ALEXANDRIA (LBM) –Twenty-two retired Louisiana Baptist directors of missions, along with former Louisiana Baptist Convention missions and ministries staff and other guests, gathered at the Alexandria state missions center, May 15, for a first-ever reunion.
Don Mabry, who retired as Louisiana Baptist Convention state missions and ministries director in 1999, said the meeting allowed the directors of missions to reminisce about the highlights and challenges they faced.
“We enjoyed each other’s company and had a good fellowship time of remembering some of the wonderful things that went on with Louisiana Baptists,” Mabry told the Baptist Message. “On this day, we rejoiced together about what the Lord has done with a lot of our folks.
Through the years there have been some very wonderful people serving the Lord in Louisiana. When some of them called and asked if we could have a reunion, I told them sure and I think everyone had a great time.”
Addressing the directors of missions, LBC Executive Director David Hankins commended them for still caring for pastors and churches in the state.
“Some of the best help that’s being done in our churches around Louisiana is by you guys who still have the passion for the Lord in your heart, your mind is still there and your willingness is certainly there,” he said. “And you’re being useful as interim pastors, full time pastors, supply pastors and doing the work in the churches.”
Wallace Primeaux testified how God has blessed him since his retirement in 1994 as director of missions of Evangeline Baptist Association, where he served for 21 years. Since his retirement, Primeaux has faithfully served as pastor of Esther Baptist Church in Kaplan, which averages 25-30 for Sunday morning worship services.
“God’s been good, and I know all of you have been busy in what the Lord wants you to do,” Primeaux shared during his time of reflection. “Louisiana Baptists treated me royally and I am grateful.”
Lee Dickson shared about the value of godly mentors who shared wisdom with him during his journey as director of missions for the District 8 Baptist Convention, which he served from 1978-2015. He also shared how his mentor, Arnold Nelson, encouraged him at each stop along the way when he served as pastor of various churches. Nelson was the District 8 Baptist Convention DOM before Dickson assumed the role.
“Everywhere I went, Arnold Nelson was there,” he said. “To me, that says what we are all about as directors of missions. People have since told me those kind of things (he said to me), and I know they have to you as well.
“I’m where I am,” he said to Nelson, “because you recommended me or you put in a good word for me. And I’m thankful for that.”
Like many of his fellow directors of missions, Dickson worked with several former LBC executive directors, and he said the encouragement and lessons in ministry received from Bob Lee and Mark Short are among his most cherished memories.
“You remember when Bob Lee put his arm around you and you felt like a million dollars when he removed it,” Dickson recalled. “You knew you could do what God wanted you to do.”
Dickson said he learned valuable time management skills from Short.
“Do it, delegate it or ditch it – that was his whole philosophy in life,” he said. “Either do it yourself, or delegate it to somebody else to do it, or just ditch it, it’s not worth messing with.”
Alan Knuckles reminded the directors of missions that while they no longer serve in that capacity, they still have an influence with pastors in their area. Referencing a conversation he had with a pastor who sought his advice on a problem, Knuckles was able to offer him encouragement and words of wisdom.
“In all those long drives and all those long miles, that’s what it’s about,” said Knuckles, DOM of Acadia, Louisiana and Mt. Olive associations from 2010-2017. “Those young pastors need us.
“That’s to me where DOM work is,” he continued. “That’s the joy for me, to know and to see these guys still loving, still caring, still needing, and they need you too. I just want to challenge you in your retirement don’t forget those young pastors. That’s where the real joy of ministry comes in.”