Joe Aguillard (left) is out as LC's President and Argile Smith has been named as interim president
After putting more than $4.2 million in repairs on the former Joe D. Waggonner Federal Building in Shreveport which was to house the Judge Paul Pressler School of Law, Louisiana College has abandoned its efforts and placed the building up for sale.
Angola inmate Wayne Fritz looks at a tract explaining salvation given to him by Louisiana Baptist men during the recent Angola revival.
Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga., spoke at the SEND North America Church Growth and Revitalization Conference at First Baptist Pineville recently. Hunt told more than 150 pastors that leadership was key in the revitalization and growth of a church.

By Kelly Boggs, Editor

PINEVILLE – When Joe Aguillard was elected as president of Louisiana College in Jan. 2005 it was under a cloud of controversy.

After the LC Board’s action during its most recent meeting, it seems he will leave office in similar fashion.

By Kelly Boggs, Editor

“Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss,” said George Orwell. I suspect the English novelist and critic, best known for his books 1984 and Animal Farm, is correct.

However, in light of all that has transpired in reference to Louisiana College over the past year or so, I feel the need to discuss a few things.

Editor’s note: Leigh Guidry, reporter for The Town Talk, provided a thorough treatment of the circumstances regarding Louisiana College’s Judge Paul Pressler School of Law in a recent issue of Alexandria’s daily newspaper. The Baptist Message offers its readers the results of Ms. Guidry’s research, with permission from The Town Talk.    

PINEVILLE – Louisiana College has spent about $5.5 million on a law school that never opened its doors nor admitted a student.

By Mark H. Hunter, Regional Reporter

ANGOLA - Ben Raney was walking through a large, crowded dormitory in the Main Camp of the Louisiana State Penitentiary when he noticed inmate Gabe McCkeel sitting alone on his bunk-bed.

The men chatted for a moment then Raney sat down next to McCkeel, gripped his hand and prayed for him. When Raney got up to leave both men were smiling.

“He said he was a Christian but just needed some assurance,” Raney said later. A member of Pedico Baptist, this was his fourth visit to Angola.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

PINEVILLE – In a day when an average of 890 Southern Baptist churches are closing their doors each year and nearly 72 percent of the convention’s churches are either plateaued or declining, reversing this trend is vital, Johnny Hunt said.

“There are many that we need to help nurture back to health,” according to Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga. “That is what this initiative is all about. Some need more help than others. Some need to lend their help. If we all participate in this, we will see the Lord do a great work.”

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

A large number of Louisiana Baptist churches are planning to host events in association with the annual National Day of Prayer on May 1.

Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the US Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

By Marilyn Stewart, Regional reporter

LAFAYETTE – “Giving beyond our walls” is a passion the younger generation feels deeply, said Steve Horn, Louisiana Baptist Convention president and pastor of First Lafayette. And when they realize that giving through the Cooperative Program does exactly that, “They get it,” he said.

By Staff, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) finalized a new partnership with an anonymous donor to provide free theological education for small church and bi-vocational pastors and staff members of Louisiana Southern Baptist churches.

With an initial gift of $1.5 million from the donor, the seminary has established the Caskey Center for Church Excellence to facilitate the scholarship process. The NOBTS Board of Trustees approved the center’s creation on April 16, during their spring meeting.

By Joey Martin, Special to the Message

VIDALIA – First Baptist Church Vidalia members Dawn Moss and Carrie Vest of Vidalia will have no practice run when they rappel off the 24-story, 308-foot tall One America Place building May 9 in downtown Baton Rouge.

Then again, it serves as a good illustration for their cause.

“You don’t get a practice run in foster care or adoption,” they both said.

Currently, Moss and Vest, who call themselves “Forever Moms,” are two of six volunteers set to rappel for the very first time.

By Jeff Iorg, President of Golden Gate Seminary

I  recently met with a group of national ministry leaders who work quietly, but seriously, to make disciples – primarily among young men.

 One of our agenda items was discussing the issues related to helping Christians stand for their values when their convictions are labeled hate speech and may be prosecutable offenses.

We discussed several options – all of which were focused on avoiding needless controversy and diminishing our efforts.

By Erich Bridges, IMB Global Correspondent

I saw my friend James at a church supper after being out of touch for several years. It was like we'd never been apart.

We talked, laughed, hugged, sang and prayed together. I met his wife for the first time and celebrated with them over the way God had healed wounds in their marriage and family. It was a great evening; we didn't want it to end. We said goodnight, promising each other we'd meet again soon.

By Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary

I believe the vast majority of Americans are disappointed in the degree of racial division, mistrust and misunderstanding that still plagues our society.

And I further believe that disappointment and discontent stretch through all ethnic groups and generations.

By Nate Adams, Executive Director of Illinois State Baptist Association

Our youngest son, Ethan, recently mentioned to his mom and me that he had heard a couple of great new Christian songs he really liked. We asked what they were, hoping that we had been listening to enough Christian radio to perhaps recognize them.

Imagine our surprise when the songs he named were 100-year-old hymns. We couldn’t help but show our disbelief. “Have you never heard those hymns before?” we asked. “Have you not been in churches that sang either of those?”

By Kathy Ferguson Litton, NAMB consultant for ministry to pastor's wives

During a recent spin class I introduced myself to a new, unfamiliar instructor. “Hi, I’m Kathy.” Warmly she says, “You’re Kathy Litton aren’t you?”

It’s a reminder that I am often known and observed by others. Not just in a relatively small community but on social media, in my business dealings and on airplanes.

I am watched as the pastor’s wife at church, while I am playing racquetball or opening a checking account. What I post or tweet or what’s in my grocery cart does not go unnoticed.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

PINEVILLE – In a day when an average of 890 Southern Baptist churches are closing their doors each year and nearly 72 percent of the convention’s churches are either plateaued or declining, reversing this trend is vital, Johnny Hunt said.

“There are many that we need to help nurture back to health,” according to Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga. “That is what this initiative is all about. Some need more help than others. Some need to lend their help. If we all participate in this, we will see the Lord do a great work.”

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

A large number of Louisiana Baptist churches are planning to host events in association with the annual National Day of Prayer on May 1.

Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the US Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

By Marilyn Stewart, Regional reporter

LAFAYETTE – “Giving beyond our walls” is a passion the younger generation feels deeply, said Steve Horn, Louisiana Baptist Convention president and pastor of First Lafayette. And when they realize that giving through the Cooperative Program does exactly that, “They get it,” he said.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

LAFAYETTE – The recent Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting was not just a time to reflect on missions efforts in the state – it was a time to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the organization as well as the 100th birthday of Girls in Action nationwide.

By Staff, Baptist Message

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP) -- Oklahoma City pastor Hance Dilbeck will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June, a former SBC president, Johnny Hunt, has announced.

Dilbeck has been senior pastor of the 4,600-member Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City since 2003.

By Tom Strode, Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Three entities of the Southern Baptist Convention have called for a federal appeals court to overturn a decision invalidating the ministerial housing allowance.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and the International Mission Board (IMB) signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief with a diversity of religious organizations in the important church-state case before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

ON THE MOVE

Tom Higginbotham new as interim pastor at Don Avenue Baptist Church, Denham Springs.

Rick Edmonds from Calvary Baptist, Shreveport to Louisiana Family Forum.

Jerome Stockert from Ethnos Baptist Church, Bossier City to Arkansas St. as student pastor.

REVIVAL/HOMECOMING

Little Pass Baptist Church, Charenton: Revival, April 27-30, Sunday 11 a.m. and 6 p.m;   Monday thru Wednesday 7 p.m. Evangelist: Joe Aulds. Music: Little Pass Praise Band. Pastor: Chris Holloway.