While the official start of autumn is a couple of weeks away, fall has already made an early appearance in Ruston. Sure, the reprieve from the summer heat is one indicator that a new season is upon us, but the busy university campuses are an even greater sign that fall is here. No doubt, you have probably already noticed the increased population/traffic in Ruston as Louisiana Tech begins a new fall quarter. (NOTE: For your own safety, you might want to avoid downtown until these new students figure out the one-way streets!) It is hard to believe that the campus has been largely quiet since March, and how grateful I am that students are returning! And while the quarter will clearly look different, new opportunities for ministry and growth still abound. Let me encourage you to be faithful in both your prayers and your efforts as it relates to our College Ministry. Pray for the students, the professors, the administrators, and the support personnel. Pray for physical safety, mental determination, and spiritual growth. Pray for Tech, Grambling, and Delta. And then use this season to declare Jesus in both word and deed. This is perhaps our greatest hour of ministry toward college students; let’s meet it with the courage and resolve of Christ Himself!
In addition, this is the season when we are challenged to support with our finances the missionary endeavor here in the state of Louisiana. Each year, we support gospel efforts and ministries throughout our own state by collecting what we call the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. And how our Louisiana brothers and sisters need our love and compassion! Of course, many of our fellow believers in South Louisiana continue to struggle with the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Specifically, areas like Lake Charles, DeRidder, and Cameron have been especially devastated. Through our collective giving, Louisiana Baptists have already responded to the crisis, and we will continue to assist in the effort. You see, the Georgia Barnette Offering provides the primary stream of revenue for such disaster relief response. Your past giving is being used now to provide meals, chainsaw teams, etc. (And of course, we should also show our ongoing appreciation to Rolling Hills for how they join with Louisiana Baptists to deploy personnel, feeding units, etc.!) So, thank you, Temple! You are touching lives right now in South Louisiana because you gave generously to the state offering in 2019.
The Georgia Barnette resources are also touching our local communities. For example, funds were disbursed to local associations earlier in the year to help churches confront the COVID-19 difficulties. Our association has appropriated the funds accordingly. And of course, we personally know how the Georgia Barnette monies assist in planting and replanting gospel fellowships because we have seen those resources applied to The Springs. Thanks to the state missions offering, we were able to make considerable improvements to The Springs’ facilities and provide a context to ministry. Already, we have seen how the Lord can utilize The Springs to extend the Gospel in great times and in perilous times. Even the recent hurricane response proved how valuable The Springs is as a ministry point for our Lord! I encourage you to check out the Georgia Barnette Prayer Guide this week, and you will note how The Springs is highlighted on Day 7. Praise God for the great things He has done and that He will do in that ministry!
My friends, I write this to remind you that we must continue to support our Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. Our church goal this year is $28,000. As we face a time of great need, I pray we would step up and multiply our contributions as we reach Louisiana with the love and work of Christ! See you Sunday!