Category Archives: Louisiana Baptists
Our Louisiana Baptists State Missions Offering, the Georgia Barnette Offering, is a great spark for missions all over Louisiana. In 2016, we received $1.58 million for the offering and this money is already at work across our state in 2017. Here’s some of the current expenditures:
- $15k in scholarships for ministerial students.
- $20k to help new churches and missions centers with equipment needs.
- $159k in church planting and compassion ministry funding for over 100 projects currently in years 1-3.
- $34k 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.
- $8k for African-American church planting development.
- $6k for Men’s, Women’s, and Kids Missions training and networking.
- $90k 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 and projects across Louisiana.
- $7k for Disaster Relief Training and Projects.
- $150k for the Here For You Media campaign.
Still around $927k to be distributed over the next eight months. It’s always a lot of fun to watch the Georgia Barnette offering at work! Find out more about the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering at GeorgiaBarnette.org. Promotional material for the 2017 Offering will be available in July. Watch for opportunities to give through your church this Fall. Let’s be faithful to provide this spark for missions in Louisiana!
2016 ACP (Annual Church Profile) Reports are in for Louisiana. The Annual Church Profile is collected by State Convention Communication and Information Services Departments and tallied together nationally by Lifeway. Our Information Services Department works hard to gather the data, even from churches that do not turn in the form, by calling them and asking for what data can be gathered over the phone. Most Associations do a good job helping churches see the importance. It is valuable for us to see how we are doing together and for our strategists to have good data as we plan church planting and missions efforts nationally. It also gets our state included in national data collection.
Here are a few highlights that I found interesting from this years ACP Reports:
- 86% or 1,376 Louisiana Baptist Churches reported. So 248 churches did not report.
- Total Worship Attendance for 2016 in Louisiana was 165,228. Which is 3.5% of Louisiana’s total population of 4,670,724.
- Total Resident Membership for 2016 was 357,631. Which is 7.7% of Louisiana’s total population.
- Total Baptisms reported – 10,214. Down almost 900 from the previous year. Baptisms declined in every age group, but most drastically among children and youth.
- Worship Attendance is down 8% since 2012.
- 791 or 57% of Louisiana congregations are <150 in Resident Membership
- 449 or 33% are between 150 and 499 in Resident Membership
- 136 or 10% are over 500 in Resident Membership.
- Out of 1,376 reporting congregations, 498 or 36% reported a decline in attendance from 2015-2016. 331 or 24% showed a decline of 10% or more.
- 551 or 40% reported a decline in Small Group Attendance. 25% had a decline of 10% or more. 656 out of 1,376 or 48% reported a decline over the last 10 years.
- Small Group Attendance is at an all-time low in Louisiana, dropping below 100,000 only the 2nd time in reported history.
- No congregation had showed a decline every year in the last 10 years.
A few takeaways:
- A decline continues to be noted in attendance and membership.
- The decline is not a doomsday 80% of churches, that we hear sometimes. 36% of churches, not 80% declined since last year. And NO CHURCH showed a decline every year in the last 10 years.
- Small Group attendance figures are alarming. Small Group attendance has dropped drastically for Southern Baptist in Louisiana. Part of this is probably due to programming issues. More churches doing two worship services, etc. But knowing how much great face to face discipleship happens in small groups, it grieves me to see these figures dropping so drastically.
- Noted decline among children and youth baptisms continue in Louisiana. In the 1990’s Louisiana Baptist were baptizing 5,000+ children and 4,000+ youth every year. This year only 2,597 children and 1,896 youth baptisms were reported. Prayers for the next generation.
What data point most interest you? What would you like to know from this years ACP data? What are your takeaways? Comments? etc.
The 2017 Generate Conference is a wrap. This years host and showcase church was North Monroe Baptist. Grateful to Pastor Bill Dye and staff for the generosity and hospitality. The Generate Conference is designed to help church planters in years 3 to 10 to get beyond growth barriers and leadership hurdles. Pastors and leaders in churches from >50 to <500 have also attended and took away actionable steps. With the Generate Conference we highlight the work of several Louisiana churches that have found ways to grow and break growth barriers in our unique context. Shawn Lovejoy, with Courage to Lead and Kirk Jones, Fellowship Church in Prairieville, also served as equippers this year, along with North Monroe’s staff. Here’s a few of my big takeaways this year:
From Bill Dye:
- You can’t be a great pastoral leader without having the heart of Jesus.
- Find a way to use new people. They are the best volunteers because they’ve bought in to the vision. Don’t wait to put them on ministry teams.
- Only person who likes change is a wet baby. Don’t attempt any substantial change until you’ve done at least one year of vision casting.
- Be willing to ignore and work around difficult people. Are you trying to win a fight or win the world for Christ.
- Let the quality of your work speak for itself. When you do tough things in a spirit of humility, your stock goes up with the right people.
- We’re not done when we make converts. Our mission is maturity.
- Church staff are not ministers, but administrators of ministry. We don’t pay people to minister. Everybody ministers.
From Shawn Lovejoy:
- The Three Gears of Growth: Culture – Team – Systems
- Growth depends not on your preaching ability but the ability to let go of control and build a great team.
- Decisions must be made based on who we might reach instead of who might leave.
- If you have the right culture and the right team, almost any system will work.
- You have to be the culture you want to build. We reproduce who we are.
- Behaviors of a High Performing Team: They Trust Each Other, They Engage in Healthy Conflict, They Commit to Decisions and Plans of Actions, They Focus on Collective, not Individual Results.
- Four things we owe our leaders: Clarity, Grace, Honesty, and Proper Placement.
- God will not bring you more followers than you have leaders.
- A learning church is a growing church. A learning leader is a growing leader.
- Church staff is to be the equippers, not to do ministry, but to develop ministers.
Other presenters were: Jacob Crawford, Life Point Mansura; Chad Merrell, First West Fairbanks; Jason McGuffie, FBC Tallulah.
Look forward to highlighting other growing churches and leaders in 2018. Lots to learn from those right around us.
Our first Greenhouse 2.0 is a wrap. Thanks to Alan Briggs for sharing his passion for multiplication with us. A few big takeaways:
>> The Western Church is suffering from a sense of suburban homelessness, never at home in its local neighborhood.
>> We worship IMPACT, but the gospel calls us to FAITHFUL PRESENCE.
>> Do I have any long-term meaningful relationships with not yet believers?
>> Love your neighbors. Not the ones you pick out for yourself, but the ones you actually have.
>> We will reap the harvest of the habits we build into our regular rhythms.
>> Don’t try to boil the ocean, just do the next right thing.
>> What lies are you believing about those in proximity to you?
61% of Louisiana Baptist churches that reported attendance in 2015, reported 100 or below (that’s 984 out of 1,624 churches). I hope every church grows larger this year, but I appreciated Dan Reiland’s recent article on The Great Value of Churches Under 100.
1) Large churches don’t appeal to everyone.
2) Some towns and cities can’t support a big church.
3) Small churches can move and respond quickly.
4) Small churches can have a big impact from specialized ministries.
5) Small churches can offer a personalized touch.
Got me thinking about the impact these churches have as a group, so looked up some numbers for 2015 (2016 data is still being collected).
The 984 Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana that reported between 1 and 100 in worship attendance in 2015:
- Represent 48,059 Worshippers
- Baptized 3,403 souls
- Gave $3.7 million to the Cooperative Program
- Gave $1.7 million to their local Baptist Associations
- Gave $1.5 million to SBC Special Missions Offerings ($639k to Lottie Moon, $468k to Annie Armstrong, $420k to Georgia Barnette).
Not insignificant numbers. And this is not just in Louisiana. 82% of churches across the country are less than 125.
- Don’t be satisfied with 100, but celebrate what the small church can offer to the community.
- Don’t just communicate about resources that are helpful to big churches. Let’s remember the big church tends to be the exception across America.
During the 2016 Louisiana floods, I took a lot of calls from young pastors looking for answers on how to respond. I would ask them, “Are you SBC DR Certified?” They’d usually say, “I don’t know.” After talking through various opportunities for the SBC DR Certified churches and volunteers and those that weren’t, the question would be, often times with frustration, “Well, how do I get my church SBC DR Certified?!!??” I’d usually say, “The answer most likely lies in your deleted email folder.” Throughout the year, SBC DR trainings take place around the country. Directors of Missions and State Conventions email and mail invites. They’re well attended, but mostly by older congregations and already trained volunteers. We could talk about why younger pastors and congregations are deleting these invites and seeing them as irrelevant to them:
- No cool factor because the source is associations and state conventions maybe
- Associations and state conventions haven’t learned the communication handles and tactics for this generation maybe
Whatever the case, these meetings are the place to get your Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Certifications and Credentials. I’ve been to them. I always enjoy them. Great people. Great info. Don’t delete. Get registered. Get ready to respond. In this fallen world, disasters will happen. It’s not if, but when. SBC DR certification can expand your opportunities for ministry when and wherever disaster strikes.
Get Info and Register for our first Disaster Relief Roundtable and Training in Louisiana, February 3-4 in Hammond HERE. Training for Feeding Units, Shower/Laundry Trailer, Assessment, Mud Out, Chainsaw Crews. Check with your State Convention or local Baptist Associations to find out when training is happening.
Twelve Louisiana parishes touch I-20 & is home to 16% of our states population. Two of Louisiana’s nine Metropolitan Statistical areas are on I-20 – Shreveport-Bossier & Monroe-West Monroe. About 83% of the population of I-20 live in these two areas. This area is also home to around 30,000 college students each year, in four great universities – La Tech (12,014 students), Grambling University (4,553 students), University of Louisiana-Monroe (8,800 students), LSU-Shreveport (4,383 students). This part of Louisiana is more true Bible belt than south Louisiana, with evangelical populations near 50% across the I-20 corridor. But many churches in this area are in decline & in need of change to reach younger generations. Church Planting & church revitalization strategies are greatly needed moving forward. Here’s some data for us to get the strategy wheels turning:
- Population of I-20 Corridor is 737,504. Up 1% since 2010. Fastest growing parishes were Bossier (7% increase), Lincoln – where Louisiana Tech is located (up 2%), & Ouachita – West Monroe & Monroe (Up 2%). The other 9 parishes are projecting drops in population from 1%-6%.
- There are 364 SBC churches in the parishes that touch I-20 for a church to population ratio of 1/2,026.
- 47,989 residents worship in an SBC Church in 2015. Only 6.5% of the population. Worship attendance dropped by 7% since 2010. Only three of the 9 associations across I-20 experienced an increase in worship attendance since 2010 – Madison, Concord-Union, & Webster-Claiborne.
- Only 4.4% of the population attended Bible Study in an SBC Church. 32,604 residents. Bible Study attendance dropped by 10% since 2010. Only one of the nine associations along I-20 experienced an increase in Bible Study attendance since 2010 – Madison.
Current Louisiana Baptists Planters along I-20:
- Cleto Perez – Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida – Arcadia
- Miguel Barrios – Filadelfia Baptist Mission – Bernice
- Barnabas Son – Monroe Korean Baptist Church – West Monroe
- Richard Thomas – Gethsemane Baptist Church – Shreveport
- Carranza Johns – Hip Hope Church – Shreveport
- Trandy Wade – New Life Journey Baptist Church – Bossier City
- Ivory Jackson – North Star Baptist Church – Shreveport
- Roy Thomas – St. James Baptist Church – Shreveport
- Greg Shyne – United Outreach Church – Shreveport
- Daniel Hernandez – Broadmoor Hispanic Mission – Shreveport
- Miguel Guillen – First Hispanic Church, Haughton
- Mt. Kham Nang – First Zo Baptist Church – Bossier City
Louisiana has 9 METROpolitan areas and 9 MICROpolitan areas. The only difference, according to the Census Bureau is proximity to a large city.
“Micropolitan cities do not have the economic or political importance of large cities, but are nevertheless significant centers of population and production, drawing workers and shoppers from a wide local area.”
These are some of my favorite places in Louisiana – Natchitoches, Ruston, Bogalusa, Morgan City, DeRidder, Fort Polk, Bastrop, Jennings (actually not a favorite place b/c they knocked my team out of the High School baseball playoffs my Sr. year. Yea, I’m bitter. Lol!) And the largest of these is the Opelousas-Eunice Micropolitan Area. It’s also the least churched of these nine as well, with Morgan City close behind.
How do you plant a church in a Micropolitan area? Well, Christ Church Opelousas is doing great job at showing us the way. Stuart Amidon is the church planter and in their 30th month of existence they have over 80 in worship attendance and are looking at expanding their capacity and making other things happen to prepare for the next wave of growth. What’s the story? What lessons can we learn from Christ Church Opelousas?
1. Keep a Positive Outlook
Stuart has a very positive, hopeful attitude. Slow growth can be discouraging and frustrating at times for church planters in small towns. Managing expectations with faith and a smile is essential for leading a church at this level, because the people see how everything effects you personally. Positive attitude inspired by a close relationship with a sovereign God is a must for church planting wherever you are.
2. Reach out to the Downcast
Christ Church Opelousas meets in the chapel of a rehab center in Opelousas, so much of their core group were people at the bottom working their way up. Church Planting works best in the well cultivated soil of people that know they need Christ and other people. Christ Church has developed out of that soil, so life change along with grace and mercy are front and center.
3. Plan on a Bivocational Approach
Stuart serves a local school. Planting in small towns such as Opelousas may require a bivocational approach. Don’t resist it. Much good comes from being in the community and one of the community, in the workforce. Bivocational ministry also forces multiplication of leaders as the pastor is not there everyday to take care of all the work of the church. And the sooner multiplication takes place the faster the church plants capacity for growth can expand.
4. Get Involved in a Good Network
Christ Church Opelousas is part of a network of Christ Churches that work in small communities across Acadiana. Stuart also participates in our Multiply Louisiana network meetings as able. Research has shown the validity of church planting networks. In the Church Plant Survivability and Health Study realeased in 2007, by the North American Mission Board, a survey found that church plant survivability increased by 135% when a planter met with a group of church planting peers regularly. Another survey of 600 church planters revealed that first year attendance was over 50 percent greater in the churches planted by those participating in a peer network. (see my post on The Importance of a Church Planting Peer Network). I like to say, one of the best things that planting a church has done for me is drive away my independence. To plant in a small town you will need others!
I’m excited about Christ Church Opelousas. Pray for them as they continue to reach out to their community. Keep up with Christ Church Opelousas on Facebook.
75% of 2016 is in the can. Here’s a report of this years Church Planting efforts among Louisiana Baptist Churches:
- We’re at 29 Church Plants for the year. Just 1 away from our annual goal of 30. We should finish the year with 34-36. Making 2016 another record year for church planting in Louisiana.
- 2 in North Louisiana, 27 in South Louisiana.
- 13 in New Orleans, 7 on the I-12, 3 in Baton Rouge, 2 in Lake Charles, 2 in Central LA, 1 in Lafayette, 1 in Houma/Thibodaux.
- 12 Anglo, 11 African-American, 3 Multi-Ethnic, 2 Hispanic, 1 Asian.
- 7 Multi-Site Developments, 6 Re-Plants
- $1,023,117 in Cooperative Funding invested in Church Planting supplements so far in 2016.
- $220,000 in Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering Grants invested in Church Plants so far in 2016.
- 1,004 New Commitments to Christ & 292 Baptisms reported by our Church Planters so far this year.
Grateful for the work God is doing through our church plants & our together giving through Cooperative Program & State & National Missions Offerings.
Check out some other things happening with Church Planting in Louisiana in our October E-Newsletter.
Today we celebrate a significant milestone for Louisiana Baptists: 150 churches planted since 2010. Our goal is 300 by 2020, so this puts us at the half way mark. Proud of our planters & their families who have risked much for the Gospel in some hard to reach Louisiana communities. Grateful for sponsor / sending churches that have given of themselves to help new works start. Also grateful for Southern Baptist churches who have given generously to the Cooperative Program & state & national mission offerings to help provide resources & training for these 150 church plants. We look forward with great anticipation to the next 150. Join me in praying today for laborers, partners, & planters for the next 150 new churches & beyond!
Here’s a breakdown of the 150 that shows a bit of the impact of church planting in our state:
- The 150 churches were planted in 75 Different Towns or Cities,
- 21 of the 32 Baptist Associations in Louisiana were involved in church planting since 2010.
- Church Plants engaged 13 different people groups in Louisiana since 2010.
- The 150 churches included 31 in North Louisiana (21%) & 119 (79%) in South Louisiana where the majority of population is.
- The 150 church plants include 58 Anglo (39%), 49 African-American (33%), 25 Hispanic (17%), 8 Asian (5%), 10 Multi-Ethnic by design.
- 17 of the 150 (11%) churches planted were Multi-Site Campus Multiplication of other healthy congregations.
- 20 of the 150 (13%) churches planted were RePlants located on Baptist properties that had been or were very near closure.
- 12 of the 150 (8%) closed after 1 year.
- 129 of the 150 (86%) received cooperative funding through the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
- The 150 church plants have baptized at least 2,535 new believers. .
Grateful for the work God is doing through our church plants & our together giving through Cooperative Program & State & National Missions Offerings.
Too Many Churches?
Every now & then, someone comments to me that we are planting too many churches in Louisiana. My answer:
- Church to Population Ratio. South Louisiana is well above national levels of church to population ratio with some communities, like the Lafayette area, near 1 church to every 10,000 residents. Our state goal is to get every association to our state average of 1 church to every 2,850 residents. Many north Louisiana communities are well below that. Church planting helps us close this gap.
- Percentage of the population actually attending churches are sinking across our state. This reflects the fact that many churches are in decline &/or churches are not growing as fast as their populations. Church Planting is needed to help close this gap, create more capacity for evangelism, & reach every people group & population segment in our community.
- 3%. Bill Easum has said that denominations & networks must plant 3% of their total population annually just to keep from being in decline. For us as Louisiana Baptists, with 1,600 churches, that would mean having a goal of 48 new churches each year. At that point our goal of 30 is quite conservative & reflects a priority to reach other areas of our nation with much lower levels of evangelical population.
- Saturating Our Communities with the Gospel. Our Southern Baptist strategy & that of other Evangelical partners, has always been a SATURATION strategy. We’re committed to doing ALL we can to get the gospel to EVERY person in our communities. Church plants are evangelistic by nature & by necessity. Existing churches tend to grow less evangelistic over time. We need church plants in every community to stay on the evangelistic edge & saturate every corner of our state with the Gospel.
Check out these resources to help you get started on your church planting journey:
- Does My Community Need a New Church? The Right Questions & Key Indicators
- 10 Biblical & Practical Ways to Get Involved in Church Planting
- Every Church Can Encourage Church Planting and Multiplication
- Every Church Can Be a Church Planting Partner
- Your Church Can Be a Parent to a New Church or Campus
- 5 Things You MUST Do Before Your Plant a Church