By John Hebert, Team Leader for LBC's Mission and Ministries
[img_assist|nid=8013|title=New Orleans|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=528|height=640]Contrary to conventional wisdom, the city of New Orleans and Southern Baptists have a fond affection for one another especially since the days following Hurricane Katrina.
In general New Orleans has the reputation of being indifferent to all evangelicals, especially Baptists. However in November of 2011, the Louisiana Baptist Missions and Ministries Team retained Turner Research to test the components of the new Cooperative Church Planting Strategy developed in 2010.
Based on common “Baptist” practices such as knocking on doors, personal witnessing, Bible studies and prayer meetings, many churches have been planted using these methods.
Many believe that such practices are ineffective in today’s culture and churches for the most part have abandoned these methods that once won countless souls to Christ. Tragically, 64 percent of those surveyed said no church has contacted them in the last six months.
The research further indicates that over six out of ten said they would be open to Baptists coming to their home and inviting them to church.
When asked how they felt about United Methodists, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses coming to their door, 60.2 percent responded favorably to the United Methodists while Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses trailed with only 39.8 percent and 32.6 percent respectively.
The real story of this research may lie in the negative perceptions expressed by the survey participants. Almost 40 percent of those surveyed (39.7 percent) expressed negative impressions of United Methodists while Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses came in a third higher at 60.2 percent and 67.3 percent.
Southern Baptist negatives were the lowest of any denomination on the list, coming in at 34.8 percent. When asked about how they personally feel about the denominations listed, only 10 percent indicated negative feelings toward Southern Baptists.
Even better news for Southern Baptists is that of the 1,019 people surveyed, just under two thirds of survey respondents, 65.3 percent, said they would “enjoy being contacted by this group, and would probably listen.”
The disaster relief efforts of Southern Baptists during Katrina were a driving influence in this survey. Southern Baptists efforts were noticed and opened a window for sharing the gospel in a city where 86 percent of the people believe in a place called “heaven and hell” and 47.5 percent have never been told how to become a Christian.
In what was one of the worst natural disasters to ever occur on American soil, God honored the efforts of Southern Baptists and the results are a fond affection and openness that will prayerfully lead to many in this great American city coming to saving faith in Christ.
For more information on this research and any other mission research contact John Hebert, LBC Team Leader for Missions and Ministries, at email@example.com or 318.448.3402.