Category Archives: Louisiana Baptists
A little update from my day job….
Louisiana Baptists Church Planting Advisory Council Meeting was held yesterday. The Council heard reports on New Churches across Louisiana, Church Planting Training, Compassion Ministry, and State Missions Offering allocations for Church Planting. Here’s a synopsis:
- 86% to our goal of 300 new churches from 2010 to 2020.
- 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 Offeringin 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.
Lake Charles is projected to be one of the fastest growing communities in Louisiana for years to come. Oil and gas and chemical manufacturing are booming and have only slowed down slightly with drops in oil prices. Carey Baptist Association and Director of Missions Bruce Baker serve this area, representing Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. Planters and partners are needed to reach a growing population and a key area for our state for years to come. Check out some data on this area:
- Population of Carey Baptist Association: 241,662 (up 3% since 2010). Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, and Cameron Parishes.
- Worship Attendance in 72 SBC churches: 9,128 Only 3.8% of the population worshipped in a SBC church on any given weekend in 2018.
- Bible Study Attendance: 5,227 (down 20% since 2010). Only 2.2% of the population attended Bible Study in an SBC church on any given weekend in 2018.
- 72 SBC churches for a church to population ration of 1 to 3,356 residents. Our state average & our goal for each association is 1 to 2,850. NAMB suggests 1 to 2,000 as a good mark. 12 new churches would be needed to get to 1 to 2,850 in the Lake Charles area.
- 57 SBC churches in Calcasieu Parish for 1 to 3,563. 10 churches in Jefferson Davis Parish for 1 to 3,158.
- Only 10 non-Anglo SBC churches for 1 to 6,714 church to non-anglo population.
- Evangelical Population: 59,161 or 24% of the population.
- Those with No Religious Affiliation or None’s: 65,878 or 27% of the population. So there are now more None’s than Evangelicals.
- Roman Catholic Population: 83,950 or 35% of the population.
- Mainline Protestant: 11,157 or 5% of the population.
- 7,302 students currently attend McNeese St. University.
- 63% of Carey Association churches are under 100 in attendance. 38% under 50 in attendance.
- 28% of Carey Association churches with zero baptisms in 2018.
- Projected Job Growth is 2.5% in 2020 and 3.1% in 2021.
Pray for planters and partners.
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 go; 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 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 attend the Southern Baptist 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?
- Pray! Pray for laborers (Luke 10:2). Pray for open doors (1 Corinthians 16:9).
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you’d like to help with these tours.
- 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. 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.
- Terrytown – Jefferson – NOBA – 24,216
- Bayou Cane – Terrebonne – Bayou – 21,173
- Estelle – Jefferson – NOBA – 16,791
- Gardere – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 11,229
- Woodmere – Jefferson – NOBA – 11,114
- Timberlane – Jefferson – NOBA – 10,655
- South Fort Polk – Vernon – Vernon – 9,293
- Oak Hills – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 8,980
- Old Jefferson – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 8,283
- Galliano – Lafourche – Bayou – 7,650
- Eden Isle St. Tammany NSBA 7,631
- St. Gabriel Iberville BAGBR 7,094
- Meraux St. Bernard NOBA 7,073
- Village St. George East Baton Rouge BAGBR 6,802
- Inniswold East Baton Rouge BAGBR 6,772
- Vacherie St. James BAGBR 5,689
- Chackbay Lafourche Bayou 5,647
- Grambling Lincoln Concord Union 5,184
- Elmwood Jefferson NOBA 5,037
- Eastwood Bossier NWLA 4,547
- Richwood Oauchita NELA 3,378
- Buras-Triumph Plaquemines NOBA 3,358
- Lutcher St. James BAGBR 3,345
- Brusly West Baton Rouge BAGBR 2,721
- Chauvin Terrebonne Bayou 2,682
- Abita Springs St. Tammany Northshore 2,584
- Bayou Gauche St. Charles NOBA 2,557
- North Fort Polk Vernon Vernon 2,432
- Edgard St. John the Baptist NOBA 2,315
- Rosepine Vernon Vernon 2,235
- Garyville St. John the Baptist NOBA 2,225
- Boothville-Venice Plaquemines NOBA 2,220
- Montz St. Charles NOBA 2,140
- Labadieville Assumption Bayou 2,092
- Henderson St. Martin Evangeline 1,885
- Belle Rose Assumption Bayou 1,837
- Paradis St. Charles NOBA 1,616
- Ama St. Charles NOBA 1,361
- New Sarpy St. Charles NOBA 1,203
- Cullen Webster Webster-Claiborne 1,133
- Paincourtville Assumption Bayou 1,070
- Empire Plaquemines NOBA 1,054
- Leonville St. Landry Acadia 1,042
- Rosedale village Iberville BAGBR 983
- Grand Coteau St. Landry Acadia 964
- Supreme Assumption Bayou 859
- Parks village St. Martin Evangeline 831
- Mermentau village Acadia Acadia 815
- Killona St. Charles NOBA 815
- Convent St. James BAGBR 711
Dr. Bill Day, Church Growth and Evangelism Professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, defines a Healthy and 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. It is also a formula that includes smaller membership churches that often get left out of the lists that are only based on the biggest numbers.
2018 Data is in, and we’re currently collecting the Annual Church Profiles for 2019. Here’s a look at Healthy and Growing Churches among Louisiana Baptists in 2018:
- 150 Louisiana Baptist churches, or 9%, grew by 10% growth between 2014 and 2018. That’s down from 161 in 2017 and 163 in 2016.
- Only 60 Louisiana Baptist churches, or 4%, were healthy AND growing churches between 2014 and 2018; with 10% growth, 1 baptism per year, and a 15:1 attender to baptism ratio.
Where are these churches?
- 19 are in south Louisiana, 41 are in north Louisiana.
- 24 along I-20, 17 in Central LA, 5 in SWLA, 9 on the I-12, 1 in New Orleans, 4 in Baton Rouge.
How old are these churches?
- 3 are less than 10 years old
- 3 are 11-25 years old
- 8 are 26-50 years old
- 20 are 50-100 years old
- 26 are 100+ years old
What’s the size of these churches?
- 5,000+ – 1
- 1,000-4,999 – 0
- 500-999 – 4
- 250-499 – 11
- 100-249 – 23
- 1-99 – 21
Who are these Churches?
Top 25 Churches with the largest % growth between 2014 and 2018:
- United Outreach, Shreveport – grew by 68% from 90 to 280, baptizing 126 between 2014 and 2018.
- Heflin, Heflin – grew by 67% from 100 to 300, baptizing 56.
- Gandy, Florien – grew by 53% from 53 to 70, baptizing 79.
- Unity, Cotton Valley – grew by 49% from 57 to 112, baptizing 138.
- Christ’s Community, Denham Springs – grew by 44% from 423 to 750, baptizing 417.
- Grawood, Keithville – grew by 44% from 192 to 340, baptizing 98.
- Fellowship on Airline, Gonzales – grew by 44% from 95 to 170, baptizing 28.
- Midway, Ponchatoula – grew by 44% from 20 to 36, baptizing 18.
- Bethany, Bethany – grew by 41% from 62 to 112, baptizing 89.
- Newton, Delhi – grew by 41% from 50 to 85, baptizing 98.
- Trinity, Hammond – grew by 40% from 90 to 150, baptizing 26.
- Bethel, West Monroe – grew by 40% from 45 to 75, baptizing 25.
- Old Zion Hill, Independence – grew by 39% from 200 to 330, baptizing 97.
- First, Castor – grew by 39% from 55 to 90, baptizing 23.
- Memorial, Monroe – grew by 38% from 40 to 65, baptizing 29.
- First, Pine Prairie – grew by 35% from 163 to 250, baptizing 37.
- Oak Forest, Leesville – grew by 34% from 56 to 85, baptizing 52.
- Lighthouse, Shreveport – grew by 33% from 40 to 60, baptizing 40.
- First, Robeline – grew by 33% from 170 to 255, baptizing 227.
- Celebration Church, Metairie – grew by 32% from 5,233 to 7,656, baptizing 2,764.
- Bethsadia, Many – grew by 30% from 35 to 50, baptizing 57.
- Unity, Oak Grove – grew by 29% from 100 to 154, baptizing 193.
- Open Door Fellowship, Coushatta – grew by 28% from 90 to 125, baptizing 73.
- Mangham, Mangham – grew by 27% from 110 to 150, baptizing 35.
- First, Holden – grew by 27% from 62 to 85, baptizing 33.
Churches that Added the Most People between 2014 and 2018:
- Celebration Church, Metairie, added 2,423 people.
- Christ’s Community, Denham Springs, 327 people.
- Heflin, Heflin, added 200 people.
- United Outreach, Shreveport, added 190 people.
- Grawood, Keithville, added 148 people.
- Old Zion Hill, Independence, added 130 people.
- Addis, First, added 127 people.
- His Church, Pineville, added 126 people.
- First, Pine Prairie, added 85 people.
- First, Robeline, added 75 people.
Top 10 Baptisms by these churches from 2014 to 2018:
- Celebration Church (SBC), Metairie – 2764
- First, Haughton – 425
- Christ’s Community, Denham Springs – 417
- Philadelphia, Deville – 370
- His Church, Pineville – 311
- Addis, First – 277
- First, Robeline – 227
- Unity, Oak Grove – 193
- Trinity, Many – 149
- Unity, Cotton Valley – 138
Do you think your church should be on the list? Remember the criteria:
- Does your church have 5 years of history?
- What is the ratio of attendance to baptism? Must be 15:1.
- Did your church turn in an Annual Church Profile all of the 5 years?
- Did your church baptize at least 1 person each year?
- Did your church grow by 10% over the 5 year period?
Email me for a copy of the full report and list of churches on this list, along with all the churches that grew by 10% over the last five years in Louisiana – email@example.com.
This year, our Louisiana Baptist Missions and Ministry Team held 10 weeks of Summer Network gatherings across Louisiana, and we tried to hit some of our more rural areas and associations. Though 75% of Louisiana is considered Urban by the Census Bureau. A few observations about ministry in Rural Louisiana in 2019:
- There is a growing shortage of pastors. There are associations in our state with 20-25% of their churches without pastors.
- There are more retirees entering the ministry. We met several amazing men who had retired from secular employment and are now pastoring churches! We also have several planting churches! How about ministry as an ENCORE career.
- Rural Pastors are finding innovative ways to meet the changing ministry environments they are in. Addiction, homelessness, poverty are major issues in rural areas, just as in urban areas, and on the minds of pastors. Churches are finding ways to address these. Encouraging.
- Rural Pastors are heroes. They do it without fanfare or abundant resources. I have been inspired by the enthusiasm of young and old pastors in rural areas this summer. Their church of 40 people may seem insignificant, but in a community with 600 people, they are a mega church!
- Relationships among churches and among pastors are lifelines for the stresses of ministry in rural areas. Associational coaching networks are forming. Pastors with education are mentoring pastors who did not have the opportunity. Encouraged by the kingdom mindset across our state.
- Smaller, rural churches have suffered from transfer growth as many older Christians choose to drive out of their community to a larger church in another town. Heard this observation several times from rural pastors this summer in relation to the struggle to find mature Christians to lead. There are seasoned Christians giving up on the small, local church.
- Rural communities are attractive to families and are growing in population and income level. From younger retirees to families that want more space and don’t mind a 45 minute to 1 hour commute daily, demographics are changing in many of our rural areas.
I am a product of rural churches. These churches gave me a great foundation of faith. Ministry looks differently, may move slower, but continues to be fruitful for life change and making disciples. Praying for our Rural pastors and churches.
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.
Register for a luncheon HERE.
My only experience in Terrytown and that of many others I’ve spoken with is driving through on the way to fishing destinations south of New Orleans. Terrytown is currently at the top of our list of places in Louisiana that need a new church.
12 Quick Facts about Terrytown:
- It’s located on the eastern side of Jefferson Parish on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.
- It is a part of New Orleans Baptist Association.
- It’s name came from the original developer of residential homes in communities south of New Orleans. He had a daughter named Terry, so yep, he got to name it. Terrytown!
- Population is listed at 23,319. The zip code of 70056 shows a population of 41,330.
- It is one of the most densely populated areas in Louisiana.
- Poverty rate is high: 26%. Compared to 20% across all of Louisiana and 15% across the U.S.
- Terrytown is very diverse: 36% Black, 32% White, 24% Hispanic, 5% Asian.
- To note the growth in diversity in this area: In 2000, Terrytown was 50% white, 34% black, and only 9% Hispanic.
- Crime is high: Violent crime is 50% higher than the national average and about 40% higher than the state average. Property crime is 37% higher than the national and state averages.
- There is currently no Southern Baptist Church in Terrytown. And relatively few evangelical churches. Pray with me for a new church or three in this diverse community.
- Jefferson Parish is Louisiana’s 2nd largest parish with 439,000 residents. Best numbers show the religious makeup as 15% evangelical, 33% catholic, and 46% nones.
- If these % are true of Terrytown, then there are 3,498 evangelicals, 7,695 Roman Catholics, and 10,727 people unaffiliated with any church.
Let’s pray for Terrytown!
What other interesting facts do you know about Terrytown? Interested in helping reach out and plant a church in this community?
Louisiana Baptists have planted 22 Churches so far in 2018.
- 6 in North Louisiana, 16 in South Louisiana
- 6 in New Orleans
- 13 non-Anglo. 8 African-American, 3 Hispanic, 1 Asian, 1 Multi-Ethnic
- 234 Churches Planted
- 56 in north Louisiana, 178 in south Louisiana
- 61 in New Orleans
- 128 non-Anglo. 70 African-American, 31 Hispanic, 10 Asian, 17 Other
Our goals have been to plant 300 churches by 2020; to plant more in south Louisiana where 70% of the population lives; at least 20% of plants in New Orleans where 20% of our population lives; and to plant more non-Anglo churches, increasing the diversity in Louisiana Baptist life.
- Since 2010, Church Plants have reported 13,208 Professions of Faith and 3,536 Baptisms. Church Planting continues to be one of the best ways to evangelize communities.
- Since 2010, churches have been planted in 100 of Louisiana’s 304 cities and towns and 41 of Louisiana’s 64 Parishes.
- Now, RePlanting is ramping up, with 25% of last years new works being replants and 40% this year.
66 churches away from our 2020 goal of 300. With each new church comes new brothers and sisters in Christ, new fronts on meeting real needs in communities, and more glory for our great God as the gospel bears its fruit across Louisiana.
You can be a part:
This month, Louisiana Baptists will mark new churches number 228 and 229, since 2010. The goal is 300 by 2020. We’ve passed the milestones of 10,000 new commitments to Christ, and celebrated 150 and 200 churches planted. Another interesting stat to watch for me has been the breadth of church planting in Louisiana. With the next two plants, we’ll mark the 100th city or town to have a new church planted in it since 2010. And keep in mind, Louisiana only has 304 incorporated cities and towns. Grateful for our church planters, partner church’s, and all who contribute to the Cooperative Program and State Missions Offerings to see churches planted across Louisiana.
We actually still have some significant towns without a Southern Baptist church in Louisiana, and a few with little or no evangelical presence. So our work continues…
And if you’re wondering WHY? Why plant churches in Louisiana, see my post entitled Recent Q&A: Why Plant Churches.
New Orleans is extremely important to Louisiana & our efforts to reach & resource churches there should be of highest priority.
- 21% of the Population of Louisiana live in the New Orleans Baptist Association’s five parishes. (991,000 is the latest estimate)
- Includes Louisiana’s second largest & most diverse Parish – Jefferson
- Louisiana’s largest metro area, with over 1.2 Million living in the Governments statistical area.
- One of the United States’ most influential ports & tourism industries.
- And an often quoted fact: the North American Mission Board’s original charter mentions the necessity of reaching New Orleans.
How are we doing at reaching the Big Easy?
- Church to Population Ratio: 1/7,929. Our state goal is to see every association at 1/2,850.
- % of the Population attending Worship in an SBC Church: Only 2.1%. (Hard to estimate as only about 60% of the church fill out an ACP – Annual Church Profile)
- % Evangelical Population: 11% (according to thearda.com).
- Unaffiliated Population (Nones): 432,270 (according to thearda.com)
The churches of New Orleans have endured much & are a strong lot that do great work reaching its population. And the story God has began writing through church planting over the last few years, in my opinion, is historic & amazing.
- In 2012, New Orleans became a Send City in the North American Mission Board’s Send City Strategy & George Ross became the Send City Coordinator.
- In May 2013, we held the first Send City Strategy meeting at Celebration Church to coordinate strategy & try to open a door for church planting to make a difference in the area.
- Since that time, 43 new churches have been planted. 57 since 2010 when our current state strategy began.
- Louisiana Baptists have now gone over $2 million of cooperative funding invested in New Orleans for Church Planting since the beginning of Send New Orleans in 2012. Not including NAMB or Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering grants for startup & building renovation cost.
- A wide door of opportunity has indeed opened for the next generation of churches to be planted in New Orleans.
New Orleans is a tough place to minister & we have some incredible young families laboring to plant literally in some of Louisiana’s toughest neighborhoods. I’m inspired by their courage & hard work & pray for them by name on a weekly basis.
Follow much of what is happening in church planting in New Orleans on the Send New Orleans Facebook page. And you can get info on our planters in New Orleans by checking out the Planter profiles at NAMB.net.