How to Add Missions to What You Are Already Doing

If you survey the average church goer and ask if their church is involved in missions, it would be safe to assume that many are. Some would respond that yes, they are taking trips around the world to share God’s love and others would say that they give to various mission offerings.

We see that missions is the work of God through the church by which the gospel of Jesus Christ is extended in word and deed to all people in the world.If a person is born again, they have been given a very specific assignment by God. Matthew 28:19–20 reads19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, evento the end of the age.”

Jesus has commanded every believer to take the gospel into all of the world. To make the easy transition of adding missions to what you are already doing, it is important to help students understand the biblical basis for missions. Help them to see why we should do this in addition to what we should be doing.

The first 11 chapters of Genesis are the introduction for the missions story. With the call of Abram in Genesis 12, the missionary theme gets underway. God called Abram to leave his country and promised to make a great nation beginning with him. The missions message continues throughout Bible. Matthew 4:18-20 shows Jesus calling His disciples to “Follow Him,” so that they could fish for people. Immediately the disciples left their nets and followed him.

We see here that a disciple is a follower of Jesus and missions discipleship is the lifelong process of equipping individuals to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.

A recent statistic sates that the average church attender frequents the church twice a month. If you really think about it, you begin to understand that we as leaders have to make the most of the time that we have with our students. Once we reach them with the gospel and teach them about how God is at work in the world, we can begin to share a biblical worldview and global perspective with our students.

If you are not able to have year round missions discipleship in your student groups, here are ways that leaders can add missions to what you are already doing:

Missionary Speakers

Begin by examining your network. Do you have a connection to a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board? Has a missionary been sent from your church? Many times your local association or state convention can point you in the direction of what missionaries are on their stateside assignment. This can be done by Skype or in person.

Weeks of Prayer

Teach students about the state, national and international weeks of prayer. Many times state convention, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering student lessons are written to correspond with these weeks. Help students understand the importance of giving to these offerings by showing them videos, pictures, and information of how this money is used to further God’s Kingdom.

Mission Camps

When planning for summer camp, do you have options to select one with a strong missions emphasis? Is the particular camp leading students to understanding how they can move from just learning about missions to engaging in mission action and witnessing?

Mission Projects

Getting students to understand the needs of their community is key to their understanding of missions. Three questions that you can ask yourself are: What people live in the area, what resources are available in my church/association, and what other ministries exist in the community. When you ask these questions you may discover many different types of community missions existing in your community such as: tutoring, food ministry, clothes closet, literacy training, and so much more!

Mission Trips

A great way to infect people with a heart for the world is through firsthand exposure to missions and missionaries through short-term mission experiences. Missions becomes real to people when they go. If your group is preparing for a trip mission team training is vital. CARRY ON by Libby Quigg (chapter 7) explains how this is done. The International Mission Board website also has great resources.

Share a Missions Story

Has a team in your church arrived home from serving on the mission field? Invite them to share their experience with the students and recall how they saw God at work. This gives the team time to debrief and allows the student to know that all members can pray, some give, and some go.

Students on Mission

Did you know that WMU is offering a new way to target co-ed group leaders looking for ways to teach and engage students in missions? Missions Journey: Students curriculum has been released and it includes a missions story, video, debrief, activity, and prayer time. This is an excellent resource for ways to drop in undated and relevant missions material.

As we are going, telling and making disciples of all nations explore ways we can teach others what it means to cultivate a missions lifestyle. Let’s join God at work and have some missions fun!

Start Something!

Recently I was with a group of church leaders and the issue of reaching the lost came up. One of the leaders asserted that it seems the churches are all going after the same people, while the truly lost in our communities have little outreach to them. He’s absolutely right. Many of our standard church outreach activities are white noise to the growing number of NEVER churched in our communities. Maybe its time to Start Something new to reach the lost in your city.

  • When was the last time you assessed your community for the real needs of people?
  • When was the last time you thought about the unchurched in your town and how to bring the gospel to them?
  • When was the last time you asked hard questions about the effectiveness of your churches ministry in making contact with the lost?
  • When was the last time you looked at the demographics around your church?

This years Missions and Ministry Summer Luncheon tour will focus on these questions. We want to learn about your community and highlight some needs that may be great avenues for sharing the gospel. We want to talk about starting some new fights with modern day issues affecting people in our state. Join the Missions and Ministry Team at one of our Summer Luncheons across Louisiana in June and July.

Visit LouisianaBaptists.org/Compassion to find and register for a meal and discussion.

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.

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.

Georgia Barnette Provides Fuel for Missions Across Louisiana

Our Louisiana Baptists State Missions Offering, the Georgia Barnette Offering, is a great source of energy for missions all over Louisiana. In 2017, we received $1.58 million for the offering and this money is already at work across our state. Here are some of the expenditures so far this year:

  • $157k in church planting and compassion ministry funding for over 100 projects currently in years 1-5.
  • $37k in funding for the Mission Builder program providing construction resources for churches across Louisiana.
  • $18k for church planting networking and training for non-English language groups in Louisiana.
  • $29k for men’s, women’s, and kids’ missions training and networking.
  • $20k for special evangelism projects including prison outreach and evangelistic event support
  • $85k for collegiate ministry, including the brand new Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
  • $30k for the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Extension at Angola State Penitentiary.
  • $9k for ESL (English as a Second Language), multi-housing, and chaplaincy training projects across Louisiana.
  • $3k for Crisis Pregnancy Resource Centers across Louisiana.
  • $12k for Disaster Relief training and mobilization.

And we’re just getting started!

There is absolutely nothing else like the GBO for fueling missions across Louisiana!

Still around $1.1 million remains to be distributed over the next seven months, including money for scholarships. It’s always fun to watch the Georgia Barnette Offering providing fuel for missions across our state!

Find out more about the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering at GeorgiaBarnette.org.

Promotional material for the 2018 Offering will be available in July. Watch for opportunities to give through your church this Fall.

*expenditures calculated in May 2018

Keys to Effective Disaster Relief

Spring and fall are times when weather patterns become unpredictable. Whether it’s tornadoes in the plains, fires in the west or flooding in the south, opportunities to lend a helping hand to your fellow man abound. When the day comes that images of wreckage and loss splash across the news and your heart is moved to help, don’t forget to pause, take a breath and look over these ten commandments of disaster relief.

Ten Commandments of Disaster Relief

  1. Thou shalt contact your local church, student organization and/or charitable organization and offer your help. Ask your church to set up a collection area for bottled water, shovels, plastic gloves and breathing masks. You may also ask for a special account to collect financial donations.
  2. Thou shalt not become a lone wolf. Working in cooperation with other relief agencies is the best way to provide positive change and avoid a disaster of your own.
  3. Thou shalt not ignore the advice of experts. Disaster conditions change. If you’re not listening to regular reports then you may find yourself in a terrible spot and in need of rescue.
  4. Thou shalt not forget to have an escape plan. Sure, you can get in, but can you get out? Have you factored in that restaurants, gas stations, ATM’s are not working?
  5. Thou shalt not drink any water in a disaster zone. Even tap water can be contaminated. Carry your own water in and have enough so share.
  6. Thou shalt not walk or drive through flowing water. Most deaths in floods occur when people enter flowing water. It’s a bad idea, don’t do it.
  7. Thou shalt not donate clothes. Sounds counter intuitive but relief agencies get loaded down with unclaimed clothes and wind up throwing most of it away. Most groups post a needs list and your gift will be more useful if you stick to it.
  8. Thou shalt donate to legitimate charities. Every disaster has looters and scammers. You can look up legit charities with the Better Business Bureau, United Way, etc.
  9. Thou shalt continue to help long term. The need for recovery resources continue long after the media’s coverage has ended. Look for ways to continue to help others in need.
  10. Thou shalt pray for everyone. Pray for the victims, volunteers, extended family, government officials, and anyone else you can think of.

The Super Bowl Faith Fleaflicker

Larry is a classic introvert. He’d rather sit through a three-hour timeshare sales pitch than strike up a conversation about eternity on the fly. But he’d been praying for months about Daryl, an associate at the firm. He knew Daryl wasn’t a believer, and he felt compelled to reach out and invite him.

“Go to church?” Daryl responded when Larry invited him to a men’s Bible study, “I’d rather watch paint dry.”

It was obvious that Larry’s associate wasn’t interested in church. He had recently gone through a divorce and was starting over at 35. Larry felt completely blown off by the sudden shutdown. The whole thing hurt his pride but eased his conscience. At least he tried.

A couple of weeks later at a company Super Bowl Party, Larry had completely recovered from his seeming failure. Larry told it this way:

In the third quarter, the game cut away for the usual Madison Avenue Super Bowl Commercials and, unlike most games, everybody quieted down and tuned in because, as everybody knows, these commercials are almost as entertaining as the game. Then it happened. A simple 30 second spot showing a disconnected man being invited by his granddaughter to church. The commercial ended with the words, “Louisiana Baptists, We’re here for you.” A couple of days later Daryl popped in my office to ask for directions to the Bible study. It was like God tossed the ball to me when I least expected it. It was like a faith Flea-Flicker.

Stories like this happen because of your generous gifts to the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.

It’s easy to wonder about how money we give to charities is used but you can be sure that the money you give to this offering makes a huge difference. How huge?

It helped us through one of the most difficult seasons of disaster Louisiana has experienced. And even in the midst of sorrow we saw:

  • 15 Professions of Faith
  • 72 Gospel Presentations
  • 1,302 Total Contact

You also helped fund new church plants so that new pastors could plant seeds in underserved areas of Louisiana. Those seeds bore fruit!

In 2017 New Church plants saw:

  • 1,419 New Commitments to Christ!
  • 512 Baptisms!

Since 2010:

  • 210 New Churches!
  • 12,054 New Commitments to Christ!
  • 3,172 Baptisms!

And that’s just a small portion of what God is doing. The really exciting stories are the little ones happening all over Louisiana – stories like Larry and Daryl’s.

Starting an Associational Church Planting Movement

Good strategy should create the right conditions for a church multiplication movement to reach every people group & population segment in our communities. Here’s five steps to an associational strategy for church multiplication:

Step 1: Mobilize an Associational Missions or Church Planting Team.
Intentionality will be best maintained by men & women with a heart for missions & church multiplication who work in concert with the Director of Missions & other partners to strategize for reaching the lost in the area.

Step 2: Conduct an Area-Wide Feasibility Study or Probe.
A probe of the area should include intense demographic & ecclesiographic research. To maximize buy in, it may also include organizing a vision tour or windshield survey across the area with Pastors & church leaders. A probe may also include polling pastors & staff members & key leaders in the community about the need for new churches & ministries in the region.

Step 3: Map the Strategy based on the Probe.
Combining extensive data collection with soundbites from organized efforts to determine needs, the church planting team should then be ready to go to a map & start pinpointing potential locations for churches & ministries. The Louisiana Baptists Engage Map can be a great tool for this & church planting priorities can immediately be available for recruiting planters & resources to projects determined by the the Church Planting Team via the world wide web.

Step 4: Discover & Develop qualified planters & team members.
Once we know who we need to reach & where, we can best determine who we need to be looking & praying for to take on the mission of planting a church in that area. It will also help the state convention in planning resources & training events that will best assist planting in the region. Armed with data & vision for meeting the specific needs of communities we can be more intentional in gathering resources & recruiting partners & team members.

Step 5: Network church planting leaders & enthusiasts for celebration, encouragement, health, & recruitment.
Engaging the lost community through church planting will lead to stories that need to be told, wounds & scars that need to be healed, & greater interest in diving into the church planting pool. A regular network meeting in the region will be a great tool to keep the movement going & keep points going onto the map & multiplication of disciples, groups, & churches going for years to come.

Utilizing this strategy, one of our Louisiana associations has started 14 new churches since 2000, with only one failed plant. That’s a 93% success rate! The Louisiana Baptists Missions & Ministry Team is here to assist with 10-3-1 Strategy Development. We can assist you & your team with each of these steps as we move toward a strategy that engages every person in Louisiana with the Gospel.

5 Things All Louisiana Residents Simply Must Do

We don’t like to think about the fact that a hurricane might be on the radar in the next couple of months. The majority of the storms we experience in Louisiana have landed in August and September. Thus, we need to understand that the heart of the storm season is before us so we must act now  to be prepared. Here are some suggestions:

1. Put together an emergency supply kit that includes items like water and non-perishable foods, flashlights with batteries and first-aid supplies. Usually figure one gallon of water per person per day. Up to three days supply is a rule of thumb to figure the amount of supplies needed.

2. Secure any outdoor objects that could blow away during a storm. Secure your windows and doors. Storm Shutters are a great idea. Also consider trimming your trees and inspecting your roof.

3. Protect your computers, TVs and other electronic equipment with surge protectors. It’s also a good choice to back all of your valueable computer data on a cloud service such as Dropbox, I-Cloud, Google Drive or OneDrive

4. Preplan a safe place to go if evacuation is required.  Be sure to notify your family so they know where you will be.

5. And finally… Let’s pray before a hurricane or a flood is immanent. Pray for Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief workers to be available to serve. Pray for protection and opportunities. God works in times of disaster. Let’s pray that even in the midst of disaster, people will come to know Jesus as their Savior. By the way, maybe God is calling you to serve by attending a training event in your area. Pray for our first responders as well.

Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief will respond when needed.  We work with other agencies to provide assistance.