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SBC DIGEST: Ministry in New Orleans; BP Toolbox

Associational missionary joins ‘Road to New Orleans’

By BP Staff

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – This week’s installment of “The Road to New Orleans” video series features a conversation between Jonathan Howe, vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, and Jack Hunter, director of the New Orleans Baptist Association.

The two discuss several aspects of the city of New Orleans, which will host the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting this June, as well as some highlights of carrying out ministry there. The city’s diversity features heavily in the work of the association, Hunter said, adding that a growing closeness among various ethnic groups has been a welcome change.

“I think that we’ve learned to be much more humble about what we think when we learn the experiences of others,” Hunter said, “that their realities, that their experiences are different than mine. It causes one to hold a little bit more loosely to some of the opinions we may have had about certain things and to understand our brothers and sisters with a greater degree of empathy.”

That close cooperation has allowed for important ministry to happen in some underserved areas of New Orleans.

“One of the things that we’ve done as we’ve looked at the needs,” Hunter said, “is we’ve questioned how can we be present where the need is the greatest, and how can we be there in sustainable ways, not only ways that, that we can sustain the work, but we can sustain our robust life in Christ.

“… [W]e identified a part of our city that had, at the time, no healthcare facility, no dental facility, no school, no police station, no fire station, no grocery store, no gas station. A very impoverished part of our city. And we opened a Christian community health clinic there, and we thought about different ways we could do it.”

Hunter said the clinic employed full-time medical providers so that doctors could get to know patients over their lifetimes. The clinic has been in operation about a decade, and now boasts six locations. “God has shown great favor on that work,” Hunter said.

The Gospel makes the difference between Baptists’ and others’ ministry in New Orleans, he said.

“A lot of people can meet needs,” he said. “A lot of people do meet needs, but they don’t necessarily do it with the Gospel. I say praise God for those folks. But … I think Christ makes all things better.”

The two also talk about what Southern Baptists should take away from their time in New Orleans as well as Hunter’s favorite places to get breakfast in the city.

Watch the full conversation here.

New Baptist Press Toolbox page offers practical, helpful resources

By BP Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) — A new page aimed at helping pastors and church leaders is available at Baptist Press. The “Toolbox” features practical resources written by today’s leading SBC voices like Chuck Lawless, Trevin Wax and others.

“Our aim is to engage church leaders and pastors with relevant and practical resources, articles, videos and podcasts through the toolbox,” said Jonathan Howe, SBC Executive Committee (EC) vice president for communications.

The page’s launch is in coordination with four new newsletters created by Baptist Press in 2023. The weekly newsletters are compilations of stories focused on discipleship, leadership, missions and politics.

Howe, the host of the SBC This Week podcast, came to the EC after serving for six years as director of strategic initiatives for Lifeway Christian Resources. In that role, he was responsible for the content strategy and marketing of ThomRainer.com, EdStetzer.com and LifeWayPastors.com.

“We have a great desire to serve the local church,” said Brandon Porter, EC associate vice president for convention news. “We believe these newsletters will provide a source of help for churches.”

Readers can subscribe to the newsletters here.

“The purpose of the BP Toolbox is to expand our offerings at Baptist Press to better inform and equip Southern Baptists with practical ministry tips and tools,” Howe said.

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