By Karen L Willoughby, Managing Editor
ALEXANDRIA – Throughout each year, the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s staff of 60 employees in-building serve the LBC’s 1,611 churches.
The reports of their activities are part of the LBC’s 2012 Book of Reports, available upon request from the office of Executive Director David Hankins.
“We are accountable to our churches and we want them to know about the impact of our cooperative missions and ministries across Louisiana,” Hankins said
Following is a synopsis of the activity in each of seven resource teams.
The work of the Executive Board, led by current President Rick Byargeon, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Ruston and Vice-President Bob Heustess, pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell, is channeled into four committees: administrative, business and finance, properties and missions support.
The Administrative Committee reviews and approves all policies and procedures, to make sure they comply with the LBC’s constitution and bylaws.
The Business and Finance Committee recommends long- and short-range goals for the LBC, plans and recommends the Convention’s budget, reviews and appraises the audits, financial policies and practices of Convention agencies and institutions.
The Missions Support committee reviews and approves funds for mission budget supplements, church loans and special requests from missions.
The Properties Committee is responsible for properties owned or leased by the state convention.
The Executive Team also includes Wayne Sheppard as executive assistant to the executive director. In addition to being the liaison between the LBC and the associational directors of missions across the state, Sheppard facilitates Acts 1:8 mission partnerships, with people group networks driving the key strategy. Churches across the state work together in global advancement across the United States as well as in Haiti, Peru, Wales and several other nations.
The Executive Team conducts the annual Associational Leadership Planning Conference, where leaders are updated on all LBC and SBC programs and processes.
Business & Information Services Team
LBC Business Manager Dale Lingenfelter leads this team, which provides expertise in the areas of financial accounting, information technology, facilities maintenance, office services and human resources.
“Our goal is to enhance and support the work of all LBC teams so they accomplish the missions and ministry goals of the Convention,” Lingenfelter said.
Among tasks done by this team this year, Baptist Building renovations were completed; 92.2 percent of every church completed and sent in their Annual Church Profile, and 20 associations had 100 percent participation; Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center began construction on a new maintenance shop, and the old one was renovated into housing for campers.
Collegiate Ministry Team
For this generation of college students in Louisiana, it’s not just summer missions, reported Mark Robinson, Collegiate Team director. This last school year, 20 students were sent over Christmas break to an interior East Asia province and as a result, seven nationals have made professions of faith in Jesus and are now in Bible study.
This summer, for the fourth year in a row, two teams of six students each worked in Vacation Bible Schools with smaller churches across the state, These Go Louisiana, or GoLA teams have seen dozens of children accept Christ.
Over the 2011-12 school year, 584 of Louisiana’s 35,000 college students made professions of faith in Jesus Christ as a result of their connection with a local Baptist Collegiate Ministries group, Robinson said.
Since coming on board in February, John Kyle, Director Communications, has led the team to embrace two strategies:
Internal communications, which serve the promotional and communications needs of all LBC teams as well as increasing the effectiveness of communication between the LBC and its affiliate churches.
The external communications strategy, tentatively dubbed Operation Highways and Hedges, has three primary goals: to impact and influence those in Louisiana who do not have a relationship with Christ; to embolden the witness of believers and create opportunities to share their faith; and to drive people to local churches.
Evangelism/Church Growth Team
“We assist local churches as catalysts, consultants and conduits in all areas of evangelism, Sunday School, Discipleship and age-graded ministries,” reported Wayne Jenkins, team director.
About 2,500 people participated in the 2012 evangelism conference; the 2013, which features a food drive to serve area food pantries, is scheduled for Jan. 28-29 at First Baptist Church of Lafayette.
Nearly 7,000 junior and senior high school students and their leaders participated in the 2011 Youth Evangelism Celebration at the Alexandria Coliseum. More than 700 young people participated in the LBC-sponsored Clear Youth Camp at Tall Timbers last July.
Children’s events, training for workers, and ministry to senior adults and single adults are also resourced by the Evangelism and Church Growth team.
Missions and Ministry Team
This team – led by John Hebert – includes church planting, ministry evangelism, Mission Builders, Men’s Ministry, Disaster Relief, and Women’s Missions and Ministry, which leads in promotion for seasonal offerings.
In 2011, the LBC received $1,721,125.88 toward its $1.8 million goal for the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering; $4,425,888.05 toward its $5 million goal for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; and $2,248,426.94 toward its $2.2 million goal for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
The LBC’s Disaster Relief ministry trained 300 new volunteers this year and added four new units. The LBC’s first Child Care Unit is under development and is one of only 24 across the nation’s 42 state/regional Baptist conventions.
Mission Builders gave volunteer labor at 11 churches in 2011, with three teams of self-funded Mission Service Corps project coordinators who “supervised hundreds of volunteer builders who put in thousands of man-hours on various projects,” Hebert said.
Pastoral Leadership Team
“The vision for the Pastoral Leadership Team is to ensure that there is no church without a leader, no leader without training, and no pastor or staff member without a friend,” reported Bill Robertson, team director.
Among helps provided within this team are crisis management, conflict coaching, financial assistance, and much more. Eddie DeHondt in northern Louisiana and Gary Mitchell in southern Louisiana are tasked with ministering specifically to the 1,243 churches within the LBC that are considered smaller churches that typically have a bi-vocational pastor.
“Eddie and Gary work closely with the Directors of Missions and the staff at LBC to assist and affirm these Iron Men in Louisiana,” Robertson said
Music and Worship are two more facets of this team’s ministry. Nearly 600 students from 100 churches participated in keyboard festivals; 101 children and 35 sponsors, from 19 churches, participated in the Children’s Honor Choir; 93 teens from 35 churches participated in the All State Youth Choir that toured Oklahoma City, Okla., Albuquerque, N.M., and Santa Fe, N.M. and performed at least three concerts each day.
“Each of these team leaders, their strategists and staffs make themselves readily available to our 1,600-plus churches,” Executive Director David Hankins said. “It is an honor for me to work beside them as we coordinate the cooperative missions and ministries of Louisiana Baptists.”
Contact Hankins’ administrative assistant at Jeannie.Maxwell@LBC.org to receive a copy of the LBC’s 2012 Book of Reports.