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La. Baptists express CP support

SHREVEPORT, La. (BP)–Missions and the Cooperative Program took center stage at the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s 162nd annual meeting, Nov. 9-10 at Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport.

The meeting was preceded by the East Asia Summit and the Louisiana Baptist Pastors’ Conference, and it concluded with an International Mission Board appointment service for 55 new missionaries.

Messengers approved a 2010 budget of $22,543,157, a $23,846 increase from the 2009 budget, including $8,225,998 in Cooperative Program giving from Louisiana churches for national and international missions and ministries — or 36.49 percent of the budget, up .54 percent over the current year.

Nine resolutions were adopted, including one that asked God to have mercy on the United States and grant a national awakening of righteousness. Another resolution expressed gratitude to churches for their support of the Cooperative Program and encouraged increased CP support. A third resolution focused on financial support for international missions.

Other resolutions stated support for the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation; celebrated of the 103-year history of Louisiana College; committed to pray for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force; prayer for state legislators; expressed concern for gambling parents’ neglect of financial responsibility regarding their children; and appreciation for the host church.

Chuck Quarles, vice president for integration of faith and learning at Louisiana College in Pineville, led three Bible studies related to the “Call of the Second Mile” from Romans 1:1-7.

Other speakers included outgoing convention President Mike Holloway, pastor of Cook Baptist Church in Ruston; Mickey Bounds, pastor of First Baptist Church of Delhi, who delivered the convention sermon; and David Miller, founder of Line Upon Line Ministries in Heber Springs, Ark., who preached on the providence of God.

During his report, Executive Director David E. Hankins announced the impending retirement of LBC executive assistant Beau Colle, a former Louisiana State University football star who has served the state convention for 36 years and will continue to serve as a consultant for at least the next year.

“Beau has given his life to serve the Lord Jesus and to serve Louisiana Baptists,” Hankins said as the audience responded with a standing ovation.

Hankins preached from Acts 2:42-47, explaining what is needed for a Great Commission resurgence in Louisiana.

“We are not praying for a Great Commission resurgence because we think the churches or the ministries of our state/national conventions are bad but because we want to be better. We are not suggesting the churches have lost their way but that we have not arrived yet at our destination,” he said.

Hankins identified four crucial components of effective churches: a godly church devoted to spiritual formation of its members; a Gospel church that pledges to cooperate with other churches to saturate the state with the Gospel; a global church that is engaged in the process of planting new churches in the state, the nation or the world; and a generous church with members willing to modify their standards of living to benefit God’s Kingdom.

“The vast preponderance of Louisiana Baptist Convention work is done in the churches,” he said, adding that in the context of the Great Commission the most strategic person is the pastor and the most strategic praying is by the members.

Bill Pruitt, president of the LBC executive board and pastor of Graceworks Church in Prairieville, reported on the sale of the Louisiana Tech Baptist Collegiate Ministries property and the purchase of a new parcel for about $86,000 less.

Mike Canady, director of the LBC missions and ministries team, reported that at least 96 missions and ministries received supplemental income in Louisiana from CP dollars in 2009. This includes 11 new mission congregations and four new ministry centers, he said.

Louis Husser, chairman of the moral and social concerns committee, expressed appreciation for pastors who used their influence and prayerwalking to make a difference at the Louisiana state capital. He alluded to several measures that passed during the short session of the state legislature.

Ken Ward, executive director of the Moral and Civic Foundation, expressed his gratefulness to the convention for their passage of a resolution of support for the work of the foundation. He also announced that he plans to retire from his post in 2011.

The East Asia Summit, which drew about 200 people from several states, was designed to connect U.S.-based Southern Baptists with 35 field personnel and others who work in the Richmond, Va., office of the International Mission Board with a goal of facilitating the partnership of churches and individuals with specific needs in East Asia.

The 55 people commissioned for career service with the IMB included two couples assigned to reach deaf people, with most of the missionaries being sent to security-sensitive areas.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 15-16 at the Riverfront Center in Alexandria.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.