By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists are in the final year of implementing the President’s 2020 Commission Final 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 fourth 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.
Challenge congregations to regularly and intentionally promote biblical financial stewardship.
In 2018, Louisiana Baptists and LifeWay Christian Resources released the results of a state-wide survey indicating that 85 percent of Louisiana pastors felt it is very important to teach church members to give financially, but that fewer than a third of these pastors have a plan to proactively encourage congregants to do so.
In response to the survey, resources were developed, promoted and distributed to Louisiana Baptist churches.
Undesignated gifts climbed immediately from $254,529,710 in 2013 to $263,983,912 the next year, according to John Kyle, director of communications for Louisiana Baptists. In 2018, undesignated receipts reached a high of $289,015,985 before dropping to $282,311,010 last year.
“This was a challenging KAIROS to measure,” Kyle noted. “Our depressed state economy, particularly the energy sector, has taken its toll on churches and associations especially in south Louisiana.
“Without question this has effected the offerings received by the churches as well as what they forward through the Cooperative Program,” he continued. “Unfortunately we’ve been unable to get an accurate measurement relating to ‘increasing the number of tithers,’ but efforts continue to challenge all Louisiana Baptists to give faithfully to the Lord through their local church.
“Although we are reaching the endpoint in terms of the goals for the 2020 Commission Report, our intentions are to continue to challenge Louisiana Baptists to examine their giving, understanding that at its core, giving is a heart issue.”
New, downloadable stewardship resources are available to all Louisiana Baptist congregations at //LouisianaBaptists.org/stewardship.