Category Archives: Week in Review

Planting in Unreached Avoyelles, Realistic Church Planting Expectations, and Other Things from this Week

1. Replanting on the Northshore

Last week I reported that there are 18 ongoing Re-Starts or Re-Plants going on in Louisiana. Met this week with leader of one of the latest going on in the Covington area. Derek Kitterlin is replanting Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church near Barker’s Corner. FBC Mandeville is providing sponsorship. A Re-Plant is one in which a church dies to become something new. Usually includes a building, but not always. New identity & organization is birthed. Systems are restored that lead to evangelism & discipleship. We’re seeing great success across Louisiana with up to 1,000% turnarounds in attendance on sites that were struggling. Attendance is already doubled at the site of the former Pilgrim’s Rest. Looking forward to seeing how this develops. Another great turnaround in the works!

2. Planting in Unreached Avoyelles

Got to meet this week with church planters in Avoyelles Parish. Avoyelles is one of Louisiana’s poorest parishes. It also had several towns that have NEVER had a SBC church. That is changing now!

  • Life Point Church was planted in 2007 in Marksville. They’ve since moved to Mansura & have spawned a mini-church planting movement.
  • Point-of-Life Church is being planted by Norris Landry in Plaucheville. So many great stories already coming out of this work. Bro. Norris retired to plant a church. I tell him, he flunked retirement J. Land has been purchased already. Despite some mild persecution by the local Catholic church, the work goes forward.
  • Bayou Life Church is being planted by Louis Charrier in Cottonport. Louis has planted 19 churches in Louisiana. Great work going on in one of Louisiana’s largest towns without a SBC Church.
  • Grace Point Church is being planted in Simmesport by Jacob Crawford. Simmesport is a key stop between Baton Rouge & Central Louisiana. It also has a ferry into the Angola State Penitentiary. Looking forward to seeing this work develop.
  • James Baptist Church is being planted in Bunkie by Reginald Arvie. This is a partnership between one of Louisiana’s oldest churches, St. James Bayou Chicot, started by Joseph Willis in the early 1800’s, & one of Louisiana’s newest churches, Life Point Mansura. Great story!

3. Church Planting FAQ: How Am I Doing Really?

Most weeks I meet with church planters whose works are not meeting expectations. Their own expectation &/or that of the sponsor church(es). We’re establishing some standards for average & median attendance & giving in church plants at certain points in development in Louisiana to help planters & partners manage expectations. And Lifeway has provided a helpful study called The State of Church Planting that gives Average & Median attendance figures among other data. Here’s some of the numbers:

  • Average Attendance in Church Plants in Louisiana – 49.8
  • Median Attendance in Church Plants in Louisiana – 35.5
  • Lifeway’s Average Attendance for Church Plants Year 1 – 51, Year 2 – 74
  • Lifeway’s Median Attendance for Church Plants Year 1 – 30, Year 2 – 45

This is usually encouraging to planters who expect to be at 200 by the end of year two. Very seldom happens that way. Probably less than 5% of the time. However, it is important for works to be on a growth trajectory. I wrote two post with these conversations in mind this month:

4. A few reports from the Missions & Ministry Office this week:

  • 13 new churches planted so far in 2013. 6 in New Orleans. 7 Non-Anglo. All 13 in South Louisiana. 20 in development for 2016. 137 new churches planted since 2010.
  • 76 baptisms, 336 new commitments to Christ reported Jan-Mar 2016 by church plants in Louisiana.
  • Since 2010 – 1,804 baptisms & 9,532 new commitments to Christ. Hopefully we’ll pass 2,000 baptisms & 10,000 new commitments to Christ this year.
  • New Orleans – Since 2012 when Send New Orleans launched – 27 new churches started, 348 baptisms, 1,352 New Commitments to Christ. $972,508 in Cooperated Funding provided from Louisiana Baptists Missions & Ministry office for Church Planting in New Orleans.

5. Tangible Kingdom Primer Small Group Study

Taking our third tour through the Tangible Kingdom Primer with a Small Group on Thursday nights this Spring. TK always challenges us to develop & create opportunities for sojourners to experience the kingdom. Some of the things that have birthed out of these groups:

  • Guy with mad Billiard skills committed to use them for outreach to other billiard lovers.
  • Guy with poker skills committed to invite friends over once a month to play poker & talk about life & God.
  • Mother with music background felt led to begin singing in the Community Choir.
  • Family decided to begin monthly Block Parties for kids in their neighborhood.
  • Highly recommend the TK Primer to help get groups postured outward, primer on missional living, & to open eyes to opportunities that God given gifs, abilities, provisions have provide for us.

Check out a few previous posts on the TK Primer:

6. Great Moments

A Father baptizes his daughter at Bridge Church on Sunday. Love these moments. Greg Chester actually baptized three of his kids: Grace (pictured), Joshua, & Caleb. These pics never get old.


7. How Many Sacks is Your Church?

crawfishSomeone proposed a new way to track the growth of Louisiana church plants: How many sacks of Crawfish does it take to feed the crowd? Bridge Church has grown from 2 to 8 sacks now! How many sacks are you?

On the Blog This Week:

Acadiana Church Planting, Replanting on I-12, Disaster Relief Update, and Other Things from This Week

1. Replanting on I-12 

Met with leader of three ongoing Re-Planting projects in Livingston Parish this week.

  • The Way Church in Denham Springs was gifted Calvary Baptist Church property. 900% increase in worship service attendance on site in about two years! Planters Scott Cheatham & Josh Spinks.
  • Genesis Church in Walker was gifted Agape Baptist. 300% increase in attendance on site since last October! Pray for Planter Jeff Smith.
  • The Way Church has been gifted Beech Ridge Baptist. They’ll be launching Bible Studies this Summer & Worship Services in the Fall. Pray for Planter Cameron Gober.

These are three of about 17 ongoing Re-Plant or Multi-site mergers across Louisiana, that have led to 100’s of additional worshippers across our state as healthy systems are put in place to make facilities again fruitful for reaching people. For those having these conversations check out these post:

2. Acadiana Church Planting

Met this week with Lafayette area church planters. Acadiana’s church to population ratio, % of population attending church, evangelical population puts it second to New Orleans as the most in need of new churches. Thinking about planting, consider Acadiana.


3. Louisiana Baptist Missions & Ministry Staff meeting on Wednesday

Heard a great report on the SBC response to the Louisiana Floods.

  • 18,000 homes were flooded in Louisiana.
  • 3,000+ cleanup / mudout projects have been completed by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief workers from 30 out of 42 of SBC State Conventions.
  • Still ongoing projects in Haughton, Vinton, & North Monroe.

And then the rebuilding starts. Grateful to be a part of a tribe that responds so generously to crisis.

4. I-20 Church Planting

Working with a couple of new works in development in the Monroe/West Monroe area. This area has long been a major player in the tech industry with Century Link, one of Louisiana’s top private sector employers.  Now IBM is creating 400 jobs in the region as well. 65% of SBC churches are in North Louisiana, where 30% of our population lives, so it’s not a huge priority in terms of church planting, but new churches are always needed in every community to reach new generations of people & saturate regions with the Gospel. Check out my post Does My Community Need a New Church: The Right Questions & Key Indicators to ask the right questions about your community in terms of the need for new churches.

5. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Finished an incredible book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero this week. I actually started reading The Emotionally Healthy Leader & decided I needed to go back & reach the first one before going further with EHL. Love Hate relationship with this book right now. Tended to meddle. LOL. In a good way. I’ll be processing this book for awhile. Already working on my church going through EHS this summer.

6. Northshore Church Planting

Met with Northshore Baptist Association leaders this week about ongoing work in their region. Five churches being planted this year with four more in development. If all these come to fruition that will mean 25 churches planted since 2000. Great strategy development over the years with Directors of Missions Reggie Ogea & Lonnie Wascom. I’ve been on the ground floor with the strategy development as a Church Planter in this region. Summarized the strategy they’ve used in the post Starting an Associational Church Planting Movement.

7. Vince Smith on Ideas Out Loud

Vince is one of our Central Louisiana Church Planters. He’s planting The Circle Church which just launched in January at Alexandria Senior High School (ASH) & is doing great. He recorded a podcast this week with Justin Bufkin & Matt Tullos with some great insights on the church planting journey, transitioning from church staff to lead pastor, & the importance of a church planting network. Check it out HERE.


8.  My community has been rocked this week by two young men committing suicide. It’s led to some soul searching & good conversations in our home about life & death & evangelism. My son Jack will be a freshman at Mandeville High next year. St. Tammany is known as an affluent area, but leads our state in suicides most years. Pray for these families & our community.

9. Another Successful New Orleans Vision Tour

My colleague George Ross, North American Mission Board Send City Strategist for New Orleans, hosted another great group of potential church planting partners for a vision tour in New Orleans this week. These happens about three times each year. Next one is scheduled for September. George has done an incredible job connecting partners to plants in New Orleans. 21% of the population of Louisiana lives in New Orleans. 17 churches have been planted since 2010. History making work going on by our planters there. Keep up with happening with Send New Orleans HERE. Check out profiles of New Orleans Church Planters HERE.

10. Bridge Church this Weekend!

Looking forward to Bridge Church‘s Annual Outdoor Worship & Crawfish Boil on the beautiful Tchefuncte River in Madisonville this Sunday!

outdoor worship

Best Articles I captured in Feedly this week: 


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