in spirit, unified in vision, unified in prayer.”
Louisiana’s Southern Baptists need to do three things, the LBC president said. They need to repent of their sins of complacency and apathy, devote concerted time in prayer, and study the Bible for a fresh word from God.
“We don’t live in the ‘urgent’ anymore,” Holloway said. “The principles of sacrifice and brokenness are almost unheard of anymore. We’re too proud to do this. … Unless we get back to a passion for Christ, we’ll find ourselves – our churches – less and less effective, less and less able to draw people closer to God and His love.”
Holloway is to preside over the 2008 annual meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, set for Nov. 10-11 at First Baptist Church of New Orleans.