BOSSIER CITY – Two words from Christ more than 2,000 years ago still are very much alive today and continue to impact one’s own community, state, nation and world.
“A call to be like Jesus – to see the world with His heart, through His eyes, to see the possibilities and act boldly in His power,” said Lane Corley, Louisiana Baptists’ church planting strategist and pastor of the Bridge Church in Madisonville. “That’s our challenge and it’s the one our community is waiting for.”
In fact, following Jesus may require much sacrifice but yet could be found as close as a believer’s front yard, college campus or office building.
But before following Jesus, a Christian must start with getting his or her heart right with God. A heart is one of four symbols the Bridge Church uses for a simple tool to find ways to follow Jesus in its community.
And the same matrix can be adopted by any other church, Corley emphasized.
In addition to the heart, the other symbols are an eye, lightbulb and finally an arrow. After getting one’s heart right with God, a believer must have his or her eyes open to needs of the world, then have an imagination for the heart and eyes to dream of ways to reach people and lastly an action for a willingness to obey.
“Follow Me requires us to pick up our feet and leave something behind, to move forward, to act,” Corley said. “The greatest thing we bring to God’s kingdom is our willingness. The Great Commission is sandwiched between the two promises of God’s promises.”
Corley shared the matrix with those attending the recent Louisiana Baptists’ Woman’s Missionary Union Mission Celebration and Annual Meeting at Airline Baptist Church in Bossier City. Based off Mark 8:34, the theme was Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve.
In addition to Corley’s challenge to the attendees to close out the final session, the meeting included a meal served by Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers; roundtable presentations emphasizing ways the women can live missional lives in the state; annual breakfast for Louisiana Baptist Nursing Fellowship; speakers with much missionary experience during the main sessions; prayers led by Mission Friends, Girls in Action and Acteens; and music by the Louisiana Tech Baptist Collegiate Ministry praise band.
The meeting also included a collection of offerings for the construction of the Georgia Barnette Conference Center at Tall Timbers Conference Center in Woodworth and for the Louisiana Baptists WMU’s Retired Minister’s Fund, as well as election of officers.
The new officers are Cameron Mullins, president; Dot Chappelle, vice-president; Helen Baxter, Recording Secretary; Rhonda Berry, assistant recording secretary; and Beverly O’Reagan, Scholarship Committee Chairman.
“Almost everything about our theme, “Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve” involved the challenge to live everyday fully surrendered to Christ, both individually and as WMU mission education organizations in our churches,” said Janie Wise, women’s missions and ministry strategist for Louisiana Baptists. “Kathy Shafto, serving in West Africa, reminded us that when we ‘take up our cross daily, we don’t live our lives for ourselves but for opportunities to share Christ.’ That is how God wants to use us in reaching the lost in our communities and state and to be involved in His mission enterprise in North America and to the ‘uttermost parts of the earth.’”
The 2016 WMU Annual Meeting is set for April 1-2, 2016, at Tall Timbers Conference Center in Woodworth. Wise is hoping construction of the new Georgia Barnette Conference Center is complete, so the meeting can be held there.
If not, the meeting will take place at the activities building at Tall Timbers.
The Georgia Barnette Conference Center will house information about influential early-day Louisiana Baptists, including that of Louisiana Baptist WMU leaders.
The WMU Annual Meeting is partially funded by churches’ Cooperative Program giving to the Louisiana Baptist Convention.