By Baptist Message staff
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists are in the final year of implementing the President’s 2020 Commission Report, an initiative undertaken during the leadership of Waylon Bailey, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Covington, and the LBC president in 2012-2013.
The 2020 recommendations were crafted collaboratively by a commission of 400 Louisiana Baptist leaders, staff members and laypeople, working in 20 subcommittees of 20 members each. Ten “key actions in reaching our state” – known as KAIROS – were developed to engage two audiences – the next generation and every people group. These measures for improving the spiritual health and growth of the state were adopted by messengers at the 2013 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.
This article is the ninth in a series published by the Baptist Message to report what successes have been achieved toward the ambitious goals of the statewide initiative, as well as to note what objectives remain to be done.
Create mentoring and ministry networks.
Since 2012, the number of networks and fellowships has grown from two to 10, according to James Jenkins, director of church planting for Louisiana Baptists.
Using ethnic fellowships as a means of non-Anglo church planter recruitment, the church planting team has focused on African Americans, Hispanic and Asian groups — and their efforts have helped facilitate 25 annual events among these groups around the state, including at the LBC Annual Meeting, state Evangelism Conference, Hispanic Evangelism Conference, Hispanic Vacation Bible School training and Hispanic disaster relief training. Additionally, the church planting team has created mentoring and ministry networks such as “Multiply Louisiana” for promoting church sponsorship, recruitment and training of church planters.
Jenkins said each year more than 500 leaders attend network meetings in eight regions: New Orleans, the I-12 corridor in south Louisiana, Baton Rouge, the Bayou region south of Lafayette and east of New Orleans, Acadiana, Lake Charles, central Louisiana and the I-20 corridor in north Louisiana.
“Multiply Louisiana” also helps recruit, train and fund a church planter for the SEND North America network in New Orleans, which is among 32 cities targeted by the North American Mission Board for church planting.
“Our teamwork to create mentoring and ministry networks forms the framework for all that we do to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then to train them to reach other people with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Jenkins said. “We build the body of Christ as we form new mentoring and ministry networks. As we work to form mentoring and ministry networks we are following in the footsteps of Paul who said in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, ‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.’”