DR – Coronavirus Prayer Line

If you’re experiencing stress-related issues brought on by the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Louisiana Disaster Relief chaplains are available to visit and pray with you.

Simply call 800-410-3492.

Chaplains are available between 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.

Due to potential heavy volume, if the number is busy, please wait a few minutes and call again.

18 Proven Ways to Scatter Seeds and Engage Your Community

When wanting to impact a community for Christ through evangelism, scattering seeds should be one of your primary missions. On Church Planter reports we ask for the # of contacts made each month. No coincidence that often the church plant with the most salvations and baptisms is also the one with the most contacts made in the community over the course of a year. That’s not always the case at first, because some communities will take more of the spiritual work of cultivating the ground through prayer and serving before seeds can be planted and harvest gathered. But if a church planter aggressively devises a strategy of seed scattering and planting, eventually a harvest can be expected (Psalm 126:6).

What is scattering seed? Seed scattering is any activity that intersects believers and or the gospel with the lives of people in the community. The more directly evangelistic the better. But considering that according to Billy Graham it probably takes 20 conversations for someone to become a Christian, plan for aggressive seed sowing and evangelistic activity.

Here’s 18 Proven ideas for engaging the community and increasing your contacts and seeds planted through your church:

  1. Invite Cards. Always have something to invite people to and a card with the time and place with you. Print hundreds at a time and make sure your core team and congregation takes a stack with them to give out or place on community bulletin boards as they go each week.
  2. Direct Mail. Direct mail can be done on a small, affordable scale. You’ll need a Bulk Mail permit and someone who can do at least basic graphic design. Keep it simple. It’s the two color postcards that stick out in today’s mail boxes. Get to know Vista Print and Outreach.com for affordable starting points. Even better, get to know a local printer and include seed scattering to building relationships in the community. Also, check out the Mapping Center for Evangelism to get your communities addresses plus much more.
  3. Facebook Page – likes and shares. Facebook is a great tool for spreading seeds about the gospel and your church. Start a Page, post regularly, and encourage your core team to like and share, which spreads the message to their network. Love what the Church at Addis did with Facebook. They found out one of the biggest needs in their community was help with blended families and they started a Facebook Page called Blended Family Help to connect Gospel resources with the need in people’s lives.
  4. Facebook Ads. For $25 you can get your message to 1,000’s of people in a small town or neighborhood. Facebook Ads are easy to use, simple as posting about an event, then hitting a button to “boost” it and make sure it gets out there with a little bit of cash.
  5. School Newsletters. Few people subscribe to newspapers anymore, everybody hates spammy email advertising, direct mail is a low % read for most. How can I get into the home of almost every young family in my community? Consider an ad in the local elementary and Jr. High newsletter. Goes home with every student. Even if it reaches no one, you’ve  done something that  supports the local school & administrators won’t forget you for that. Our local schools allow a business card size ad for about $25 per issue.
  6. Radio Spots. Average commute times in Louisiana are from 15 to 40 minutes. For most of those, the radio will be on for at least some of that time. Many radio stations offer some type of free bulletin board for community events, so if you doing something worth inviting the community to, give them a call. And radio ads can be surprisingly affordable with local stations. It’s a great way to support the local Christian radio station, but don’t just do Christian radio. On second thought, send a check to Christian radio and run your ads on the local secular stations.
  7. Door Hangers. Door to door is still a great way to spread info and plant seeds. And studies in Louisiana have shown that a majority of people are open to door to door visits from churches. We’ve found a printer in our area that will print ready to hang door hangers for us. We’ve also ordered clear bags to put info in for hanging on doors, which makes them a little more weather proof. Works best for the time commitment in densely populated areas. Rules of thumb: Beware of dogs. Don’t be a jerk and ignore posted subdivision loitering rules. Expect at least one call from somebody that says, “HEY, DON’T EVER COME ON MY PROPERTY AGAIN OR I’LL @&%$#?…” Shake your head and move on. There’s always one.
  8. T-shirts. Well-designed, eye-catching T-shirts can create more conversation than most other forms of advertising. Nothing else I can do in outreach gets more people to come up to me and say “Do you go to that church?” – “Is that church around here?” – “That looks like an interesting church” – “Where is your church?” Make T-shirts that people will want to wear and give them away if you can. And don’t forget to train people on what to say WHEN, not if, they are ask about your church when wearing a T-shirt.
  9. Service Projects. Finding a need and meeting it has ripple effect potential for your ministry. You find someone that needs help & serve them, that’s a great kingdom contact in and of itself. And a kingdom win, is a win period. You also have to get others involved in using their gifts and abilities for ministry which helps them grow their kingdom eyes. Our church has used Wheelchair ramp building in this way. When you get a good service project you can also increase the ripple by inviting the community to join in. We’ve even ran radio spots (see above) about upcoming projects inviting others to contribute and participate. Continue the ripple by posting pics on Facebook, sharing the story with a follow-up video, etc. Contact the Missions and Ministry Office about hosting your own Here For You Day in your community.
  10. Block Parties. A great way to gather people, cultivate relationships, plant seeds, and share the gospel is to throw a party. Mix free food, loud music, and an inflatable or two & you can be about meeting new people in almost any neighborhood in Louisiana. Another popular variation of an outreach friendly Block Party would be an Outdoor Movie Night in a city park, subdivision common space, or backyard. Also, you can use holiday’s, big national sporting events, and birthday parties to throw a party, invite everyone you know, and find ways to cultivate relationships & move them closer to experiencing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Check out this post on Why Block Parties and the How to Manual for Block Parties that our church put together.
  11. Multi-Housing Communities. Multi-Housing Complexes offer many potential points of contacts with all different kinds of people. One easy, low cost, highly relational way to make some people smile and start a conversation is to pick up some boxes of snacks and juice boxes and setup at a common bus stop at an apartment complex or trailer park after school. Our church does this the week before kid friendly events that we’d like to promote. Stillwater Church in Hammond has seen a new church birth, utilizing the after school bus stop as a primary way to make connections in two large mobile home parks in their area.
  12. Community Agencies. Council on Aging, Volunteers of America, Boys and Girls Club, Local Fire Dept., Local Police Dept., Town Council, local Crisis Pregnancy Center, Mayor’s offices, local utility companies, Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Revitalization committees, local Work Release Program. These are a handful of the community agencies that our church plants have worked with that exist in almost every community in North America. Great partners, often looking for volunteers, and often wondering why churches don’t offer to help. And believe it or not, we’ve found no problems from most community agencies with the expectation that we as a church would also be sharing the gospel with people we serve. Projects, partners, points of contact with the community is a phone call away.
  13. Area Daycares. Private daycares are often open to allowing churches to make contact with families they serve. We have built relationships with daycares in our area that have allowed us to come in and do Gospel centered activities with kids. We also send posters and invites to any kid friendly special event (Easter Egg Hunt, Trunk or Treat, etc.) to local daycares and have found that many of them will post them on a bulletin board & some will pass them out to parents picking up their kids. Start by making a list of area daycares & consider including them in service opportunities and invites to special events.
  14. Rec Fields. Another great way to both invest in the community and get some name recognition is to get a sign on the fences of local recreation fields. $200-500 can get your logo, name, website in front of a large % of unchurched people in your community. And the interaction with key leaders in the recreation programs can be a great thing for your personal network as a church planter as well. I’ve also seen churches serve rec fields in other ways: Inflatables and face painting on opening day, free snow cones, free souvenir pictures. I’ve also thought about the possibility of offering a Sunday morning worship time at our local ball field with 100’s pouring in every weekend for travel ball leagues.
  15. Community Festivals. In Louisiana, there is some kind of festival going almost every weekend. Festivals offer a variety of opportunities for churches to engage the people of the community. First and maybe most importantly, the impact of getting to know leaders of festivals on most occasions also means getting to know key leaders in the city or town. Getting involved lets them know that you’re on their side & want to see the community succeed. A few ways that I’ve seen churches reach out to festivals: Serve by picking up trash all day, Face Painting, Kids Games, sponsor entertainment, Free Souvenir pictures, Festival volunteers, Setup and tear down. Many other ways to engage people. Remember your Invite Cards (see part 1), go unselfishly to serve the community, and have fun! Louisiana Festivals are the best!
  16. Funeral Homes. Outreach to funeral homes? As a brand new church planter in the community, as I was networking, I stopped by several area funeral homes with a card and an offer to preach the funeral for anyone that didn’t have a pastor already. To my surprise, I soon found myself doing 4-5 funerals every week. Which proved to be emotionally exhausting, but served as a great way to connect with families at a time they needed the Gospel and relationships built around faith more than ever. People will NEVER forget you, when you’re able to be there with them in the valley of the shadow of death.
  17. Community Networks. A network is a group or system of interconnected people. They are everywhere in your community and most are ready and willing to connect new people to the group. Get your church plant involved in the local Chamber of Commerce. Most have a Non-Profit membership stream and I’ve found that they love having churches involved. Early on in the life of one of our church plants, I joined what was called a BNI, or Business Network International. People paid to join a group that commits to help each other promote their respective businesses. They loved having a church in the group. Made all kinds of connections in that network. Church planting is about networking and you don’t have to recreate the wheel at the outset. Join the community networks and relationships will lead to seeds planted & opportunities to share the Gospel.
  18. Local Hospitals. In the New Testament, we see Jesus often ministering to people at the point of illness, disease, and grief. There are several ways that a church plant can engage people at this point of need. Find out if the hospital has a volunteer chaplain program. In my community, our local baptist association has built this bridge to several local hospitals and pastors and lay people are trained and empowered to meet needs through chaplaincy work. Stock the Waiting rooms. Waiting rooms can be lonely, cold places. Get permission to put fruit baskets, magazines, fresh donuts, Bibles, or whatever you can in the waiting rooms. And don’t forget the gift of presence. Drop by and give the gift of a listening ear and encouraging words. One of my favorite servant evangelism projects is pick up a handful of gift cards to the nearest restaurants and drop by the ICU waiting room & give them away. Remember, this ministry is not about you! Only go if you can realistically put the needs of others first. This can be a great ministry for those with the gifts of mercy in your church plant.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Great reminder for the church planter or pastor who is trying to get momentum behind the effort to reach their community for Christ. Our failure is often a failure of ideas and imagination when it comes to outreach, so I’m sharing some practical ways that I’ve seen work in Louisiana in hopes that your church will increase the number of seeds that it scatters across your community.

On Mission to Tiger Island

Here is a little Louisiana Trivia for you:

  • What Louisiana city was first named Tiger Island?
  • What Louisiana Parish is home to an ancient people group that still resides on its aboriginal lands?
  • What Bayou was formed by a 10 mile long snake?

If you know the answers to these questions, you might be from St. Mary Parish. St. Mary Parish includes the cities of Morgan City (formerly known as Tiger Island because of rare cats spotted there by the first surveyors in the late 1700’s), Franklin (the Parish Seat), Patterson, Berwick, and the Chitimacha Indian Reservation (home of the Chitimacha Indians, who were once one of the strongest tribes in North America). Chitimacha legend has it that the ancient tribe fought a war with a 10-mile long snake and on its defeat it squirmed to its death and its remains formed Bayou Teche. Today Bayou Teche is 125 miles long and includes the beautiful Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge in St. Mary Parish.

St. Mary Parish is also home to the Gulf-Coast Baptist Association. A group of 15 southern baptist churches that partner together for the gospel in this coastal Louisiana community. Today, they are in need of our partnership and prayers as economic downturn and declining church attendance has greatly impacted this association. Here are some fast facts about this area:

12 Quick Facts about St. Mary Parish:

  1. It is located “right in the middle of everywhere” – about 50 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette.
  2. It is part of the Gulf Coast Baptist Associaton. Associational Missions Strategist is Steven Kelly. He is also the Pastor of Bayou Vista Baptist Church near Morgan City.
  3. 54,650 residents. 59% White, 33% Black, 5% Hispanic, 3% other.
  4. 14 Southern Baptist Churches. 1 church for every 3,904 residents. (Our state ratio and goal for each association is 1 church for every 2,850. Gulf Coast Association needs 5 more churches to get to that ratio).
  5. Only 1 African-American church and only 1 Hispanic church.
  6. Gulf Coast churches have averaged between 900 and 1100 in total worship attendance for the last 10 years, with a total of 1,019 in 2018. That’s only 1.9% of the total population.
  7. Bible Study or Sunday School attendance was at less than 1% in 2018 with 506 attendees.
  8. “Well, most people are Catholic in South Louisiana.” Not so fast. The ARDA reports that there are 24,662 nones in the parish, or religiously unaffiliated. That’s 45% of the population. 17,834 are Roman Catholic, or 33%. 9,885 evangelicals, or 18%.
  9. Crime is 26% higher that the state average and 48% higher than the U.S. average.
  10. Poverty is at 21%, which is 1% higher than the state and 6% higher than the U.S.
  11. Greatest needs according to Associational Missions Strategist Steven Kelly, are for an African-American congregation in Morgan City. A new Hispanic congregation may be needed. RePlanting and Revitalization partnerships are needed across the Gulf Coast.
  12. Also needed are Bivocational or Covocational Pastors and Planters who will plant their lives in these communities and see them reached for the gospel.

Pray for Tiger Island and the surrounding communities of St. Mary Parish.

You can see and hear the needs and opportunities yourself on April 3rd-4th, during our Gulf Coast Vision Tour. Connect with mission projects and partnership opportunities in this tough to reach Louisiana Association.

Register for the Vision Tour now!

Louisiana Baptist Church Planting Update

Louisiana Baptists Church Planting Advisory Council Meeting was held this month. This council is made up of pastors, lay leaders, and Associational Missions Strategists from across Louisiana. It has met continuously since 2009, assisting and giving oversight to the work of the Missions and Ministry Team in relation to Church Planting objectives and goals. The Council heard reports this month on New Churches across Louisiana, Church Planting Training, Compassion Ministry, and State Missions Offering allocations for Church Planting. Here’s a synopsis:

  • We are 86% to our goal of 300 new churches from 2010 to 2020.
  • There are 33 projected church plants for 2020. Two churches started in January. Six new churches in process for February.
  • 57% of new churches started since 2010 have been non-anglo. 82 African-American, 35 Hispanic, 12 Asian, 18 Other.
  • In the pipeline for 2020 – 8 new Hispanic churches, 2 Portugese, 2 Asian (Burmese and Cambodian).
  • 64 churches started in North Louisiana (25%);193 in South Louisiana (75%), including 70 new churches in New Orleans or 27%.
  • 3,749 Baptisms in church plants and replants since 2010 – 14.5 per church plant. (includes first 3 years of ministry)
  • 13,977 Commitments to Christ reported by new churches since 2010 – 54 per church plant. (includes first 3 years of ministry)
  • Because of the generous giving of Louisiana Baptist Churches to the Georgia Barnette State Mission Offering in 2019, we were able to increase supplements to church plants and replants by over $10,000 per plant and give each current church plant in Louisiana a bonus at the end of 2019.

Pray for Louisiana Church Planters who are on the front lines of reaching people and meeting needs in our state.

Connect with Louisiana Baptist Church Planting here – MultiplyLA.com.

On Facebook, check out our Multiply Louisiana Facebook Group.

Register Now for Children’s Mission Camp

Planning for summer camp will be here before you know it! Do you and your 1-6 grader at church have summer plans in late July? I am inviting you to take note of a special event for all children in our state-Children’s Mission Camp. This camp will be held at Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center on July 20-23 and July 24-26, 2020.

We are very excited about Children’s Mission Camp and we hope that you and your students are too! Camp will be a time for students to grow spiritually through worship, Bible study, and missions. It will also be a great time of recreation, swimming, crafts, and more!

There are many reasons to love Children’s Mission Camp! Imagine a week surrounded by new friends and those you have traveled with from your church. Combine this with fun camp activities, outdoor adventure, Bible study led by your college cabin counselor, and meeting missionaries who have spent their lives on the mission field. We do all of this to make Christ known and teach your students what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus! Did you know that each year of Children’s Mission Camp several students make a decision to follow Christ for the very first time? That is one reason we celebrate at Camp!

As we make these preparations, there are a few significant changes that I would like to let you know about. Several years ago Girls Mission Camp partnered with RA Camp at Tall Timbers for a combined Children’s Mission Camp! Essentially, we will operate as two separate camps happening at the same time on the same campus. We will share meal times and worship times, but a majority of our camp programming with run separately. We are so excited about this!

This year we will offer a camp July 20-23 and another one called Mini MAC (Mission Adventure Camp) July 24-26. Our theme is “The Great Adventure”!

We pray that your students will grow in their relationship with Jesus and their understanding and love for missions.

Children’s Mission Camp:
$180 (Early Bird)
$190 (Regular Registration)

Mini MAC:
$150 (Early Bird)
$160 (Regular Registration)

Registration Opens February 3, 2020.

Early Bird Registration Deadline: April 20, 2020

Registration Deadline: June 20, 2020

For additional information, email Jess.Archer@LouisianaBaptists.org 318.449.4266; mlcollie@suddenlink.net318-449-4280; www.talltimbers@talltimbersbcc.org 318-445-6797. We would love to see you there! Thanks!

Why Plant More Churches?

Recent Question from an honest member of a local church. “What’s the thinking behind the Louisiana Baptist Convention planting all these new churches? Why not just send more people to great churches like mine?” 

Answer: There are Three Major Problems with this kind of thinking as I see it.

  1. The problem of the numbers. How many does your church seat? “1,200”. Let’s say your church fills its building 4 times each week. That’ll be 4,800 people attending church. Praise God! I’ve studied your community, and there are actually 125,000 people that live there, and after much research, liberal estimates show that only 10% of them attend an evangelical church. Another 10% attend Roman Catholic churches based on research and liberal estimates. That still leaves 100,000 people that are not going to church anywhere. Where are we going to put that many people? If all the current evangelical churches in the community filled their facilities twice each Sunday, there would still be no room for the majority of these people.
  1. The problem of the people. I’ve been to your church and I like it. Most of the people look a lot like me and dress like me and the music fits what I like to listen to. I feel very comfortable there. The preaching speaks to me, because I’ve been in church all my life and I like good Bible preaching. However, did you know that there are a lot of those 100,000 people who have never been to church. They don’t know who Noah or Abraham or Moses are, and they would be a little lost just opening a Bible for the first time. They also listen to different kind of music, their lives look a lot different than mine and yours because of race, upbringing, past mistakes, etc. So, we need to start ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHURCHES, FOR ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE along with making our churches more comfortable for everyone.
  1. Saturation vs. Parish Strategy. Louisiana Baptists and most evangelicals have a saturation strategy of evangelism and church planting. Until EVERY PERSON has had the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel, we keep doing EVERYTHING we can to deliver the gospel and disciple them. And the Evangelical community has found that church planting is one of the most effective means of doing that. Roman Catholics and other liturgical churches have a Parish Strategy, meaning, we’re going to plan to have one church for an area or part of town, and assume that everybody that needs the gospel will respond at or through that church. It doesn’t consider the number of people, or types of people in the strategy, limiting the number of people that can be reached through the church.

Does that make sense?

Response: “YES! I understand!”

  1. I was actually thinking about how many people in my neighborhood don’t go to church. Out of 70+ homes there is only 2 or 3 of us that go to church on Sunday.
  2. And you know, you’re right, I wish they would, but they probably would not all feel comfortable in a church like mine.
  3. And yes, we believe we should do everything we can to share the gospel with our community.

What are some ways that my church could help??!!

Yes, There are Towns in Louisiana Without a Southern Baptist Church!

Louisiana has 304 Census Designated Areas, noted as cities, towns, and villages by the Census Bureau. A few years ago, out of curiosity, I did a little digging into how many of these might not have a Southern Baptist Church. I knew of a few, but didn’t expect that number to total almost 100! Now, if you’ve ever looked at this list, you won’t recognize many of these places unless you are from there. A few even have a population of less than 10! The Missions and Ministry Team has sought to keep this list updated and add it to the numerous things that play into good church planting strategy and missiology for Louisiana.

Not all of these places necessarily need a new church. Some of these towns have active churches near them. It’s not the objective of the Louisiana Baptist Mission and Ministry Team to start churches, just to say we did. If it’s a strategic need and if God calls His people to answer that need; we will assist in starting a church in these geographic locations.

Not all of these places are without evangelical witnesses. We are not saying that all of these places are without the witness of an evangelical congregation. We celebrate the work of faithful evangelical partners who are seeking to reach our state and we’re happy when we find that a community has an active witness of the Gospel in its midst. When we find that little to no active gospel witness is present, the priority rises.

Not all the places in Louisiana that have a church are saturated with the Gospel. A more shocking statistic than the number of communities without a Southern Baptist Church is the low percentage of people that actually attend the Southern Baptist and evangelical churches that are already in existence. Most parishes across Louisiana, have less than 10% of the population attending SBC churches on any given weekend. Many areas, even across the south, have too few churches to reach even 30% of its population with the gospel.

Louisiana’s need for new churches in no way compares with the need in other parts of North America. The fact that Louisiana has towns with no SBC churches has challenged me to remember pioneer areas across North America and the world with zero access to a gospel advancing community of believers. As a missionary friend says, “As you go to the church of your choice this weekend, remember those with no church to choose.” Let the reality of Louisiana’s need, remind us of the unfinished task before us in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.

How can we respond to places with no church?

  1. Pray! Pray for laborers (Luke 10:2). Pray for open doors (1 Corinthians 16:9).
  2. Take a vision tour. In 2020, our team will be conducting one day Vision Tours and Windshield Surveys in many of these towns with no SBC Church. Email me at lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org and let me know if you’d like to help with and be a part of these tours.
  3. Adopt a town to pray for and plan to reach out through a day of prayer walking or other outreach event. Let us know if you’d be interested in reaching out in a city or town without a church.

Where are these towns? Here’s a list of the top 50, listed by CDA / Town / City or Village, Parish, Association, and Population. Email me at lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org if you’d like the entire list, or if you know of other places in Louisiana that don’t have an SBC church presence.

Town/CityParishAssociationPopulation
1. TerrytownJeffersonNOBA24,216
2. Bayou CaneTerrebonneBayou21,173
3. EstelleJeffersonNOBA16,791
4. GardereEast Baton RougeBAGBR11,229
5. WoodmereJeffersonNOBA11,114
6. TimberlaneJeffersonNOBA10,655
7. South Fort PolkVernonVernon9,293
8. Oak HillsEast Baton RougeBAGBR8,980
9. Old JeffersonEast Baton RougeBAGBR8,283
10. GallianoLafourcheBayou7,650
11. Eden IsleSt. TammanyNSBA7,631
12. St. GabrielIbervilleBAGBR7,094
13. MerauxSt. BernardNOBA7,073
14. Village St. GeorgeEast Baton RougeBAGBR6,802
15. InniswoldEast Baton RougeBAGBR6,772
16. VacherieSt. JamesBAGBR5,689
17. ChackbayLafourcheBayou5,647
18. GramblingLincolnConcord Union5,184
19. ElmwoodJeffersonNOBA5,037
20. EastwoodBossierNWLA4,547
21. RichwoodOauchitaNELA3,378
22. Buras-TriumphPlaqueminesNOBA3,358
23. LutcherSt. JamesBAGBR3,345
24. BruslyWest Baton RougeBAGBR2,721
25. ChauvinTerrebonneBayou2,682
26. Abita SpringsSt. TammanyNorthshore2,584
27. Bayou GaucheSt. CharlesNOBA2,557
28. North Fort PolkVernonVernon2,432
29. EdgardSt. John the BaptistNOBA2,315
30. RosepineVernonVernon2,235
31. GaryvilleSt. John the BaptistNOBA2,225
32. Boothville-VenicePlaqueminesNOBA2,220
33. MontzSt. CharlesNOBA2,140
34. LabadievilleAssumptionBayou2,092
35. HendersonSt. MartinEvangeline1,885
36. Belle RoseAssumptionBayou1,837
37. ParadisSt. CharlesNOBA1,616
38. AmaSt. CharlesNOBA1,361
39. New SarpySt. CharlesNOBA1,203
40. CullenWebsterWebster-Claiborne1,133
41. PaincourtvilleAssumptionBayou1,070
42. EmpirePlaqueminesNOBA1,054
43. LeonvilleSt. LandryAcadia1,042
44. RosedaleIbervilleBAGBR983
45. Grand CoteauSt. LandryAcadia964
46. SupremeAssumptionBayou859
47. ParksSt. MartinEvangeline831
48. MermentauAcadiaAcadia815
49. KillonaSt. CharlesNOBA815
50. ConventSt. JamesBAGBR711

Check out our Engage Map for and interactive look at locations of Louisiana Baptist churches, church plants, and target locations for new churches – https://www.engagemap.org/louisianabaptists/EngageMap.

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

Check out the resources at LouisianaBaptists.org/RePlantReady for more information and first steps for RePlanting in Louisiana.