Louisiana Baptists Missions – 1915
By George H. Crutcher
Corresponding Secretary, Shreveport, Louisiana.
State Missions is responsible for North Louisiana being so largely Baptist. The efforts and co-operative endeavor in this State were conceived and launched through the leadership of North Louisiana.
Naturally attention was given more largely to this section than to others by reason of their consciousness of the needs of this section and also by reason of the fact that the people of this section were not under the influence of any contrary views, and the work could be prosecuted with so much less friction and with so much larger results.
In all the north end of the State, except in the Delta Strip, our problem has largely ceased to be one of conquest; its rather one of possessing. We have many churches that need just a little help to keep their pastor or provide adequate facilities for church life.
In the central part of the State and in the Florida Parishes, we have much of both that needs to be done. There are many communities with a large population who are hungering for gospel advantages, but they lack leadership among themselves to provide it and the money necessary to procure it from other sources. In practically all these communities a better church building would greatly facilitate the work of the Lord.
In the south and southwest sections we have whole parishes (counties) that need everything conceivable from a missionary viewpoint. They are a people with strong bodies and active minds. But many of whom have been neglected educationally, and as viewed by Baptists worse than neglected In a religious way. . Many of them are coming to see that it is vain to depend upon the prayers of the priest or trust their salvation to the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. They are conscious of the fact that they are not getting as much out of their religion and
out of life as some other people are getting, and they are eagerly inquiring the way of life.
On every hand there is great encouragement for us to enlarge and intensify our efforts among these people with the Word of God. There Is no need to abuse them; they do not deserve it. In fact they are to be pitied. They are very conscientious according to what they have been taught was right. The blame is not upon them but upon their leaders. But one would be unwise to rise against their leaders, because, while conscious they need something else, they are yet controlled by the mighty dread of the curse they are taught will rest upon the man who dares to forsake the Roman Catholic Church.
Our missionaries in this section ore meeting with the greatest success ever known by them, and their number is entirely too small to do the work that Southern Baptists ought to do in this section at this time. The time of fruitage Is now upon us.
We shall sin against our fathers who sacrificed so much to plant the word of truth in the hearts of these people. We sin against the people who are living now if we do not hasten to them with the Word of Life, while they are conscious of their need of it, and are willing to receive it.
We shall sin against the future of all our Baptist people and the future of Southland if we do not unsparingly, earnestly and tenderly give them the gospel that their souls may live and that their children may be brought up to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and King.
This discussion has dealt with our State Mission problems by geographical location, but there are other phases that must not be overlooked.
There are thousands of Spanish-speaking people in Louisiana, among whom as yet no work has been done. There are more Italians in Louisiana than there are Indians in Oklahoma, and yet we have made only a beginning. Glorious though it has been, yet simply a beginning of work among these people who are in such dire need. For only one and one-half years have the Baptists been maintaining any work among the Italians in this State. There is a community of more than 25,000 Italians in Louisiana who have had absolutely no work done among them.
This to our shame. But may we, with the courage of sons of noble sires, redeemed at the enormous price of the blood of our Redeemer, manifest the spirit of our Saviour towards these, our fellowmen, who as yet have never known that Jesus saves.
We have also more than 20,000 Germans, 3,000 Russians, and 3,000 Austrians; at least twenty-five nationalities of foreign-speaking peoples living in our bounds, for whom as yet we have been unable to put forth any help at all. To do the work of State Missions thoroughly in Louisiana would be to do a cosmopolitan work, and to make a mighty contribution to Missions in every land. For we have people with us from almost every nation of any importance.
We need men who can speak the languages of these peoples. We need money to pay these men and to provide the necessary facilities for carrying on the work among them. We need the intelligent, sympathetic, prayerful association of our Southern Baptists. With all this, we would be sure to receive the abounding approval of our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Will the returns justify the outlay? Throughout the length and breadth of our Southern Convention there has been a feeling that the returns from Louisiana were not adequate to justify a large expenditure. Let us face this Issue squarely. It must always he granted that in these things there are results that no earthly record shows. God’s recording angels alone have kept such data. But, of things that we do know, what has Louisiana given back to Southern Baptists as a result of what they have Invested in us?
==========[From Victor I. Masters, editor, The Home Field magazine, August 1915, pp. 11-12; via Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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