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Louisiana Baptists are Multiplying!

[from my September 30th, 2015 report to the Louisiana Baptists Executive Board, whom I have the privilege of serving as Church Planting Strategist]

[UPDATED November 5th, 2015]

Louisiana Baptist are indeed Multiplying! New church plants have increased 75% in Louisiana since 2011: In 2011, 8 new churches were planted; 14 in 2012; 18 in 2013; 26 in 2014; and so far in 2015, 33 new churches have been planted across Louisiana!

2015 Baptism Poster

2015 Baptisms Poster

What’s the impact of church planting?

  • New commitments to Christ! Since 2010, new churches in years 1-3 have reported 8,909 new commitments to Christ & 1,643 baptisms.
  • New partners in cooperation! In the last two years, new churches in Louisiana have given $365,957 to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention and $73,624 to their local Associations.

And through church planting we’re closing some of the missiological gaps & trends in our state. One of the haunting lines in the President’s 2020 Commission report presented at the Louisiana Baptists Annual Meeting in 2013, was that the Louisiana Baptist Convention was a declining, northern, anglo movement. Church Planting is allowing us to change these trends.

  • The President’s 2020 Commission found that out of 1,600 churches only 5% were considered non-anglo, while 40% of the population of Louisiana is non-anglo. In the last two years, 69% (41 out of 59) of our new churches have been non-anglo. Including 25 African American, 14 Hispanic, 2 Asian.
  • 2 years ago, we found that 74% of the population of Louisiana was in the south (south of Bunkie) while 64% of our LBC churches were in the north. So 64% of our churches are located where only 26% of our population resides. In the last two years, 78% (46 out of 59) of new churches have been planted in south Louisiana. Including 11 in New Orleans, where 21% of our population resides.

We still have much work to do. In 2010, Associations helped us forecast the need in their regions and with their help we set the goal of 300 new churches by 2020. Our current scorecard is at 122. So 178 new churches still needed to meet the needs across Louisiana!

And EVERY CHURCH can get involved. How can your church help? Check out these resources to help you get started:

Family Serve Lake Charles

It was great to be a part of Family Serve weekend in Lake Charles. Looking forward to this annual event to be held around Louisiana that combines missions & family fun, allowing families to serve together on a mission trip in Louisiana. It was great to meet & worship with Jeff Slaughter, the genius behind Lifeway’s crazy VBS songs that I never seem to get out of my head at the end of the summer. LOL! And by the way, his creativity definitely has the character & incredible heart for God behind it. And I loved serving in Lake Charles. It’s one of the fastest growing places in the country right now. 17% economic growth last year. More to come. Church Planters & Partners needed. Our team worked with Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, with Pastor Freddy Brown, which is in a neighborhood that was destroyed 10 years ago by Hurricane Rita. Incredible people! Great day of service!

Thanks to Jess Archer, Jeff Cook, Bruce Baker – DOM of the Carey Baptist Association, Chris Jeffus, & church planters Blake Forman – Sulphur Community Church, Brian Manuel – Carlyss Community Church, & Kedrick Holliday – Safehaven Bible Church – for their hard work in putting everything together.

Look forward to Family Serve 2016!

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Block Party at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. Grateful for Pastor Freddy Brown.

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Jeff Slaughter!

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Prayer Walking in the Rice Mill area.

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Why I LOVE Giving to the Georgia Barnette Offering for Louisiana Missions!

The Georgia Barnette Offering for Louisiana Missions is one thing that I can give to with great cheer (2 Corinthians 9:7). Why? Through the GBO, among other things, we’re able to cover up to 30% of the first year budget for a new church & provide two additional years of support for a total of 36 months. Current averages for church plant support are around $44,000 per, over a 36 month period. This assures the church planter of substantial support as he plans out the first three years of ministry in the community. Also, as a church planter who has received support through the GBO, I was encouraged by the weight of 1,600 Louisiana Baptist churches who said yes to our calling as a family & our communities need for the gospel. And now, I get to see the results of our together giving up close & personal as I read the reports & follow the work of our church planters in Louisiana. This year, over 200 people have been baptized & over 600 have professed faith in Christ through churches supported by the GBO. I give with cheer cause I know my $$ will be turned into real people engaging communities with the gospel & people’s lives being changed in my home state. Below are a few 2015 pics from works directly supported by the GBO. Give with cheer! Check out GeorgiaBarnette.org for more info & see what other ministries in Louisiana supported by Georgia Barnette.

Does the Georgia Barnette Offering Make a Difference?

Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church in Louisiana, every year of my life I’ve heard the names Annie Armstrong, Georgia Barnette, & Lottie Moon. These are the name sakes of special offerings for the National, State, & International missions efforts of our convention. Each of these three ladies were real people who devoted their lives to missions & inspire us to do the same today. Many Southern Baptist never get to see the impact of giving to these special offerings, but for me it’s personal. As a church planter, I’ve personally benefited from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering & Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering & can say with confidence that people are in Christ today, because of the generosity of our churches to support missions efforts through these offerings. Now, I’m working as Church Planting Strategist in Louisiana & I get to attend the meetings of the Georgia Barnette Committee (which is made up of Pastors & Lay leaders from churches across Louisiana) where money is granted & I read the monthly reports of church planters whose ministries depend upon money from the GBO fund. What all does the GBO cover? Looking back over my notes from last years Georgia Barnette Committee Meeting, here’s a few areas of influence:

  • LA Baptist Children’s Home Sanctity of Human Life & Pregnancy Resource Ministry
  • New church startup grants across Louisiana (currently 75 projects receiving funding)
  • Compassion ministry sites across Louisiana (currently 57 sites receiving ongoing funding)
  • French & Spanish evangelistic Radio programming
  • Literacy Missions across Louisiana
  • Multi-housing Ministry across Louisiana
  • City Care Effect in New Orleans
  • NOBTS Extension at Angola State Penitentiary
  • Evangelism at other state prisons
  • Outreach to African-American collegiate students in south LA
  • Summer Collegiate Mission Team (GOLA)
  • Disaster Relief Supplies & Equipment
  • The Mission Builder program which builds & renovates first unit buildings for new churches.
  • Grants to new ministries & churches for first unit land & buildings.
  • Port Ministries in New Orleans, Gonzalez, & Baton Rouge.

You can see the 2016 Budget Allocations HERE. As you can see, the Georgia Barnette Offering makes a huge difference all over Louisiana. Check out this years promo videos HERE to see a few of the stories behind the works supported by GBO. The summary video is below. Looking forward to seeing the impact of this years offering in reaching people & meeting needs in the coming years.

Week of Prayer for Louisiana Missions

Hope you’ll join me for the Week of Prayer for Louisiana Missions as we pray for some of the great mission projects going on across Louisiana. You can follow each day of the week of prayer HERE. And videos to promote Louisiana Missions in your church & across your social media platforms are HERE.

And this month is also the emphasis for the Georgia Barnette State Missions offering. This years goal is $1.8 million. 100% of this offering will go to support missions in Louisiana. What kind of things does it support? You can find the 2016 allocations HERE. I’m grateful for the generosity of Louisiana Baptist churches that allows us to continue to plant churches, start compassion ministries, minister at our global ports, & much more.

Kick off today by praying for Level Ground Community Church, a new church in New Orleans. Get their story & how to pray for them HERE.

Pastor Daylon Taylor engages children from the Holly Grove neighborhood of New Orleans at Level Ground Community Church.

Pastor Daylon Taylor engages children from the Holly Grove neighborhood of New Orleans at Level Ground Community Church.

Out of the Box Ideas for Starting More Groups

IMG_5095Notes & Presentations from the 2015 ReGroup Conference. Shared today at the ReGroup Conference at First Baptist Lafayette. Enjoyed sharing some learnings on where Small Group Strategies & Church Planting intersect. Here’s my two presentations & my notes:

One of the least common denominators of New Testament Christianity is the small group of people gathered around the word of God. So we need to figure it out.

Sought to answer two questions in my breakouts:

  1. How do we start more groups from the unchurched population?
  2. How do we start more groups when I have no or limited space?

Notes from Session One: Starting Discovering Groups – 

  1. Empower your Apostolic leaders to start new groups. Say yes to those with an itch to start new things in different places. More on Sending the Apostolic leaders in your church HERE.
  2. Make it simple for EVERYONE to see themselves reaching their friends. (Example: The HOST Strategy)
  3. 3 out of 21 Meals – Encourage people to see meal times as opportunities to invest in unchurched people. And you’re going to eat anyway. More on this in the book Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt.
  4. Groups with a Purpose – People may get involved with a mission or project before they get involved in your church. What need can you meet in the community that will gather people in relationship & move step by step to sharing the gospel.
  5. “Discussion Group” – Go Hall of Tyrranus on your community. Some people will come only if they can ask questions & discuss.
  6. Start a Book Club – Yours &/or Theirs. At your home, church, or consider getting involved in book clubs in the community book stores or libraries to invite people to your group. Try a nondescript invite to a Bible Study or discussion & see what happens.
  7. Meetup.com & other social media sites – Utilize Social Media to gather people. People are looking online for spiritual connections & helps.
  8. Don’t neglect Community Bulletin Boards, Newspapers, Coupon Mags, Radio.
  9. Look for Affinity Groups: Stay at home moms, Sr. Adults, Service Industry (Monday nights), First Responders, Dads (Allprodad.com), etc.
  10. Look for Needs in the Community that Group studies can meet: Grief, Addiction, Money, Marriage, Parenting, Parenting Your Parents, Step family issues, etc..

Notes from Session Two: Out of the Box Ideas for Starting More Groups when you have no or limited space:

  1. Double the opportunity by launching a new service &/or new Sunday School hour.
  2. Clean out the Closets. Utilize EVERY possible space. Most churches under utilize their space.
  3. Groups that kill two birds with one stone. Service oriented groups. Make ministry & group life synonymous.
  4. Think beyond Sunday morning. It’s Biblical to start groups every day of the week.
  5. Go public with your groups! There’s more 3rd spaces today than ever before.
  6. No need to be afraid of Home groups. HOST Strategy.

Old and New Churches Team Up to Plant in Bunkie

Love this story! One of Louisiana’s oldest congregations – St. James Baptist in Bayou Chicot (started by Joseph Willis in the early 1800’s) & one of Louisiana’s newest congregations – Life Point Church in Mansura, planter/pastor Jacob Crawford, are partnering to start a new church in Bunkie. Planter/Pastor is Reginald Arvie, who also serves Bi-vocationally as a hospital administrator in Mamou. Pray for Reginald, Jacob, & their team that are planting St. James – Bunkie!

Joseph Willis is credited with planting the first evangelical churches west of the Mississippi River. His life is remembered in the great book Twice a Slave.

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Fall Equipping & Networking Opportunities for Church Multipliers in Louisiana:

>> I-12 Multi-Site Church Luncheon, August 13th, 11:30am-1:30pm at The Way Church in Denham Springs. Join Chad Merrell from First West Fairbanks in Sterlington, LA, to hear a great Louisiana multisite story & talk multisite readiness for your ministry. Good especially for churches in a more rural or suburban setting. RSVP by joining the Facebook event or calling the Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association at 225-664-9309, or email David Brown at amc4elba@elba.brcoxmail.com.

>> ReGroup Small Group Conference, August 15th at FBC Lafayette. Matt Papa, Jeff Iorg, Eddie Mosley & others for a day of working on Small Groups Strategy. I’ll be leading two Church Planting Breakouts:

  • Discovery Groups: Strategies for Starting Groups from the Unchurched Community
  • “Where does your group meet?” – Small Group Strategies for Portable or Space Limited Churches.

>> Total Church Life Conference, August 22nd at Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Annual Church Leadership Conference hosted by the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge. Breakouts literally on every area of church life! I’ll be leading the session called Social Media & the Local Church – How social media can help your church grow & equip people for ministry. 

>> Basic Training for Church Multiplication, September 11-12 at FBC Mandeville. A great workshop for churches in years 1-3 or in the process of restarting or revitalizing. Church Planters that have attended a Basic Training Workshop over the last five years have experienced 50% higher attendance and 65% more baptisms than those who haven’t.

Sessions covered:

  • Where are we? Understanding Your Context and Community
  • Who are we? Discovering Your Church’s Unique Purpose for Your Community
  • What do we do? Establishing the Strategy and Systems for Your Church to Multiply Disciples, Leaders, Groups and Churches

>> Century XXI Hispanic Leadership Conference, September 18-19 at Calvary Baptist Church in Ruston. Contact Carlos.Schmidt@LouisianaBaptists.org for more info.

>> E4 Preaching Conference, September 18-19 at FBC Pineville. E4 is designed to encourage expository preaching and encourage pastors. Partnership of Louisiana Baptists, First Baptst Pineville, Louisiana College, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Know of other Equipping or Networking Opps happening in the next few months?

Top 5 Places to Plant a Church in Louisiana #SendNorthAmerica #churchplanting #send2015

gatorI like to call south Louisiana the back pocket of the Bible Belt. Still many cities & communities in need of new churches in one of North America’s most unique cultures. Here’s the top five places to plant a church in Louisiana:

1. New Orleans

Population: 956,000. Only 2.1% attend a SBC Church. Only 11% Evangelical. 432,270 unaffiliated with any church.

Includes the Parishes of Orleans, Jefferson (Louisiana’s 2nd largest Parish), St. Bernard, Plaquemine, & St. Charles. New Orleans is strategic for a lot of reasons: one of North America’s most influential ports, a cultural icon for the world. For Louisiana, it makes up 20% of our population. For Southern Baptists, its one of only three Send Cities in the South.

Contacts: The New Orleans Baptist Associaton, DOM Jack Hunter. George Ross, North American Mission Board Send City Coordinator for New Orleans.

2. Acadiana

Population: 675,000. Only 1.8% attend a SBC church. Evangelical population only 9%. 229,049 unaffiliated with any church.

Includes the cities of Lafayette, Youngsville (one of Louisiana’s fastest growing), Abbeville, Carencro, Opelousas, Breaux Bridge. This is true Louisiana. Cajun Country. The images most shared about Louisiana come from these areas. Amazing food. Gators. Live Oaks. It’s also home to Louisiana’s second largest University, University of Louisiana – Lafayette.

Contacts: The Evangeline Baptist Association, DOM Bert Langley.

3. Baton Rouge

Population: 630,000. Only 2.0% attend a SBC Church. 23% evangelical. 242,000 unaffiliated with any church. 

Includes the cities of Baton Rouge, Prairieville, Gonzalez, Port Allen, Plaquemine & others. Louisiana’s state capital & the center of political life & becoming more influential in the Business life of the entire I-10 corridor. Growing refugee populations have been noted & this year will begin receiving Syrian refugees. Also, home to one of America’s most influential universities, Louisiana State University.

Contacts: The Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, DOM Tommy Middleton.

4. Bayou

Population: 208,000. Only 1.8% attend a SBC Church. Only 6% Evangelical. 70,672 unaffiliated with any church.

Includes the cities of Houma, Thibodaux, Grand Isle, Galliano, Cutoff, & others. One of the best places for fresh shrimp in North America! Beautiful people & incredible culture. Also, very influential because of the thousands that work out of these communities in the drilling & oil production industry across the Gulf of Mexico. Home to Nicholls State University.

Contacts: The Bayou Baptist Association, DOM Joe Arnold.

5. I-12 Corridor

Population: 541,234. Only 4.8% attend a SBC Church. 25% Evangelical. 270,687 unaffiliated with any church.  

Includes the cities of Denham Springs, Walker, Hammond, Ponchatoula, Covington, Mandeville, Slidell & others. Fast growing for years due to suburban life. Now robust corporate life developing. Home to Louisiana’s third largest University – South Eastern Louisiana State University in Hammond.

Contacts: Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association, DOM David Brown. And Northshore Baptist Association, DOM Lonnie Wascom.

And VERY close behind or tied with these FIVE:

  • Lake Charles – Center of Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor. Expected to add 20,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
  • Avoyelles Parish region – Still several communities that have never had an evangelical church.

Planters & partners needed. Message me for info about these and other communities that need new churches in Louisiana if God may be leading you to the Bayou. 

Find other info on Church Planting in Louisiana at https://louisianabaptists.org/churchplanting.

And connect with other church planters in Louisiana by joining our Facebook Group – Louisiana Church Multiplication Network.

Church Planters Share Their #1 Resource… It Might Surprise You

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This summer we held Church Planting Network luncheons across the state of Louisiana. Over 100 leaders attended the luncheons & were asked to share three things:

  1. Biggest Recent Win
  2. Current Greatest Challenge
  3. Best Resource

The discussions were great & inspirational. God is truly doing some historic things across the Bayou state. It was a great experience to share a meal & get to spend some time with these incredible leaders.

What was the top resources? The #1 resource shared by church planting leaders across Louisiana was… PEOPLE! At every meeting several of these leaders would wisely say, “My best resource is the people that serve with me, support me, & that I can call on when I need them.” Fits a church planting axiom that I heard years ago, “The resources are in the harvest.” Church planting leaders MUST learn how to gather, develop, encourage, deploy, & depend upon people. Our best resources will always be those around us.       

Here is a list of 25 other resources shared at our statewide gatherings this summer.

  1. Website: http://bookdepot.com/ – Great site to check when doing book giveaways. Recent releases for as low as $3 each. Must order $100 worth.
  2. Website: http://www.rightnowmedia.org/ – Video Bible Study & Kids Entertainment Library.
  3. Website: http://erlc.com/ – Keep up with culturals shifts & how to respond to issues.
  4. Website: http://evernote.com – for sermon prep, planning, staff communication.
  5. Website: http://get.planningcenteronline.com/ – for team & volunteer management
  6. Website: http://story4all.com/ – for info on Gospel Storying
  7. Website: http://Eventbrite.com – for event planning, registration, AND also social networking for events in your area.
  8. Book: It’s Personal: Surviving & Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting. This years network giveaway. Great book on the personal, emotional side of planting & leadership.
  9. Book: Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church
  10. Book: When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself. Start healthy compassion ministries.
  11. Book: Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World. on storying the Bible.
  12. Book: Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery. Great book on discipleship movements.  
  13. Book: The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated. Must read for church planters!
  14. Book: Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life. Book of the year on discipleship & church life.
  15. Book: Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. on setting up healthy church systems & structures.
  16. Book: Right Color, Wrong Culture: The Type of Leader Your Organization Needs to Become Multiethnic
  17. Book: Community Group Guide: Planting or Re-Planting Life Giving Small Groups by Brad House
  18. Book: The Pocket Guide to Leading a Small Group: 52 Ways to Help You and Your Small Group Grow by Dave Early
  19. Book: Bobby Bowden On Leadership: Life Lessons from a Two-Time National Championship Coach. Shared by a former Florida State running back looking to plant a church in Louisiana in the coming years!
  20. Book: Preaching to a Postmodern World: A Guide to Reaching Twenty-first Century Listeners
  21. Book: Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work
  22. Book: Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida
  23. Resource: The Redeemer Church Planting Manual.
  24. Mobile Pregnancy Center from the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home – available to setup at your church or community event. Pregnancy test, ultrasounds, etc. done on site.
  25. Re-Group Coaching with Sean Keith. Sean helps churches set up structures & systems for continued growth. Contact Sean.Keith@LouisianaBaptists.org.

Watch for some fall opportunities to network with multiplication leaders in your area.

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