For almost two years I have had the privilege to serve as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. I’ve enjoyed traveling over the state and seeing the ministry of Louisiana Baptists firsthand. Getting to meet new people who love and serve God has been a real treat.
The major emphasis of my presidency has been to establish “The President’s 2020 Commission”–our attempt to sharpen our work to reach our state for Christ.
This has been an eye-opening process. Across the country most churches are in stagnation or decline. While we see growing churches, they are no more than twenty percent of all churches. Churches are more likely to die than to grow.
Louisiana is like the rest of the country. More people are “without God and without hope” than ever before. This is especially true of our youngest adult generation. The Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000, thus 13-33 year olds) are the most unchurched generation in American history. Only 15 percent of the Millennial generation professes faith in Christ.
The 2020 Commission is the attempt by Louisiana Baptists to reverse the trend of church stagnation while reaching the Millennial generation and the ethnic population of Louisiana.
Yesterday we presented our report to the Executive Board of the LBC. This group oversees the work of the convention between annual meetings. The Executive Board has endorsed the report that will be presented to the convention in November.
I’ll wait for the report to be presented, but I want to share four areas we must emphasize.
First, we must take the gospel to the Next Generation. Most of our declines in baptisms and church membership revolve around our failure to reach children and teens. While we care for every person and all generations, we must present the gospel to our children.
Second, we must attempt to reach the ethnic population of Louisiana. This group makes up 40 percent of the state. To abandon this large population is to abandon our state and reject the plan of God. One of the most thrilling passages in the Revelation is the great multitude around the throne of God worshiping Him. This great multitude standing before the Lamb is from “every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9).
Third, we must learn the languages of our culture and embrace change. While the message–“the truth of the Gospel” as Paul described it–will never change, our methods must change.
Fourth, we must work together. We can’t do this alone. We can do more together than separately. This is where our cooperative work blesses us. By working together we can reach a whole state, nation, and world.
Somewhere in the remote past, I took a few piano lessons and even learned a few songs. I even played two hymns–but not well! One was named “Work For The Night Is Coming.” The hymn followed the words of Scripture which tells us that the time is coming when our work will be done.
Our time is growing short. Let us work while it is day and give our best for our Savior.
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