By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
SHREVEPORT, La. (LBM) – Following a challenging year dominated by COVID-19, hurricanes and political turmoil, Louisiana Baptists will refocus their efforts to the goal of “winning another person for Christ” at the upcoming state Evangelism Conference, Jan. 25-26, at Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport.
“Pastors and laypeople are tired,” Keith Manuel, evangelism and church growth director for Louisiana Baptists, told the Baptist Message. “Decisions pastors make are scrutinized; and, decisions made by other church leaders don’t make some people happy.
“People are dealing with disease, death and hopelessness,” he said. “And they need a place to find hope. Jesus is the only answer to find peace. When everything else is changing, Jesus doesn’t.”
Manuel said organizers will ensure proper social distancing guidelines are followed. For those unable to attend, the conference sessions will be livestreamed on louisianabaptists.org.
The first session of ECON will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature messages by Richard Ross, professor of youth ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Taylor, interim evangelism director and director of personal evangelism and fellowships for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The praise and worship lineup for ECON over the two-day period includes the Jason Lovins Band and the Foto Sisters.
The final day of ECON will begin at 9:30 a.m. and feature Gary Bowlin, president of the Louisiana Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, Roc Collins, director of evangelism for the Tennessee Baptist Convention Board, Sammy Gilbreath, director of evangelism for the Alabama State Board of Missions, and Dennis Swanberg, a Christian comedian and former pastor of First Baptist Church, West Monroe.
There will be a senior adult luncheon that commences at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Following the meal, senior adults will move into the worship center for inspiring messages by Gilbreath and Swanberg, as well as music by the Foto Sisters. The deadline to register for the event is Jan. 18, and the cost is $10 for the meal.
“I want to encourage senior adults from across the state to attend the Evangelism Conference,” said Jeff Ingram, adult ministry strategist for Louisiana Baptists. “We plan to follow protocols and take caution for the health and safety of all who come. The emphasis for senior adults begins with lunch, followed by the beautiful music of the violin and cello by the Foto Sisters, Sammy Gilbreath’s testimony will be one like you’ve never heard, and then, Swanberg. What else can be said? Please join us at Summer Grove Baptist Church, Shreveport, for ECON.”
For more information about ECON, visit LouisianaBaptists.org/ ECON.