By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
DENHAM SPRINGS – Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association has named one of its own to serve as the next director of missions.
Richard Blue, the pastor of Walker Baptist Church for the last 20 years, began serving in his new role October 1. While this is his first time to serve as a director of missions, Blue believes his experience at churches and in associational life has prepared him for this next chapter in ministry.
“I never would have seen myself in this position 20 years ago,” Blue said. “I am humbled and see this as a tremendous amount of responsibility. The only way to get things done is through Christ who strengthens me. With the Lord’s help and the cooperation of the people, we will be able to get things done to reach people in a changing climate of churches and culture for the next 25 years.”
PASSION FOR MINISTRY
Blue repented for salvation at age 12 after understanding his need for Christ at a Vacation Bible School held by Levy Street Baptist Mission in Shreveport. Four years later, Blue accepted the call to vocational ministry after several weeks of leading a home-based small group Bible study sponsored by Levy Street Baptist Mission.
During the years that followed, Blue served as associate pastor at Mid-City Baptist Church in Shreveport and as children’s director at West Side Baptist Church in Shreveport. He also served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Castor, First Baptist Church in Urania, First Baptist Church in Ringgold, Calvary Baptist Church in Ruston and Walker Baptist.
Blue remained active in associational life, and was moderator and vice moderator of several associations. He also was a member of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board and other statewide committees.
“These positions on the associational level gave me the skillset and knowledge to do the work I am at now,” Blue said. “In the last 10 years, I have been invited by several associations to submit my name as director of missions. I didn’t run looking for this; this came running for me.”
A watershed moment took place when Blue attended a training session in January for potential directors of missions. While there, Blue was challenged to examine if he was called to this new role.
“I was still a pastor because I was called to be a pastor, but at the same time I asked ‘what is it Lord you want me to do’,” he said. “Associational and denominational life has been a blessing to me and I’m at a point where I need to give back to the younger generation through mentoring or teaching. I felt the Lord had something else for me to do. I have a good 10 years left in me to do something for the Lord and I’m at a place where passing on the torch is important.”
A top priority for Blue will be developing a plan to best relate to the association’s 44 churches that are diverse in their worship style and approach to ministry.
“The work of the association is changing because our churches are changing,” Blue said. “We have to change our approach in how we do that.
“Churches are changing in the style and the way they do church,” he continued. “One size doesn’t fit all. And while the style changes, God and scripture doesn’t. I’m going to work with pastors to cast a unified vision going forward. I am here to serve as the pastors’ pastor.
“The vision is to strengthen the churches and retool the association to meet the needs of the future,” he said. “The association is changing as the churches do. We are going to have to be flexible to do new things we have never done before.”