A group of Christian ministers and leaders met for lunch on Tuesday at First Baptist Church to exchange thoughts and ideas, in order to help serve the community. Local Southern Baptist ministers openly shared on new ministries that have developed in their churches to help reach the needs of the community, especially the less fortunate.
The meeting began with a prayer led by First Baptist Church Pastor Richard Gambill. The group enjoyed lunch and made introductions. Several local Southern Baptist churches and leaders were represented at the meeting, but the heart of the meeting was ministry.
Jeff Cook, Louisiana Baptists Compassion Meeting strategist, led the meeting, explaining what his organization was and what they do.
"We want every church involved," he said. "Our ultimate goal is to reach the lost and to be the Church. We meet humans' needs so that we can build trusting relationships that allow us to fully share the gospel and connect people to a local church."
After briefly speaking, Cook opened the floor for ministers to express ideas and share about news happening in Bastrop, and asked them to tell what their ministry needs to function better.
Luther Sanson, pastor of Twin Oaks Baptist Church, said he has recently purchased some land for a possible trailer park and started a community garden. He said he has a lot of land and projects to be developed for a ministry in the making, possibly one that helps women with children.
Sanson said he hopes to one day help the needy with housing and to witness while teaching children to garden. The need for his ministry is volunteers and skilled laborers to help restore properties that are purchased.
Pam Walker, a member of First Baptist Church and founder of Care and Hope Ministry, said she would like to start a ministry that would help people coming off drugs and those who have been incarcerated to find jobs.
"We would begin by identifying the individual's strengths," she said. "We need coordinators, mentors and speakers. Our goal is to get people job ready with skills training. We would love to build a site here."
Walker said another need would be for employers to partner with them to help find jobs for those in training.
Bodie Spicer, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, said he is not sure how it happened, but the youth program at his church has been booming with adolescents.
He said most of them do not have parents that go to church and have had hard lives. His goal has been to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ, he said.
"I don't want to lose this generation," he said. "We have a large homeless population of children here in Bastrop. Our church has embraced these children."
Spicer went on to say that his church has baptized 42 teenagers in the last two years, and sent 25 to church camp this year.
Don Willard, Faith Baptist Youth Pastor, gave examples of children who have rode their bikes many miles to Faith Baptist because they heard their congregation would help them.
"We love and feed them," he said. "We feed 30 to 100 kids every Wednesday night. Care and Hope has helped us a lot with that."
Spicer said the goal would be to become self-sufficient in the youth ministry at his church.
Gary Guice, youth pastor at Bonita Road Baptist Church, said he has been working with special needs children and his need would be more volunteers to help.
"I have been working with Dee Hobson and have been doing fundraisers to help send kids to Med Camp in the summer. That has also led to us working with the Dixie Diehards, a special needs athletic team," Guice said.
The meeting closed with remarks from Cook, encouraging ministry leaders to follow through while ideas are fresh and to voice their needs loudly in order to be sustained.