Lake Charles is projected to be one of the fastest growing communities in Louisiana for years to come. Oil & gas & chemical manufacturing are booming & have only slowed down slightly with drops in oil prices. Carey Baptist Association & Director of Missions Bruce Baker serve this area, representing Calcasieu, Cameron, & Jefferson Davis Parishes. Planters & partners are needed to reach a growing population & a key area for our state for years to come. Check out some data on this area:
- Population of Carey Association: 237,044 (up 2.5% since 2010).
- Worship Attendance in SBC churches: 8,433 (down 5.3% since 2010) Only 3.6% of the population worshipped in a SBC church on any given weekend in 2015.
- Bible Study Attendance: 5,034 (down 20% since 2010). Only 2.1% of the population attended Bible Study in an SBC church on any given weekend in 2015.
- 58 SBC churches for a church to population ration of 1 to 4,087 residents. Our state average & our goal for each association is 1 to 2,850. NAMB suggests 1 to 2,000 is a good mark. 25 new churches would be needed to get to 1 to 2,850 in the Lake Charles area.
- Evangelical Population: 68,425 or 29% of the population.
- Those with No Religious Affiliation or None’s: 64,563 or 27% of the population.
- Roman Catholic Population: 83,950 or 35% of the population.
- 7,431 students attend McNeese St. University annually.
- Projected Job Growth is 2.6% annually. And projected population growth of at least 22,000 between now & 2019.
- NOTE: In most of our nine metro areas, population is up & worship attendance is down. At best, it seems our churches are not growing as fast as the population. At worst, we’re going the opposite direction.
Pray for our Current Planters in the Lake Charles area:
- David Garza, Iglesia Bautista Trinidad de Lake Charles
- Felix Harris, Seeds of Faith Baptist Church, Lake Charles
- Blake Forman, Sulphur Community Church
- Brian Manuel, Carlyss Community Church, Sulphur
- Jose Us, Iglesia Hispana de Sulphur
Message me if you’d like more info or if you’re interested in planting or serving in this area.
Study details the nations most diverse cities. What’s the most diverse cities in Louisiana? Kenner, Bossier City, Lake Charles – http://ow.ly/Tk4Kh.
Louisiana Cities in order:
1. Kenner – 27th overall
2. Bossier City – 85th overall
3. Lake Charles – 139th overall
4. Baton Rouge – 154th overall
5. Shreveport – 183rd overall
6. Metairie – 214th overall
7. New Orleans – 246th overall
8. Lafayette – 249th overall
Neat study. Get the entire thing here: http://ow.ly/Tk5QN
And a few other notes on diversity in Louisiana:
> Louisiana’s minority population is now 40.7%.
> Kenner now shows up as 22% Hispanic. The largest % in Louisiana.
> Five Louisiana parishes have seen shifts to minority majorities since 2000 – East Baton Rouge, Caddo, Claiborne, Morehouse, & St. John the Baptist –http://ow.ly/Tl1K2.
> Lake Charles is sure to grow in diversity over the next decade with the volume of construction projects projected. And the major project by SASOL, a South African Company, has been dubbed the largest FOREIGN manufacturing investment in U.S. History at potentially $8.1 billion –http://ow.ly/Tl2kK.
What impact is diversity having on Louisiana’s churches?
I 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.
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.
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.
Life Point Church in Avoyelles Parish is a favorite Louisiana church planting story of mine. Jacob Crawford started Life Point in 2010. They began receiving cooperative funding in 2012 and since then have baptized 104 in a traditionally hard to reach part of Louisiana. Life Point has grown from an average attendance of 65 in 2012 to 118 in 2013 to 165 this year. 75% growth since their first month of Cooperative Funding. Another remarkable thing about Life Point is that the congregation is 60% white & 40% African-American. That’s remarkable for almost any church in the South for one thing, but it’s also significant because it mirrors the racial makeup of the community. Life Point has used Compassion Ministry as a way to connect with people in the low income communities of Avoyelles, including thrift store, food distribution, Celebrate Recovery, Jail ministry & festival outreach. This year, construction was completed on a new Worship & Compassion Ministry Center in Mansura, LA. And now, as Life Point “rolls off” Cooperative Program funding, they are taking on the planting of a new church in the neighboring community of Plaucheville.
If anybody had said in 2010, that you could plant a church that would be 40% African-American & 60% white, & that church would grow to 200 in the heavily Roman Catholic, farming communities of low-income Avoyelles Parish, many would have doubted. But thank God Jacob & his team have kept believing in the power of the Gospel & today lives are being changed.
Connect with Life Point on Facebook. Get to know Jacob, especially if you’re planting in a rural area. And pray for Jacob & his team as they continue to plant seeds in Avoyelles Parish.
Listen to Jacob tell part of their story in his own words in these videos: