By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Under the mantle of “Dwell,” adapted from Philippians 4:8-9, messengers to the 2022 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting will be encouraged to celebrate how God is moving through Louisiana Baptists.
The annual meeting will take place Nov. 15 at Calvary Baptist Church, Alexandria.
“We are looking forward to seeing everyone in Central Louisiana,” Louisiana Baptist Executive Director Steve Horn told the Baptist Message. “We hope Louisiana Baptists will come for both Monday and Tuesday to participate in the Pastor’s Conference, the annual meeting and other meetings that will occur during these days. It’s always a joy to gather with friends from across the state.
“I will share updates on each of our ministry areas and help us dwell, as our theme suggests, on the good work God is doing through our cooperative missions and ministries,” Horn continued. “After several years of being challenged by COVID and hurricanes, I’m praying God will use these days as a catalyst to help Louisiana Baptists begin to dream again.”
LBC President Reggie Bridges echoed the thought, saying he hopes Louisiana Baptists will come to this annual gathering to “dwell together on those things that are true, admirable, and praiseworthy.”
Bridges, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, Ruston, added that “the day is going to be filled with worship as we celebrate what our God is doing through the Louisiana Baptist family to advance His Kingdom. “We will sing together, respond to the Word together, testify of His work together and fellowship together,” he said.
Messengers also will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed amendment to the Louisiana Baptist Convention Articles of Incorporation that, if adopted, would allow a church to contribute solely to state causes and still be defined as a church in cooperation with the LBC. Previously a church was required to support Southern Baptist causes in order to be in friendly cooperation with the LBC.
The proposal comes at a time when 27 of about 1,600 Louisiana Baptist congregations have instructed that their cooperative missions and ministries contributions be used only in the state with none of their gifts to be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Horn stated in the Sept. 27 Executive Board meeting this move would strive to “strike that balance of honoring their requests while at the same time continuing to promote the ideal that we are better together with our Southern Baptist partners.”
Additionally, the Cooperative Program budget will be presented to messengers to consider for adoption. The 2023 financial plan is based on Cooperative Program contributions of $17,578,009, a decrease of $48,127, or 0.27 percent. Cooperative Program projections are calculated using actual receipts from August 2021 through July 2022. The allocation formula for distributing CP gifts between the Southern Baptist Convention and Louisiana Baptist causes remains unchanged, 63.26 percent to support missions and ministries in the state and 36.74 percent forwarded to suppor national entities.
Other highlights of the meeting will include messages by Horn, Bridges, and Chad Gilbert, pastor, First Baptist Church, New Orleans. Additional items on the agenda include a Bible study led by Thomas Strong, dean of Leavell College and professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; reports by the Convention’s entities; other updates on state missions; consideration of motions and resolutions; and election of officers. At press time, Bridges is the only known candidate whose name will be placed in nomination for the office of LBC president. Bridges is completing his first term as LBC president. Gilbert is expected to be nominated for the office of first vice president.
Gatherings for Nov. 14 include:
— Hispanic pastors lunch, Noon, Student Center Auditorium
— Discipleship collaborative, noon, Atrium
— Replant lunch, noon, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Horseshoe Drive
— African-American fellowship, 4 p.m., Calvary Hall
— Young pastors fellowship, 4:30 p.m., Atrium
— New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary alumni dinner, 4 p.m., Student Center Auditorium
Gatherings for Nov. 15 include:
— Discover church planting breakfast, 7 a.m., Brocato’s
— Partnership Missions breakfast, 7 a.m., Atrium
— Next Generation Roundtable lunch, noon, Atrium
— Missions and Ministry lunch, 12:15 p.m., Calvary Hall
— Retiree/Bi-vocational luncheon, 12:15 p.m., Student Center Auditorium