What Can You Do to Protect Your Congregation?

Houses of worship are considered soft targets for those intent on doing evil. In response to the ongoing threat, the Department of Homeland Security has several resources for congregations to review and implement as they desire.

Some of these resources include:

  • Hometown Security Report which outlines the challenges and how to prepare for potential threats.
  • A vulnerability assessment for churches.
  • A grant program where churches can request funds to enhance their on-campus security.

If you’re interested in being considered for a grant to assist in upgrading your on-campus security, applications will be received beginning April 16, 2019. Interested churches are encouraged to complete and submit their grant requests by April 30, 2019.

The first step to apply for the grant is to immediately apply for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number via the following link: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html. Obtaining this identifying number for the nonprofit/church is mandatory and takes weeks to receive.

A vulnerability assessment is also required and can be accessed by clicking on the Vulnerability Assessment PDF in the download section below.

IMPORTANT: Churches and religious schools will not compromise the religious freedoms of their faith-based institutions for applying and accepting any DHS funding for this program.

For additional information and resources visit:

Download these resources for more information:

Ideas Out Loud

One of our goals is to provide tools and resources to the many churches in our great state. We do this through conferences, literature, digital media, and more. From 2016-2018, we produced a podcast called Ideas Out Loud. In it, we interviewed various leaders and experts in a variety of ministry-related fields, including VBS, discipleship, finance, and more.

Even though the podcast has run its course, we still want to make the audio files available to you. So click through the playlist below and enjoy!

*Resources mentioned in these episodes are no longer available.

 

Lee Strobel’s Full Presentation (ECON)

Due to a power outage during ECON, Lee Strobel’s message was cut short. He recently gave the same message at another event, and has allowed us to publish the video here. Please enjoy!

If you haven’t seen the other ECON videos, click here.

Video credit: Southern Baptists of Texas

Is My Church RePlant Ready?

RePlanting has become a hot topic for denominations. With 65%-80% of churches in decline and many communities transitioning demographically, new visions and strategies must be developed to reach people with the Gospel and build healthy congregational life. Sometimes, churches can’t go on as they are to accomplish that purpose. RePlanting is a way to redeem the property, organization, and investments of previous generations for the vision of a church to reach a people and a place for Christ. Among Louisiana Baptists the need is great. Surveys of Associations have found that potentially 190 churches will close in the next 3-5 years. That’s more than 10% of our current congregations!

RePlant Ready Churches Needed

The Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministry Team have partnered with now, 50 RePlants since 2010. Many of them have received funding through the Cooperative Program and Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering for Church Planting and Building Renovation efforts. Our need today is more healthy churches that will say “Yes!” to RePlanting and serve as a sponsor, mentor, or sending church to churches at or near closure.

What does it look like to be a RePlant Ready Church? As we’ve reviewed our current list of RePlant, we find some common denominators among the churches involved. Here are a few:

  1. A Passion for God and the Lost. Healthy church planting and replanting start with a desire to see people saved and obey Jesus’ Great Commission.
  2. Eyes Open to the Needs of the World. Churches that multiply are looking for opportunities to be a blessing and spread the love of Christ. They look at the world through the eyes of Christ, who saw the crowds and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:35).
  3. Growing through Healthy Systems that Produces New Disciples. RePlanting and multiplication is not a strategy to get your church growing. Multiplication is a way for churches that ARE healthy and growing to extend their healthy dna outward for the kingdom. Multiplication will reveal unhealth faster than anything. Get your systems healthy and multiplication will be the result.
  4. Unified through Relationships and Purpose. A recent RePlant that was the result of two congregations merging, testified of 100% unanimous vote by both congregations. This didn’t happen automatically. Great patience and clear communication by the leaders produced unity of relationships and purpose. Dealing with disunity is a must before embarking on a large multiplication effort like RePlanting.
  5. Discovers a Community or Communities in Need. With eyes open, churches that multiply see the needs of a community and in the case of RePlanting, a sister congregation in need, and seeks to respond.
  6. Ready to Send a Team of Leaders and Laborers. Churches that multiply well, prepare to send and give so that God’s kingdom can grow. Strategies and systems are in place to raise up leaders to go.

If your church is RePlant Ready or would like to assess your Readiness, let us know (Click here to fill out a form). We’d love to see your church take this multiplication journey. Contact one of our Church Planting Strategist for more information.

James Jenkins: james.jenkins@louisianabaptists.org
Carlos Schmidt: carlos.schmidt@louisianabaptists.org
Lane Corley: lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org
Lee Green, Multiplication Assistant – lee.green@louisianabaptists.org
Office – 318.448.3402
multiplyLA.com

Church Multiplication vs. Church Planting

When talking about planting new churches, I prefer the term church multiplication. Why? Most churches lack margin and without margin financially and with volunteers, they don’t believe that they can plant another church. It’s an option for one day IF we are able. But multiplication is a must for every church and a path to every church getting healthy and getting involved in planting new churches. Every church, to be healthy, MUST multiply. We must multiply ON-CAMPUS through new disciples, servant-leaders, groups, and ministries. Then multiplication in a healthy church WILL move OFF-CAMPUS through multiplication of ministries, outreach events, missions partnerships, AND new congregations in some form.

Start multiplying and you WILL BE a church planting church.

How do we get started?

  • Multiply New Disciples by sharing the gospel and bringing new people into the kingdom. Train your church in personal evangelism and lead them to see their community as a mission field.
  • Multiply New Servant-leaders by having a monthly leadership development round table for existing and potential leaders. Begin a mentoring relationship with teachable and hungry disciples.
  • Multiply New Ministries by looking at the needs in the body that are currently not being met and commission a leader or team to tackle the need.
  • Multiply Off-Campus Ministries and Outreaches by asking the question “Where is the church not?” Look for opportunities like local multi-housing communities, local nursing homes, local compassion oriented agencies, etc.
  • Multiply Mission Partnerships by planning an annual mission trip, a vision tour to an underserved part of your state or region, co-sponsoring a new church in your area or state, etc.

Multiplying at these levels will lead to growth, health, and the hunger to keep the multiplication going at every level, including new communities where a church or campus may be needed.

Get in touch:

lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org – if you need to help with ideas and scenarios for multiplying your church or if you’d like to network with other multiplying churches in your area. Connect with our Louisiana Baptists Multiplication Network for events to help you work on strategy and systems for healthy multiplication. Attend one of our upcoming Multiplication Ready or RePlant Ready Events in 2019 for more info and ideas.

Thank You!

I enjoy receiving thank you notes. God uses these unexpected words of appreciation to bless and encourage me.

With that in mind, allow me to say, “Thank you!” on behalf of those you’ve blessed through your faithful giving through the Cooperative Program.

  • On behalf of the church planter who stepped out on faith and sacrificed to follow God’s call to start a new work, thank you.
  • On behalf of the college student who is enjoying Christian fellowship, discipleship and encouragement through one of the 28 BCM’s across the state, thank you.
  • On behalf of the pastor and his family who are receiving godly Christian counsel to help them through a rough season in their lives, thank you.
  • On behalf the Sunday School teachers/leaders who received training to help them use their spiritual gift to build their local church, thank you.
  • On behalf of the thousands of students who heard the Gospel and were challenged to be salt and light on their school campuses during YEC, thank you.
  • On behalf of the non-churched person who had the truth of God’s word seeded in their heart and home through our Here for You media outreach, thank you.
  • On behalf of the special needs families who attended the first-ever special needs camp in the state and, for the first time, felt like they belonged, thank you.

Time, nor space, permit me to say, “Thank you!” from everyone you’ve touched – but isn’t that the idea of the Cooperative Program – to combine our prayers and our resources to accomplish what cannot be accomplished otherwise?

Thank you for giving and reaching beyond your walls for the sake of the Gospel.

The Power of the Regift!

We’re already well into the New Year and you may not have done so yet, but sometime this year you probably will.

I’m not talking about exercising or dieting. I’m referring to regifting.

Apparently regifting has become commonplace. According to Wikipedia, the term became popular when it was introduced on the 80’s sitcom Seinfeld. There are even rules or etiquette related to regifting and you can discover them in The Art of Regifting, Regifting 101 and 12 Rules for Regifting Without Fear. Some environmentally and budgetary conscious people consider regifting a “green” practice. There is even a National Regifting Day which falls the Thursday before Christmas. Talk about perfect timing. Who needs Amazon when you can simply regift!

Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus commanded us to regift? He has gifted us and because of His love for all people, He wants us to share the gift of spiritual transformation and rebirth everywhere we go.

Jesus said as we’ve freely received, we should freely give. Paul challenged Timothy to pass along the things/teachings he received to faithful men who in turn would do the same. James reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from above. And Peter exhorted his readers to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you. In other words – be prepared to regift what you’ve been gifted with – hope!

There are two gifts that we desperately need to regift. The first is truth. The absence of truth in our culture is stunning. Rarely has there been so much information and knowledge but so little truth. Jesus reminds us that God’s word is truth (John 17). So, when you share God’s word with someone, you’re sharing truth. You’re regifting, if you will, the truth you’ve experienced.

Eternal Life is the other gift that needs to be regifted whenever and wherever we have the opportunity. Eternal life is not ours to give, it comes from God (Romans 6:23); but, it is ours to share. If receiving the gift of eternal life is all there is to our journey, then our life after rebirth would be rather pointless. We are still on this earth to share, to regift, what Jesus died to purchase – eternal life and all that accompanies it: forgiveness, peace, hope, comfort and so much more.

Here for You is all about regifting. In fact, Here for You actually delivers God’s gift of truth. We are delivering it to hearts and homes across Louisiana using current communications platforms. We regift truth so we can encourage those viewing the messages to receive God’s gift of eternal life.

How can you get in on this regifting?

  1. Realize the gift inside of you was never intended to stay there. God is not into hoarding. He’s into sharing. He wants you to regift what you’ve been gifted with through His Holy Spirit.
  2. Repent. This means to turn around and start doing what you’re currently not doing. I believe if more Christians would repent, we’d see more non-Christians do the same. If you’ve received God’s gift of eternal life and you’re not sharing it, you need to repent of your sin of omission (James 4:17) and start regifting what you’ve been gifted with.
  3. Restart your efforts. Odds are when you first experienced God’s grace, His gift of eternal life, you told someone. You shared it. I would suggest that when you did that, you regifted. God brought someone to mind who needed the same gift you just received. But over time you began to keep the gift to yourself. Oh, you’re grateful for it, you just stopped sharing it. Jesus told the church in Ephesus to go back and do the things they did at first (Rev 2:5). We need to do the same.

We have a simple way you can regift! Go to hereforyou.org and share the videos on your social media platforms. As you share these messages, you’re regifting God’s truth to all your friends, family and others who view your posts.

Some gifts are meant to keep, to cherish. Others are intended to be shared. I believe people are waiting for us to regift what we’ve received from God. The gifts they’re receiving from the world are perishing and unfulfilling. But the gifts God gives us to regift can meet the deepest longings of their heart.

2019 ECON Recap

ECON 2019 compelled a large gathering of Louisiana Baptists to share Jesus and develop a strategy to do just that. Thanks to your gifts through the Cooperative Program, we were able to bring presenters from across the United States to inspire us to dream once again about what God could do in and through churches.

And now you can:

  • Experience it if you weren’t able to attend.
  • Experience it once again if you were there. And share with others.
  • Use these sessions in church leadership meetings. They’re great content to train and inspire your people.

These videos are your content because of your gifts through the Cooperative Program. They are downloadable and open to everyone. (Scroll to bottom of page for downloads)

Downloads:

View Lee Strobel’s message in it’s entirety by clicking here.

Is My Church Multiplication Ready?

The Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministry Team is making our final push toward the goal of planting 300 new churches 2020. Since 2010, our convention has worked together to plant 235 new churches! The result has been over 13,000 new commitments to Christ! and many new fronts opened up for meeting spiritual and physical needs across our state. While every Southern Baptist church is invested in church planting through giving to the Cooperative Program and our State, National, and International Missions Offerings, only around 280 churches in Louisiana (out of 1,624) have taken the next step and gotten involved in direct MULTIPLICATION through sending people, direct financial sponsorship, or starting a new campus or location.

As we make this final push to 300 new churches, we want to invite you to explore your church’s multiplication readiness. We will have a series of luncheons across the state this year that will help you see the possibilities of and opportunities for multiplication for your church. Every church CAN get involved in Church Planting Multiplication!

Why Should Multiplication Readiness Concern Me and My Church? Three Reasons:

  1. Readiness to Multiply is a Mark of Health and Maturity. Healthy churches generally are multiplying churches. Healthy churches multiply new disciples, new leaders, new groups, new ministries, etc.,etc. As the multiplication train gets rolling, it is often the case that God moves His people to look to a neighboring community or people group in need to multiply the gospel to. Is it time for your church to consider a multiplication project? Or is it time to explore why your church is not seeing greater multiplication inside? How do we get started? What resources are available? Join us for one of our Multiplication Ready luncheons to explore these questions.
  2. Healthy Church Multiplication requires Healthy Sending or Sponsor or Parent Churches. As Bob Roberts says in his great book The Multiplying Church, “The future of faith in America (and anywhere in the world, for that matter) is not tied to planting more churches, but in raising up of mother congregations of every tribe, tongue, denomination, and network that are reproducing… The hope is in pregnant mother churches.” The healthiest new churches often come from mother churches that are reproducing and multiplying in all aspects, spilling over into new communities and people groups through church planting and evangelism.
  3. Reaching our state and our nation is more than just one church can accomplish. Across Louisiana, church attendance is in decline. In almost every association, less than 10% of the population are in attendance in a Southern Baptist Church on any given weekend. The number of unchurched and dechurched people is climbing. To reach new generations of people, new fronts must be opened against lostness. Church Planting and Multiplication has proven to be a great tool in reaching people in Louisiana and beyond. 13,000 and counting have responded to the gospel through one of our 235 new churches. Imagine the possibilities as we continue to multiply through 2020 and beyond.

Explore the possibilities, available resources, and current opportunities with your Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministries team this year as we make our final push to 300 new churches by 2020.

Four Biblical Resolutions for 2019

The Bible is full of resolutions. Our reading of the Bible should be to see the gaps between ourselves and God’s will and close that gap with resolve. The difference between worldly resolution and Biblical resolution is that as believers we have the promise of God’s presence with us to empower and encourage us as we resolve to walk with him. So let’s be resolute in 2019. Here are four Biblical Resolutions in way of reminder and challenge.

  1. Devote yourselves to Prayer… Colossians 4:2

Prayer works every time it is tried. God promises to hear and to answer the praying believer, who prays in faith (Matthew 7:7; James 1:5-8; 1 John 5:14-15). Resolve to be a person of prayer in 2019. 

Ideas:

  1. Every man mature in Christ – Colossians 1:28-29

The resolve of the apostle Paul was to move EVERY PERSON in his sphere of influence closer to Christ. What a resolution!? Our influence as believers is currently limited by our vision and our lips. Resolve to see every person in relation to eternity and communicate God’s Gospel truth in practical ways in 2019. 

Ideas:

  1. Exercise is of some value – 1 Timothy 4:8

In most of us, a new year brings a desire to make changes. Gym memberships increase by about 12% every January. While we do not all need to be Iron Men, we should recognize the secondary value (next to godliness) of maintaining and/or improving our physical condition as a steward of God and faithful witness until our last breath. Resolve to improve and/or maintain your physical condition for stewardship and witness in 2019.

Ideas:

  • Walk. This is a great way to combine #1, #2, and #3. Walk your neighborhood and pray for each home and look for opportunities to build new relationships.
  • Try a 21 Day Fast as a way to reset your prayer life and dietary life.
  • Join a gym and/or fitness class as a way to get in better condition and build new relationships in the community.
  1. We will tell the next generation – Psalm 78:4

The next generation is to be a priority for disciples of Christ (Deuteronomy 6:6-8; Psalm 78:1-4). Parents and Grandparents have a built in reminder of their duty and priority. But we mustn’t stop there. With Christianity in decline, we need all hands on deck to make sure every child hears of God’s love in Christ for them. Resolve to pass on your faith to someone younger than you in 2019. 

Ideas:

  • If you’re a parent, commit to a family meal time each week where you share a devotional and pray for and with one another.
  • Sign up to volunteer in the children’s ministry of a local church.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer at a local school or mentoring program.
  • Ask God to show you a child at your church or in your neighborhood that needs an encouraging word.

What are some other Biblical Resolutions that we can resolve to pursue in 2019?