The rural Fairview Baptist Church is a church with an outsize heart for missions.
COUSHATTA – The rural Fairview Baptist Church is a church with an outsize heart for missions.
Matt (wife Jana) Endris is pastor. Richard (wife Pam) Waters is chairman of the missions committee.
“The Lord has blessed our church,” Endris said. “I began praying, about how God would have us use the resources He has blessed us with. He impressed on me that we need to be a conduit of these blessings. We want to be Acts 1:8 in the way we contribute our money and the way we involve our church in mission work.”
Acts 1:8 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible reads: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
About 180 people attend Sunday morning worship at Fairview Coushatta, which is about an hour from Shreveport and 20 minutes from Natchitoches.
“People come here from four parishes,” Endris said. “It’s a regional church.”
It’s a giving church. Twelve percent of its offerings go to missions through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ method of supporting missions and ministries of state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. Six percent is given to the missions needs of District 8, an association of five associations that years ago joined for strength, fellowship and shared purpose.
Last year, 40 percent of Fairview Coushatta’s undesignated offerings were budgeted to mission causes, and 53 percent of the church’s total expenditure was directed toward missions work. Those percentages are holding true this year as well, Endris said.
Fairview’s local (Jerusalem) thrust includes several endeavors, such as a food pantry and health fair.
It’s Judea thrust is through the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Clara Springs Baptist Encampment, and Toledo Bend Resort Ministry.
For its Samaria, it plans to take a vision tour of St. Tammany Parish on the Northshore of Lake Ponchartrain in August, to see what God might have them get involved with there.
And for its “uttermost parts of the earth,” Fairview Coushatta has chosen Brazil.
“Brazil helped us bring into focus what we’re doing as a church,” Endris said. “This trip spurred us on, to reach into every areas of the Acts 1:8 mandate.”
A dozen people from the church plan to be part of the 150 or more people from or connected to Louisiana who will join together for missions and ministries on the 25th annual Brazil Mission Trip July 10-23 hosted by Wayne Jenkins, LBC’s Director of Evangelism and Church Growth, in conjunction with IMB missionaries and national pastors.
Each year the short-term missionaries break once they get to Brazil into manageable-sized groups assigned to different missions needs, including VBS, medical missions, construction, street, school and prison ministry, and more.
Sending a dozen people, sewing dolls and buying medicines wasn’t enough for Fairview Coushatta, so they paid for the construction of one of three $10,000 church buildings, and they paid for a professional bricklayer to go to Brazil to do the work.
“We’re following Christ’s command,” Endris said. “Trust and obey; be a conduit for His resources; be hands and feet for His work.
“This is a rural church,” the pastor continued. “We know if we sit on His resources, we’ll become a cesspool, stagnant. He just wants us to be obedient.”
Fairview Coushatta’s missions committee was re-activated this year after several years of doing without one, Waters said.
“We’ve got some real mission-minded people on the missions committee this year,” the missions committee chairman said. “We just felt like there was a lot we could be involved in. When you look around for opportunities, God will show you them.”
The church gave its missions committee $10,000 to spend as they saw fit. When that was gone, they gave them another $10,000.
“They just wanted to be involved in Kingdom work,” Endris said, deliberately not being specific in how mission dollars were/are used. “The church knows, but it doesn’t want that knowledge spread about, in keeping with the biblical admonition to not let the right hand know what the left is doing,” the pastor explained.
The Brazil trip grew out of the church’s desire to be involved in Kingdom work, but was given focus by the pastor’s mission trip there six years ago.
“I always said I wanted to go back, but I didn’t want to go without Jana,” Endris said.
When her parents – Carolyn and Dick DeBusk of First Baptist Alpine – said they would care for the Endris’ two youngsters, Jana was free to go.
They asked their youth pastor – Louden and his wife Sarah Wells – if they’d be interested. They were, and the word spread from there.
God kept refilling their coffers, and that’s what made it possible to pay for a church building and a professional bricklayer, Waters said.
“I don’t where all it’s come from; it’s coming from everywhere,” the missions committee chairman said. “All I know is when you do something for God, He keeps supplying for the need.”