On October 14-16 twenty students from the RTS Jackson MDIV program traveled to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA to meet with four different area church planters to learn, to be inspired, and to catch a vision for planting churches. The trip was the culmination of a semester-long project in Dr. Paul Long’s Church Planting class in which students developed a biblical theology and methodology for planting churches.
On Friday, the class traveled in two groups in order to complete specific ethnographic research projects in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Then on Saturday, four local PCA church planters—Scott Lindsay, J.B. Watkins, Ray Cannata, and John Uhl—met the class for an in-depth time of discussion and fellowship. On Sunday, the class divided up into four separate groups and worshiped at these four PCA church plants in the Eight Ward, Uptown, and Algiers neighborhoods of New Orleans and in the south Baton Rouge area.
The students experienced ministry in the context of hard spiritual ground in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They were able to see and understand the thrill of watching the Lord work in tough places. After returning, the students are working on a final class project to evaluate the effectiveness and difficulties of various church planting models.
The class saw how the respective church plants were planting hope and working his grace in the lives of those in the neighborhoods of New Orleans and south Baton Rouge area. One student, Marshall Jacks said, “We plant churches to preach the Gospel, but church planting is not just about preaching, but about loving and serving.”