By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
WOODWORTH, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptist Executive Director Steve Horn, on the heels of a pair of evangelistic events preceding the 2023 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in New Orleans, encouraged Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board members during their May 2 meeting to create a culture of evangelism.
Additionally, board members approved Send Network Louisiana, a church planting partnership with the North American Mission Board.
CULTURE OF EVANGELISM
Horn said for a culture of evangelism to take place, Louisiana Baptists must believe: every person is an evangelist, every person can be saved, in being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, every scripture points to Jesus, in progressing every decision towards discipleship, every decision is celebrated but we cannot settle, and the community must be saturated with the Gospel.
“Louisiana is known for its culture,” Horn said in his report to board members. “Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. What if it would be known of us and said of us that we would be known first and foremost for having a culture of evangelism.”
Horn told board members he is encouraged that churches have signed up to participate in Serve Tour and Crossover.
Serve Tour, an effort that seeks to involve participants in service projects in Houma and New Orleans as the foundation for evangelism, will take place June 9-10. Additionally, Crossover, a large-scale evangelistic effort, will take place in Bayou Baptist Association, New Orleans Baptist Association and North Shore Baptist Association, June 10.
The Serve Tour and Crossover weekend will wrap up with a Harvest Sunday, June 11. Churches in these areas will be encouraged to utilize evangelists to fill the pulpit that day.
Previously, Horn shared in his report to the Executive Board in September and then again at the LBC Annual Meeting in November that he is praying for 2,023 people to be saved through Serve Tour and Crossover.
Horn reminded board members of the urgency to share the Gospel. He said 155 people die every day in the state, many who likely will go to hell.
“As believers in God’s word we believe those with Christ die and spend eternity with him in heaven,” he said. “Those without Christ die and spend eternity in hell. Those who study such matter of lostness give us the number that is believed as high as 70 percent of Louisianans are lost today, as 108 people die every single day and spend all of eternity in hell. You want to join me in making our life mission that that changes?”
SEND NETWORK LOUISIANA
Horn expressed excitement over the Send Network Louisiana partnership, which goes into effect Aug. 1.
New Orleans is the only metropolitan area currently in the Send Network, but the new partnership will expand church planting efforts to the entire state.
Horn said NAMB will employ a Send Network Louisiana director who will work in the same office as Louisiana Baptist church planters, provide money for supplements for the Send Network church plants and offer additional opportunities for church planters currently not offered by Louisiana Baptists (a year of free health insurance through GuideStone for planters and their families, access to NAMB start-up grants, an additional fourth year of supplements and placement in the NAMB church planter spiritual and emotional care system).
NAMB also will continue to send $300,000 each year to the Louisiana Baptist Convention for church planting purposes through 2025, and after that will provide $150,000 annually.
Horn said Louisiana will join other Sothern states who already participate in a similar network, including Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
Horn explained that the partnership does not involve a contract and can end with a 60-day notice if either party desires.
He said the partnership will allow Louisiana to join NAMB in their mission to reach others with the Gospel through church planting efforts.
“Let’s stay on mission with all our strength, with all of our power, and with all of our might,” Horn said. “Let’s stay on mission and let’s be a part of a culture of evangelism.”