George Ross
South Lafourche Baptist always has had a strong commitment to missions giving. But when Shane Terrebonne became pastor, he believed the church could take missions a step further through evangelism and reaching out to the community – something the congregation has wholeheartedly embraced such as through its food ministry.
Ed Stetzer
A page from Gale Trussell’s handmade prayer book describes what the book is to be used to do. In the last two years, Trussell has sent more than 2,400 of these books to the sick and the hurting.
Working with the Baptist Union of Bulgaria, Cedar Crest Baptist Church of West Monroe and Blackaby Ministries teamed up to put on a national conference for 127 Bulgarian pastors and leaders in Bulgaria. Among the group making the conference happen were (from left) Tom Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries, Cedar Crest Baptist Administrative Pastor Lynn Wilson, Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries, Senior pastor Greg Clark, and Cedar Crest’s Mission Pastor David Moreland.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS – George Ross understands the God-sized task that is before him in the New Orleans area.

From 2013 to 2023, Southern Baptists have set a goal to plant 120 churches in a city where evangelicals comprise 11.6 percent of the 998,644 people who live there. The ratio of Southern Baptist churches for every resident in metro New Orleans is 1:8,011.

Those statistics are according to the North American Mission Board, where Ross serves as the agency’s SEND North America city coordinator for New Orleans.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

SHREVEPORT – Today, 75 percent of Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana are either plateaued or declining.

While this may look like grim news, hope is on the horizon with RESET: a Revitalization Conference, which is the theme of next month’s Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference. Organizers are hoping this conference will help those churches find encouragement and some solutions to grow.

By Philip Timothy, Managing Editor

ALEXANDRIA – A prayer, a phone call, a visit, or possibly better yet a greeting card are all powerful tools that can help lift the spirits of those who are sick and hurting, especially during the holiday season.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness but for many, however, it can be a time of pain and despair.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

The pending construction of a liquefied natural gas facility, a gas to liquid plant as well as other clean energy related projects has Lake Charles and the surrounding area on the verge of an unprecedented economic boom that could pump billons of dollars into the economy and create more than 50,000 jobs over the next seven years

By Al Quartemont, Special to the Message

PINEVILLE – Louisiana College completed its 2014 Fall semester with 133 students receiving their degrees as part of the school’s 157th Commencement Ceremony Saturday, Dec. 13 at Guinn Auditorium.

Crossing the stage were 79 undergraduates and 54 masters students. The graduating class featured 12 honor graduates, students who finished with a minimum 3.5 GPA for their four years. Among that elite group were two who finished with 4.0 GPAs, Visual Art major Lindsay Moore of Ruby and Psychology major Marissa Whiddon of Bossier City.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

PINEVILLE – The pool for candidates of Louisiana College’s next president has been narrowed down to a few people but no one has been chosen yet to fill the position.

That was some of the news shared during the most recent meeting of the school’s board of trustees.

“Every day my prayer is Lord, help us get the right person for LC,” LC Board President Tommy French told trustees during its Dec. 16 meeting held on the campus in Pineville.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

WEST MONROE – A Louisiana Baptist church has obtained the exclusive publishing rights to the Experiencing God book in the nation of Bulgaria.

And by doing so, Cedar Crest Baptist Church in West Monroe hopes this is just the beginning of many changed lives in this East European country.  

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

PINEVILLE – Sixteen men lined up at the Louisiana Pecan Festival recently, with one goal in mind – earning the title of World’s Fastest Redneck.

The path to earn the distinction included barrel and lawnmower racing, deer shooting, turkey bowling, eating a donut that was hanging from a twine and pole cat climbing.

At the end of the day, the winner took home a new Browning BPS Medallion 12 gauge pump shotgun by completing the course in the fastest time, 1 minute, 20 seconds.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

Each summer, Louisiana State University student Matt Branch normally works a job to earn money to help with expenses for the upcoming semester but not this year.

Branch joined seven other college students for the first-ever all-Louisiana Baptist Collegiate Ministry disaster relief team and in the process of doing so received one of his greatest blessings.

Special to the Baptist Message

ALEXANDRIA – Believe it or not, the year 2014 is almost over. 

If you are considering a gift to your church, other ministry or a favorite charity the IRS has published a few reminders for year-end gifts. 

The Louisiana Baptist Foundation would like to remind Louisiana Baptists  about six these IRS tips for year-end gifts to charity.

By Holly Jo Linzay, Regional Reporter

LAKE CHARLES – At nearly 91 years old, Dick Linam did not let his age weigh in as a factor when asked to serve as a deacon for First Baptist Church in Lake Charles.

He may not be the oldest person ever ordained as a Baptist deacon in Louisiana, but Linam imagines he is among a select group, and did not want his age to deter him from serving God. A few weeks ago, Linam was one of five new deacons ordained in a special service at First Baptist Church, and it is the first time Linam has ever been a deacon.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD – When a brain aneurism left Daniel Hoover paralyzed at 30, he felt that meant he never would have the opportunity to kill a buck again.

However, this setback turned to hope when Hoover was introduced to a ministry at Woodland Baptist Church that allows individuals with disabilities, Down’s Syndrome and other conditions that make them unable to hunt to fully participate in a hunt.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

CUT OFF – South Lafourche Baptist Church is in the business of bridge building these days.

When Shane Terrebonne first started as pastor of the church in September 2013, he noticed that many in the oil and fishing community were unaware that a church was there.

So he decided a way to build a bridge would be through showing the love of Christ with various ministries.

By Gary Myers, NOBTS Communications

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustee executive board elected two new faculty members and approved a new undergraduate certificate center location during their Dec. 2 meeting.

By Kelly Boggs, Message Editor

America’s slow slide toward secularism has been taking place for some time now. I would argue for at least three decades and the Christmas season has been a clear indicator of our country’s penchant for secular style over traditional substance.

The essence of Christmas, the reason for the season, is the birth of Jesus Christ, nothing more and nothing less. It is distinctly and exclusively a religious holiday – a time when Christians around the world commemorate the birth of their Savior, the very reason for their faith.

By Trey Graham, Pastor First Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas

In 1991, Andrew did what dozens of pastors and scholars only hoped to do. My friend Andrew, with no theological training or philosophical expertise, unwittingly but unmistakably showed me the true meaning of Christmas.

By Joe McKeever, Pastor, Author, Cartoonist

I’ve been to Bethlehem. It’s fairly indistinguishable from many other Judean towns, except for the Church of the Nativity built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.

Bethlehem is located on a ridge some 2500 feet above sea level, and five or six miles southwest of Jerusalem. Why, with all the grand locations in the world to choose from, did God choose for His Son to be born in Bethlehem? I can think of three good reasons.


By Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus LifeWay Christian Resources

Joseph, the husband of Mary, is the forgotten man of Christmas.

He never speaks a word in the biblical record. He is Joseph the silent. He ranks only slightly higher than an extra in the cast.

Although 15 U.S. cities are named for Joseph, he remains the forgotten man of the Christmas story.

But Joseph deserves more than that.

By Bob Nigh, Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention Baptist Messenger

“O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blatter! Du grunst nicht nur zur Sommer-zeit, nein auch in Winter, wenn es schenit.”

For those of you who don’t speak German, the English equivalent of the lyrics of this familiar Christmas carol basically say, “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how steadfast are your branches! Your boughs are green in summer’s clime, and through the snows of wintertime.”

By Eric Hankins, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.

For years, I have loved re-reading Dylan Thomas “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” during this time of the year. It opens with a line so evocative of my memories of Christmas: 

By Kelly Boggs, Message Editor

Two-thirds of Americans do not trust their fellow citizens, according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press and GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. GfK, according to its website, is a research company “working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop....”

A similar survey in 1972 found that half of Americans professed trust in their fellow man.

By David Jeremiah, Pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church

Ever thought about writing your autobiography? Just jot down key dates and events in your life. Beside each date write something. It’ll be a treasure to your grandchildren later.

Our words and deeds are actually writing our autobiography every day, creating a legacy for good or ill. Our decisions are blazing a trail for others, setting the course, determining the future of those we love. What kind of legacy are you creating?

By Chuck Bentley, CEO Crown Financial Ministries

On a recent Saturday morning, I was waiting to pick up my son, John, from a musical practice at church, so I decided to walk around the building for some exercise.

While walking, I encountered a man knocking on the front door of the building.

By Diana Davis, Author and Speaker

A tattoo artist, a CEO, and a homeless guy walk into your church’s worship service…

But when those strangers walk into church, will they receive a warm welcome? How can a church assure that outsiders are accepted?

The answer is spelled with just three letters: Y-O-U.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

ALEXANDRIA – The Baptist Message board honored its outgoing editor while looking toward the future at its last board meeting of 2014.

Kelly Boggs, who became editor of the Baptist Message in January 2006, announced during the 2014 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting he was retiring from the position to become development director at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He graduated from the school in 1985.

By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

KENNER – Jennifer Nelson was 19 when she made the choice to abort her child.

Ten years later, as she was four months into her pregnancy and married, Nelson began to relive the decision she made as a teenager. Immediately, she fell to her knees, asking God’s forgiveness – and the beginning of healing through Christ.

By Julie Walters, WMU Communications

BIRMINGHAM – When Helen Henley, a member of Sunrise Baptist Church in Midland, Mich., heard Missionsfest would be in Toledo, Ohio, she “felt it was too close not to be a part.”

Henley was familiar with the city and the three-hour drive since her son had attended the University of Toledo in 2000–2004. He lived in downtown Toledo until 2007, just a few blocks away from her ministry assignment.

MOUNT VERNON Ga. (BP) – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has reaffirmed the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College, reversing an earlier decision.

The Dec. 9 announcement means the Georgia Baptist college, which had been on probation and then lost its academic ranking on June 19, will remain fully accredited without any blemish on its record. The governing group announced its decision earlier today at the conclusion of its annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

By Staff, Baptist Message


Duane (wife Lisa) R. Moreno new as Pastor at Magnolia Baptist Church, Saline.


Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, DeRidder: That Night in Bethlehem, a drive-through nativity experience, Dec. 19, 20 and 21 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Come drive through the streets of Bethlehem and observe what life was like when Jesus was born. Maximum height of vehicle entering Bethlehem is 9 feet. Pastor: Danny Wilson.


Paul (wife Joyce) Pearson new as Pastor at First Baptist Church, Doyline.

Shadd Pittman new as Pastor at Thomas Baptist Church, Franklinton.

Seth Ott new as part-time Youth Minister at Watson Baptist Church, Denham Springs.

Lauren Serrapica is new as Minister to Youth at First Haynesville.

Evan (wife Kaiti) McFarland new as middle school pastor at First Baptist Church, Bossier

Donna Simms music retired at Northwood Baptist Church, Shreveport.