Category Archives: Louisiana Baptists
Recent Question from an honest member of a local church. “What’s the thinking of the Louisiana Baptist Convention (my employer), behind 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 any 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??!!
Pastor Charles Starnes went home to be with the Lord on December 29th, 2017. He served as Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Slidell for 32 years. During that time the church baptized 485 new believers and added 733 other members to their roles. They also gave over $1.5 million to the Cooperative Program and other missions causes. I remember Bro. Charles as a great encourager of church planters, which included me, after moving to St. Tammany Parish in 2001 to plant a church about 35 minutes from Calvary. Under Bro. Charles’ leadership Calvary was part of planting six new churches, including the first Hispanic SBC Church on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. I’ll never forget what he said at the constitution service of one of those church plants, Thompson Road Baptist Church in West Slidell. He said,
“Everyone always makes a big deal about Calvary planting churches. Thanks for the kind words, but I just thought that planting churches and missions is what every church was supposed to be doing.”
On another occasion he said it like this:
“Everybody makes a big deal about Calvary being part of planting churches. I always say, I didn’t know it was optional.”
Grateful for Bro. Charles and his vision for multiplication and encouragement for church planting everywhere. May his tribe increase.
With 27 Hispanic Church Plants since 2010, Louisiana Baptists have almost doubled the number of Hispanic Churches in our state through church planting.
Guillermo Mangieri, with Istrouma en Espanol in Baton Rouge, recently shared Four Realities Impacting Hispanic Ministry in the US with our Church Planting Network:
1. Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the U.S. – 50 million. And the U.S. has the 2nd largest population in the world.
2. Hispanics are receptive to the message of the Gospel.
3. 23% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. are under the age of 18.
4. The Hispanic population will continue to grow in the U.S. no matter what.
In Baton Rouge alone, there are 17,000 Hispanics. 4% of the population.
Are there Hispanics in your community that could be reached? Are there enough Hispanic churches and ministries to impact the growing population in your community? Let us know if we can help you assess your community and strategize to reach different people groups around your church.
Check out Dr. Daniel Sanchez’s book Hispanic Realities Impacting America for more info on Hispanic Ministry opportunities: http://ow.ly/6NJS30gCyao
On Monday, I reported on Louisiana’s healthiest and fastest growing churches, per Dr. Bill Day’s definition of churches that have:
- 10% growth over a 5 year period.
- At least one baptism per year in that period.
- An attender to baptism ratio of 15:1.
Who are some of the churches on this list? Take a look:
(NOTE: If you think a church should be on one of these list and they are not – there were some with high % growth, additions, and baptisms that did not make the 15:1 Attender to Baptism ratio cut. Also, there are 300 churches or so that do not turn in an Annual Church Profile annually).
Churches with the largest % growth between 2012 and 2016
- Life Point Community, Mansura, Pastor Jacob Crawford, grew by 317%, from 60 to 250.
- Ridge Memorial, Slidell, Pastor Paul Dabdoub, grew by 177%, from 26 to 72 regular attenders.
- Brushy Creek, Bancroft, Pastor Jerry L Hext, grew by 175%, from 20 to 55.
- The Church at Addis, Pastor Tom Shepard, grew by 161%, from 157 to 410.
- Christ’s Community Church, Denham Springs, Pastor Willis Easley, grew by 147%, from 273 to 675.
- Journey Church, Pineville, Pastor James Greer, grew by 138, from 356 to 849.
- Unity, Oak Grove, Pastor J. Kelly Coleman, grew by 112%, from 85 to 180.
- Calvary Spanish, Morgan City, Pastor Daniel Brown, grew by 91%, from 55 to 105.
- South Bossier, Bossier City, Pastor Chris Young, grew by 91%, from 140 to 267.
- First Baptist Church, Moss Bluff, Pastor Steve Bennett, grew by 81%, from 655 to 1,186.
Churches that Added the Most People between 2012 and 2016:
- Celebration Church, Metairie, Pastor Dennis Watson, added 2,750 attenders.
- First Baptist Church , Moss Bluff, Pastor Steve Bennett, added 531 attenders.
- Journey Church, Pineville, Pastor James Greer, added 493 attenders.
- Christ’s Community, Denham Springs, Pastor Willis Easley, added 402 attenders.
- East Leesville Baptist, Leesville, Pastor John Hebert, added 375 attenders.
- The Church at Addis, Pastor Tom Shepard, added 253 attenders.
- Cypress, Benton, Pastor John Fream, added 208 attenders.
- Life Point Community, Mansura, Pastor Jacob Crawford, added 190 attenders.
- First Baptist, Ruston, Pastor Chris Craig, added 189 attenders.
- South Bossier, Bossier City, Pastor Chris Young, added 127 attenders.
Baptisms by these churches between 2012 and 2016:
- Celebration Church, Metairie, Pastor Dennis Watson – 2,153
- Journey Church, Pineville, Pastor James Greer – 445
- Cypress Church, Benton, Pastor John Fream – 378
- His Church, Pineville, Pastor Steve Speer – 323
- First Baptist Ruston, Pastor Chris Craig – 310
- The Church at Addis, Pastor Tom Shepard – 285
- Christ’s Community, Denham Springs, Pastor Willis Easley – 281
- East Leesville, Leesville, Pastor John Hebert – 277
- Pine Ridge, Melder, Pastor Jason Townley – 276
- Life Point, Mansura, Pastor Jacob Crawford – 266
Recently I attended a seminar with Dr. Bill Day on evangelistic church growth. Dr. Day, defines a Healthy, Growing Church as a church that has had:
- 10% growth over a 5 year period.
- At least one baptism per year in that period.
- An attender to baptism ratio of 15:1.
I like this formula, because it helps us see that not every church that is a healthy church is a growing church. And not every church that is growing, grows by evangelistic growth. This formula cuts through the pack to get to the healthy, evangelistic, growing churches.
His research shows that in 2015, only 5.4% of the 40,000+ Southern Baptist churches in North America were healthy and growing by this definition. And this number is in decline! In 2007, it was 7.1%. In 2010, it was 6.8%.
Louisiana’s Healthy and Growing Churches
I was curious about Louisiana churches in regard to Dr. Day’s formula, so I asked Shana Johnson, Leader our Louisiana Baptist Information Services Team for a little help. Here’s the report:
- 163 Louisiana Baptist churches, or 10%, grew by 10% growth between 2012 and 2016.
- Only 88 Louisiana Baptist churches, or 5.4%, were healthy and growing churches between 2012 and 2016; with 10% growth, 1 baptism per year, and a 15:1 attender to baptism ratio.
Below is some info on these churches. More on some of the individual churches in the list later. Apply this formula to your church and see where you stand.
Where are these churches?
- 40 are in south Louisiana, 48 are in north Louisiana.
- 7 in NELA, 22 in NWLA, 15 in Central LA, 14 in SWLA, 30 in SELA.
How old are these churches?
- 7 are less than 10 years old
- 14 are 11-25 years old
- 10 are 26-50 years old
- 27 are 50-100 years old
- 32 are 100+ years old
What’s the size of these churches?
- 5,000+ – 1
- 1,000-4,999 – 3
- 500-999 – 6
- 250-499 – 13
- 100-249 – 31
- 1-99 – 35
By Louisiana Baptist Association:
- Acadia – 3
- Greater Baton Rouge – 5
- Bayou – 4
- Beaureguard – 2
- Bienville – 1
- Big Creek – 1
- Carey – 1
- Concord Union – 4
- Deer Creek – 1
- Delta – 2
- Desoto – 1
- Eastern LA – 5
- Evangeline – 2
- Gulf Coast – 3
- LaSalle – 2
- Louisiana – 2
- Moorehouse – 1
- Natchitoches – 4
- New Orleans – 4
- North Central – 2
- North Rapides – 3
- North Sabine – 4
- Northeast – 1
- Northshore – 8
- Northwest – 8
- Ouachita – 1
- Richland – 3
- Sabine – 2
- Vernon – 1
- Webster – 4
- William Wallace – 1
Wow! It’s been a busy summer! Great stuff, including celebrating 200 churches planted by Louisiana Baptist churches since 2010. Check out the above vid for some great quotes and highlights from the celebration. Here’s a few notes about the 200 plants:
- 200 Church Plants since 2010
- New Churches have been Planted in 91 different Louisiana Cities and Towns
- New Churches have been Planted in 25 different Louisiana Associations
- New Churches have been planted among 13 different people groups:
– 60 African-American
– 11 Asian
– 2 African Language
– 27 Hispanic
– 14 Multi-Ethnic by Design
- New Churches also include 21 Multi-Site developments and 25 RePlants
Great to be a part of this movement in Louisiana and across North America.
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?