By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BROUSSARD, La. (LBM) – Mike Thibodeaux struggled with alcohol addiction and nearly lost his marriage when his wife, Jessica, and children began attending First Baptist Church in Broussard in 2017.
But, even though he refused to attend worship services while the rest of his family faithfully went every Sunday, they never stopped praying for the Holy Spirit to open his heart to hear the Gospel.
Their prayers were answered Oct. 27.
Although he rejected coming to Sunday worship, he did take his children to weekly worship rehearsals with Associate Pastor Adam Whitney. The Gospel seeds planted through this interaction produced a spiritual Harvest when he publicly professed his faith in Christ and subsequently was baptized Jan. 4.
He has continued growing in his faith through a weekly discipleship meeting with Whitney and one of his co-workers.
“As I began helping out at the rehearsals, Scripture verses that I had studied in the past started popping back into my head like it was yesterday. I realize now the Lord had been leading me to that moment for a very long time,” Thibodeaux told the Baptist Message. “I became more and more active with my kids with their ministry with the church.
“My wife is the one that stood strong through all of my ups and downs,” he continued. “She stuck with me and didn’t give up. It’s because of her that all of that happened. While telling this story, I can’t help but think how my wife was responsible for all of this. She was the family rock for us when I lost my way. If not for her patience, there’s no way I would be walking along a path loving and wanting to know more about Jesus and live Christ-like. When God was writing my story, He knew what I would need to help me in my walk of becoming a Kingdom man.”
According to the Annual Church Profile of statistics, the church baptized 17 in 2015 and 27 the year before.
However, from 2016 through 2019, baptisms trailed off significantly.
But now, with many of the church’s 150 regular worship attenders involved in multiple evangelistic efforts, Pastor Weldon Moak is anticipating a mighty movement of God in 2020.
Indeed, Thibodeaux’s baptism is the 10th this year for First Baptist Broussard. With five more scheduled and more salvation decisions anticipated by mid-March, the church is on pace for a banner year in baptisms.
The difference is the intentionality about evangelism and discipleship, Moak said.
During the first few weeks of the year, Moak cast the theme “Vision 2020: His mission, our focus.”
Church members participate in evangelism training and disciple classes on Sunday evenings.
The congregation also has become involved with “Here For You Acadiana,” an evangelism effort by the Evangeline Baptist Association of churches, reigniting his men’s and women’s ministries with weekly fellowships and Bible studies.
Additionally, members sell coffee with the proceeds supporting the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.
The new emphases have led to a young adult group starting, too.
Moak said he is optimistic about his church and its future impact on Broussard and beyond.
“Our focus is evangelism and discipleship,” Moak said. “We cried out God we need you, we can’t do this without you. It’s a little hard work and elbow grease but also a lot of praying and desperation.”