Conferencia de Evangelismo Sermones

Excelentes  mensajes  de  la  Conferencia de Evangelismo del 25  de  febrero en Kenner .

Pastor Luis Gabriel Cesar Isunza.

Four Church-Tested Ideas for Ministering to Widows and Orphans

As a pastor, one of my jobs is to talk with the men who have been nominated to serve as deacons. As a deacon myself, I know the dilemma that many men feel when they get the nod from the church as a candidate for deacon. Jeff, a young entrepreneur in our church reluctantly accepted the call of deacon. He said, “I don’t think I am qualified, I don’t think the timing is right for me personally, but I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that this is something God wants me to do.” Three months later he said to me, “I knew I’d be challenged but I’m realizing that God is doing something new inside me that I never would have experienced if I hadn’t said, ‘yes.’”

The role of a deacon began with a problem and therefore deacons are often thought of as fixers. In the narrative of the early Church, a number of widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. Someone had to step in to preserve the integrity of the gospel. That sounds like a hyperbole. How is a simple problem like food distribution threatening to the gospel? This problem posed a threat because Jesus cared so deeply for struggling people. Therefore we have to care for everyone in our church who finds a seat on the struggle bus.

Widows and orphans are real and symbolic reminders that our world is broken, that suffering and loneliness are palpable, and that the church has the great opportunity to reconcile, heal and transform their community through service and mercy. As deacons, it’s not that we have to do this. We get to do this!

Here are four ideas to help deacons fulfill the biblical mandate of serving widows and orphans.

Plan a Widows’ Banquet

Every spring, our church has a celebration for our widows. The deacons and their wives prepare, cook, serve, entertain and honor our widows. We decorate the Fellowship Hall and then each deacon couple will pick up the widows at their homes escort them to the banquet. The Widows’ Banquet helps us in a number of ways. For most of our deacons, this becomes an opportunity to get to know the widow, to understand their needs, to learn how to assist them and most importantly, to connect spiritually with them.

Mentor

Another mission that deacons impact in many churches has broad repercussions on the next generation. When we think about orphans, most churches would survey their congregation and say, “Looks like we’re all good on that front. No orphans here!” Look closer. Look into your community and you will find them. The orphans today are the kids in your church who have no spiritual father. They come to church without a dad. They suffer through the chaos and wreckage of a broken home. They are longing to connect with someone who can give them the blessing that their parents were never able to give them. Our youth leaders and Sunday School teachers were vital in assessing these needs. They challenged the deacons to develop a strategy to connect children and students with spiritual mentors from the deacon body. Every year we have deacons attending graduation celebrations after a number of years praying, mentoring and connecting with these students. I know a number of students who have received driving lessons, camp scholarships and scholarship recommendations. I can think of five students who went on to serve in full-time ministry and it’s my firm belief that the mentoring program was a tremendous part of their story.

Support young families in the adoption process

This cultural trend in many churches is cause for celebration. Young couples, burdened by the needs of orphans around the world are choosing to adopt. Often these adoptions are international. Deacons have a biblical challenge to help these inspiring members achieve their God-given mission. The financial toll can be overwhelming for many young couples. Our church and deacon body has joined them by helping them raise funds and celebrated the arrival of these new faces. This dynamic also helps our church family become multicultural. It makes our church look more and more like Heaven – all races, backgrounds and nations!

Partner with widows and widowers in ministry

Just last week I mourned the loss of a great prayer warrior. She was a 92-year-old widow in our church. Every Thursday I would get behind the wheel of her car as she would direct me to the homes of the elderly members of our church. She turned the afternoon into a prayer event as we visited and prayed. I thought this would be a ministry to her but was I ever wrong! Vivian was a blessing to me. Vivian threw all her energies into her new ministry of mercy and prayer. I remember her in the elevators of hospitals, in Bush Jewelers, and other places around town praying for strangers. She had a knack for discerning what was going on in people’s lives before she heard it from them. Vivian was an old school card-writer, spending hours purchasing and writing cards by hand and mailing them out. She wasn’t on Facebook. She didn’t need Facebook. She preferred face-to-face conversations. Vivian did as much if not more, than I did in ministering to her sisters grafted together through the loss of their spouses. I am sure there are Vivians in your church whose life will be extended because you partnered with them to minister to their friends.

Finally, get organized

Know what the plan for ministering to widows and orphans is. Create smart assignments for connecting deacons with widows. Chart out whom on your deacon ministry team would have the best success in mentoring to children and students. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid overstating the plan to the church. Keep the plan soft-spoken. Otherwise it will sound obligatory or forced.
  • Encourage accountability. The main focus of every deacons meeting should be reporting, celebrating and praying about the ministry strategy. So many deacons meetings are derailed by petty issues! Keep the main focus of your Deacon Ministry Team about the task of service. Otherwise, you’ll miss the whole point.
  • Adapt the plan with time. Ministry to widows and orphans is fundamentally fluid. You’ll have to change throughout the year, so remind your Deacon Team to be flexible and adaptable so that you don’t have the same issues that arouse with the controversy of the Hellenistic widows in Acts 6.

Like Jeff, most deacons struggle with time demands, agendas, and priorities. Having a strategy in place allows us to do the work of a deacon, which ultimately will change the lives of widows and orphans and the deacon who is obedient to the call.

Prayer Boot Camp Resources

If you missed the Prayer Bootcamp, here’s some content to help you as you develop a prayer strategy in your church. These brief clips will inspire and aid you to begin making your church a House of Prayer.

For more resources visit: http://blog.lifeway.com/growingdisciples/

The Ultimate Fixer Upper Reveal

I just finished reading Joanna and Chip Gaines, The Magnolia Story. By the way, it’s a great read, even for guys like me that end up as accidental HGTV viewers. In the book, the Gaines share amazing stories of how their lives intersected and through courage, faith and perseverance God began to build things in their lives that they never dreamed would happen.

For me there is a biblical moment in every one of their shows, It’s the big reveal. They bring the home owners by their newly redesigned house with a huge photo of the pre-renovated house masking its fresh paint, new porch, replaced shutters and new landscaping. Of course, it’s the dramatic climax of every show as they roll the huge photo away, a moment complete with tears, hugs and ‘wow’s.

The biblical moment for me is the connection we find in Ezekiel 40 when God reveals to Ezekiel the New City and the New Temple.

He brought me there (to the new city). In visions of God, He took me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain. On its southern slope was a structure resembling a city. Ezekiel 40:1-3 (CSB)

This was God’s big reveal as he walked Ezekiel through the New City and Temple which represent a time when we all will see the glory of God’s perfect work. Complete with eye-popping design, renovation and beauty.

I’m reminded that this world is  a fixer upper. The societal landscape is full of weeds, leaky pipes, stained carpet, faulty tile, and messy closets. They present themselves as lies, injustice, starvation, human trafficking, hypocrisy, hate and dirty politics. But even now, God is at work.

We have the same responsibility that Ezekiel received in verse 4:

He spoke to me: “Son of man, look with your eyes, listen with your ears, and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for you have been brought here so that I might show it to you. Report everything you see.”

We get to share the big reveal of our soon-to-be home, that Jesus is preparing. It’s what we do as believers.

Remember His promise?

 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.  If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.  You know the way to where I am going.

I don’t know about you, but after a rough year of lies, violence, injustice, terror, and protests, I’m ready for our new digs. In the meantime, let’s do the two things He’s asked us to do. Do “big reveals” of the Kingdom to come and  pick up a hammer and renovate the fixer upper we have in front of our eyes today.

Read the original post here

2016 YEC Recap

Relive it or experience it for the first time. Now you can watch all the incredible messages from YEC2016.  Let’s begin to pray today for YEC2017 in November.

Also, we hope you’ll join us for Clear Camps at Tall Timbers!

By the Numbers: 2016 Louisiana Baptist Church Planting Report

Louisiana Baptists finished 2016, with 33 churches planted across our state. Surpassing our goal of 30 for the second straight year. We are grateful for a great spirit of multiplication happening across Louisiana.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 4 in North Louisiana, 29 in South Louisiana.
  • 15 in New Orleans, 7 on the I-12, 4 in Baton Rouge, 2 in Lake Charles, 2 in Central LA, 1 in Lafayette, 1 in Houma/Thibodaux, 1 on I-20.
  • 12 Anglo, 15 African-American, 3 Multi-Ethnic, 2 Hispanic, 1 Asian.
  • 7 Multi-Site Developments, 6 Re-Plants
  • $1.3 million in Cooperative Funding invested in Church Planting supplements.
  • $330,000 in Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering Grants invested in Church Plants.

In 2016, 95 Church Plants in years 1-3 received Cooperative funding through the Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministries office. These plants reported:

  • 1,329 New Commitments to Christ & 384 Baptisms
  • 26,933 Evangelistic Contacts
  • $222,289 given to the Cooperative Program and $72,948 to local associations.

How are we doing region by region:
2016 Church Planting Report by Region

Since 2010:

  • 163 new churches have been planted. 34 north LA, 129 south LA, 41 in New Orleans. Only 137 more to go to meet our goal of 300 by 2020!
  • 97, or 60%, of church plants have been non-Anglo. 51 African-American, 26 Hispanic, 9 Asian, 11 Other.
  • We’re up to 20 Multi-site Congregations and 21 RePlants (plants on church properties that had closed or were near closure).
  • 2,671 Baptisms have been reported. That’s 32 baptisms every month, 7 baptisms every week, in church plants years 1-3.
  • Churches have been planted in 77 Louisiana cities and towns and 21 of 32 Louisiana Baptist Associations since.

Looking forward to another great year of multiplication in Louisiana and beyond. Jump in and start your churches church planting journey at MultiplyLA.com.

 

2017 ECON Recap

ECON was historic as we celebrated Harvest! If you missed the conference or you’d like to review the messages of ECON, you came to the right place. Feel free to access all the messages from ECON 2017.

With these videos you can:

  • use them to train and motivate your leaders
  • get inspired again
  • pray through these incredible teachings
  • share with friends

ECON and these resources are brought to you free of charge through your generous gifts to the Cooperative Program.

Go VBS with GOLA

GOLA Vacation Bible School Teams is a ministry to help zero-baptism and low-baptism Louisiana Baptist churches have a successful VBS this summer.

The teams of six college students each are chosen from Louisiana Baptist churches and Baptist Collegiate Ministries from across the state and are assigned to churches for a one-week VBS.

There is no cost to the church for a team as their expenses are handled through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering and Cooperative Program. A GOLA hosting church is responsible for their own VBS expenses, such as literature for expected number of children, craft items, decorations, refreshments, and so forth.

How to Apply

Churches interested in participating in this ministry need to complete the GOLA 2017 VBS Application below.

Download application

Return the completed application to Jeff Ingram, adult ministry strategist, at the address given below or Jeff.Ingram@LouisianaBaptists.org.

Louisiana Baptists
Attn: Jeff Ingram
P.O. Box 311
Alexandria, LA 71309

Please note that priority will be given to first-time requests from churches, as well as in the order of receiving the completed applications. Completing an application does not necessarily guarantee a team will be available. There are usually more requests than the teams can schedule in the summer. However, every effort will be made to help churches with their VBS.

For questions, contact Jeff Ingram at 318.448.3402 or email Jeff.Ingram@LouisianaBaptists.org.

What the GOLA VBS Team needs from your church:

  • Pray and prayer walk your community.
  • Publicize your VBS to your community (door-to-door flyers, telephone, signs in community and yards, inviting neighbors, etc).
  • Provide workers from your church to help the team and to build relationships with the children and parents.
  • Provide VBS curriculum for anticipated number of children and/or youth (LifeWay’s Galactic Starveyors: Discovering the God of the Universe).
  • Provide a meal – lunch or supper – for the team.
  • Follow-up with all children and families after VBS – THIS IS CRITICAL!
  • Help make it a great week for the team through cooperation and patience.

We (the Louisiana Baptist Convention) will provide the following:

  • GOLA VBS Team of 6 college students to help  lead your church’s VBS.
  • Train the team prior to their first week. (The students will be prepared to lead worship rally, recreation, crafts, Bible studies, missions; however you need them to help your church have a successful VBS.)
  • Provide for their transportation, hotel, and meals, except for the one meal at your church.
  • Provide honorariums for students.
  • Background checks for the team.
  • In most cases the team will be at your church from Sunday morning through Friday. (Saturday will be a travel day to their next location.)
  • The team leader will contact you at least two weeks out for final details.

On Sponsoring a New Church (Pt. 2)

In case you missed it, read Part 1 here.

 

How does the sponsor church relate to the new church?

An area that sometimes creates conflict is the relationship between the sponsor church and the new church.  A lack of clear expectations, mutually agreed upon lines of accountability, and good communication could turn the church planting experience from a blessing into a disappointment for both the sponsor and the planter.  Before a church decides to enter into a partnership to plant a new church, the following questions should be addressed:

  1. Doctrinal and methodological issues:
  • Are the planter and the new church in doctrinal agreement with the sponsor church? Has the planter read and understood the Baptist Faith and Message 2000?
  • Does the sponsor church understand and accept the methods and style of the new church regarding worship, outreach, discipleship, etc?
  1. Facilities, finances, and legal issues:
  • If the new church is meeting in the sponsor’s facilities, have logistical issues been discussed and agreed upon?  Will rent be paid?  Will help with utility bills be expected?  Is there a plan for the new church to grow into greater responsibility?  There needs to be an understanding about use of facilities, when they are available, who can have keys and access, scheduling of facilities, maintenance, etc.  Is a written agreement in place?
  • Who will handle the new church’s finances?  Is there someone (other than the planter and/or his wife!) who is qualified to handle money?  Is the new church ready to have its own bank account?  How will tithes and offerings be handled?  Is there a plan for the church to take over its own finances?  Who will approve the new church’s budget and expenditures?
  • Who will handle Cooperative Program and other missions giving?
  • What kind of access will the planter and the new church have to the office equipment, telephones, and supplies of the sponsor church?  Is this clearly understood?
  • Do any insurance, liability, social security, annuity, or legal issues need to be dealt with?
  • Is the new church ready to legally incorporate?
  • Is there a clear understanding on how and when funding checks from the sponsor, the association, and the state convention will be handled?
  1. Accountability:
  • What will be the planter’s relationship to the sponsor church’s staff?  Will he be considered a staff member?  Will he be expected to attend staff meetings?  If not, is there a time and a person the planter will be meeting with regularly?
  • If the new church is not meeting in the sponsor church’s facilities, is distance a factor in accountability?
  • Are there other partners besides the sponsor church involved, i.e. co-sponsor churches, local association, state convention?  Are expectations and relationships clear to the planter and to the primary sponsor?  Is the planter free to seek other churches as partners?
  • Does the planter have a relationship with a church planting coach?  Does the sponsor understand this?
  1. Cultural issues:
  • If the new church is of a different language, ethnic, or cultural group, has the sponsor church made every effort to understand cultural differences?  These issues may include communication styles, worship styles, decision making styles, time perspectives, accountability and responsibility perspectives, perspectives on planning, scheduling, and setting goals, discipline of children, dress, use of facilities, food, and many others.
  • Have the sponsor church and new church agreed to seek to understand each other’s differences?  Do they both agree that all cultures are under the judgment of Scripture?
  • If language is an obstacle to communication, is there someone available to act as a translator?

It should be emphasized that every situation is different.  It is important for the sponsor, the planter, and all other partners to discuss these issues before the church is launched and funding begins and to regularly review progress and challenges and to make adjustments as necessary.

On Sponsoring a New Church (Pt. 1)

Too often churches assume that it takes a lot of money to be a church-planting church.  The reality is that any church, no matter the size, the age, or the socioeconomic level, can be involved in some way in church planting.  Some sponsoring opportunities involve:

When we have little to no financial resources to contribute: 

  1. Prayer:  A church can join a planter’s intercessory prayer team.
  2. Encouragement:  A sponsor church can offer encouragement to the planter and his family by writing notes of encouragement, by providing support during difficult times, by having them over for a meal, etc.
  3. Legitimacy:  Since a new church is required to have an official primary sponsor church, sometimes a church with limited financial resources can serve as the legitimizing spokesperson for a qualified church planter.
  4. Space:  Many sponsor churches can offer meeting room in their facilities, especially for a new ethnic church start.
  5. Material Resources:  Sometimes a sponsor church can offer a one-time gift of Bibles, discipleship literature, sound equipment, chairs, etc.

Options when some regular monetary support can be provided:

  1. Sole sponsorship:  One church takes on full responsibility for planting a new church.  No help is needed or sought from other churches or denominational entities.
  2. Sole sponsorship with partners:  One church takes on the primary responsibility for planting a new church but also seeks financial assistance from denominational partners.
  3. Multiple sponsorship:  Several churches in a particular area join efforts as a cluster to plant new churches.  They share financial support at varying levels.  This option may or may not involve denominational partners.
  4. Networking:  Several churches spread across the state may agree to join efforts to plant churches in strategic areas.  Again, they share financial support with or without denominational partners.
  5. Adoption:  A church may choose to join an existing sponsorship arrangement by financially supporting a new church already in progress.
  6. Church Planting Center:  In a few instances, a church or network of churches may want to establish a center for church planter discovery, development, and deployment.

There’s no right or wrong way to get involved in church planting. Jump in as God leads your congregation. Contact us about church plants that are in need of partners.

Read Part 2