By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
NEW ORLEANS (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists enjoyed fellowship and worship during the 2023 LBC Annual meeting Nov. 14 at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, but also conducted important business.
SBC EC REPORT
Philip Robertson thanked messengers for their prayers as he serves as chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. He was elected to this position June 12.
Robertson and the other EC members have dealt with, among other issues, how the SBC should respond to those sexual abuse survivors.
“The past few years, as you well know, have not been the easiest for your you well know, have not been the easiest for your Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee,” said Robertson, also pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church, with campuses in Alexandria and Deville. “In fact, it may have been the most tumultuous stretch that has faced the EC in its 106-year history. It seems almost at times that every slope is slippery. But we know as Hebrews Chapter 6 tells us, that we have this hope as an anchor of our souls, and that anchor is connected to the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus. So, God continues to certainly be very, very faithful. And I’m committed to do my part to help restore to our Executive Committee stability, reliability and credibility in the midst of these changing times.”
Bridges told Robertson he is thankful for him as he navigates the difficult task ahead.
“He has given leadership to our state, and he’s given leadership to our Southern Baptist Convention, and we are part of the family,” Bridges said. “And we want to pray for our family.”
David Hankins, former LBC executive director, closed the report with a prayer for Robertson.
“We pray for our brother, Phillip Robertson,” Hankins prayed. “You’ve given him an important assignment, and we pray that you would strengthen him for this task to what you have called him.”
Messengers approved the 2024 financial plan based on Cooperative Program contributions of $18,080,569, an increase of $502,560, or 2.86 percent. Cooperative Program projections are based on actual receipts from August 2022 through July 2023.
The allocation formula for distributing Cooperative Program gifts between Southern Baptist Convention and Louisiana Baptist causes changed for 2024, 62.87 percent forwarded to support ministries in the state (a decrease from 63.26 percent in 2023) and 37.13 percent forwarded to fund national entities (an increase from 36.74 percent in 2023).
PRAYER FOR ISRAEL
The annual meeting featured multiple times of dedicated prayer.
During the morning session, LBC First Vice President Chad Gilbert led a prayer for those in Israel and also for the International Mission Board missionaries serving around the world.
“We bow before your mighty hand and we seek your face together,” said Gilbert, also pastor of First Baptist Church, New Orleans. “We pray today for the protection of innocent lives. We pray for the freedom of hostages. We pray for an end to the reign of terror and evil. We ultimately pray for peace that ultimately comes through Christ.”
During the afternoon session, Paul Watts, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Ruston, prayed for victims of a stabbing incident at Louisiana Tech University. On Nov. 13, four individuals were knifed at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center after leaving their early morning class. The suspect was apprehended immediately after the attacks and placed in custody.
“We pray that hearts and minds would be open to that message, the good news of Jesus Christ stirred because of the reminder of the brevity of life,” Watts prayed. “I pray for this perpetrator, this one who has acted out this terrible act of violence. I pray you work in his life. What a picture of grace would it be for you to save him. We pray that Lord you would heal those who are injured. We pray you would heal the hearts of those who are filled with hatred. We pray for you to be glorified.”
Ten new churches were accepted into membership of the LBC: Grace Community Church, Lettsworth; Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church, Franklin; Narrow Gate Cowboy Church, Vivian; Redeemed Life Fellowship, Patterson; Iglesia Christiana Filadelphia, New Orleans; Christ Community Church, Covington; First Unity Church, Baton Rouge; St. Rose Community Church, St. Rose, Hana Church, Bossier City; and Louisiana Chin Baptist Church, Gonzales.
The final messenger count for the 2023 Annual Meeting was 388.
The 2024 LBC Annual Meeting will take place Nov. 12, hosted by Broadmoor Baptist Church, Shreveport. The convention sermon will be preached by Matthew James, vice president of enrollment, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The alternate preacher will be Michael Wood, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, West Monroe. The worship leader will be Tyler Hennessee, worship pastor, Broadmoor Baptist Church.
The 2025 LBC Annual Meeting will take place at the Randolph Riverfront Center, Alexandria.
David Goza, pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, was elected president. Matt Endris, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, Alpha, was elected first vice-president, and Geovany Gómez,
Tracy Graham, Norris Ferry Community Church, Shreveport, Executive Board president, and Tim Williams, Williams Boulevard Baptist Church, Kenner, vice president.pastor of the Iglesia Bautista La Viña in Kenner, was elected second-vice president.
All three men were given individual votes of acclamation by the Convention – a single ballot cast by the LBC executive director in view of no opposition to any of the candidates.