A decade ago New Orleans could have been described as a graveyard for Southern Baptist church plants. Spiritual warfare permeated the city. Many people considered themselves religious—even Christian—despite having little understanding of the gospel. New evangelical churches didn’t just die—many couldn’t even get off the ground.
In 2005 Hurricane Katrina changed everything. No other U.S. city lost more people between 2000 and 2009. At the same time, no U.S. city has had a greater percentage of new people move into it. An influx of younger Americans determined to help with the recovery and rebuild of the city and region is bringing New Orleans a new identity and providing new and exciting opportunities for church planting.
In its darkest days Southern Baptists rushed to The Big Easy to help at an unprecedented level. According to statistics gathered by the Louisiana Baptist Convention, New Orleans hasn’t forgotten the generosity of Southern Baptists either. Among religious groups in the city, the report showed that Southern Baptists are now held in high esteem.
The city has long been on the hearts of Southern Baptists. At the founding of the convention in 1845, Southern Baptists started their Board of Domestic Missions (now the North American Mission Board) in part to reach the city of New Orleans.
Despite the long-term presence of Southern Baptists in the area, New Orleans has only one SBC church for every 7,621 people. That’s four times higher than many state conventions in the South. Evangelical adherents make up only 11.6 percent of the population.
Local Southern Baptists believe they stand on the cusp of a spiritual renaissance in the city. Through Send North America: New Orleans, Southern Baptists hope to multiply the number of churches they plant in the coming years.
To get involved in Send North America: New Orleans, visit namb.net and click “Send Me.”