Signs on Bertrand Not a Protest; They Just Want to Pray With You
You may have seen the young people with signs on Bertrand Drive today.
At first, I was certain that it was a protest.
Then, I read the signs.
"Had a Tough Day?" and "Stop 4 Prayer" were just some of the messages on the signs that were being held up on Bertrand Drive by members of Acadiana Baptist Church.
I stopped in to see what was going on and I was met head-on by the Pastor of Acadiana Baptist Church, Jason Hebert.
Jason said that his church is offering a drive-thru prayer tent, which gives people the opportunity to pull in and say some prayers with members of his congregation.
The drive-thru prayer service is part of the church's "Love on Lafayette" program.
We're just putting out the opportunity for anyone that needs prayer, would like to pray, or has a situation, a tough thing, and just offer them prayer to point them to Our Lord. - Pastor Jason Hebert, Acadiana Baptist Church
Church members were standing near the corner of Bertrand Drive and Eraste Landry, just one block from their church at 163 North Long Street.
Many of the young people who were holding signs aren't from Acadiana, as they have traveled from Central Florida, Alabama, and East Texas.
Hebert told us that they have been offering this drive-thru service for a few years now, usually during the summer as that's when they have the "extra" daytime hands (kids are out of school).
The church is also about to undertake a beautification project at LJ Alleman Middle School, sprucing up the flowerbeds and such.
A few years back, as part of the Love on Lafayette Project, the church members took their talents into the restrooms at LJ Alleman by painting positive affirmations on the bathroom stalls.
Pastor Hebert said that the response to the sign-wavers and the drive-thru prayer service has been great.
We've had a great response! (In less than 2 hours) we've had over a dozen vehicles stop in to chat and pray with us. Folks are usually on their way somewhere, so having them stop in.
One of the people who stopped in was a member of the Louisiana National Guard. Pastor Hebert said that he stopped in to pray for wisdom and strength in his duties in service to Louisiana and our country.
There were others, Hebert said, that weren't certain what they needed to pray for.
Some can't even verbalize what their needs are, saying, "just pray for me, I don't know what I need to pray for", so we did.
The church is running free sports and activity camps at LJ Alleman this summer and, though space is tight, there are still a few slots open.
So my next question was a simple, wide-open, "Why? Why are you guys doing all of these things?"
Without hesitation, Pastor Hebert responded with a simple, basic, no-frills answer: "We want to let people know that there is a church here in Lafayette that loves you. And we love you just the way you are."
He said that his church focuses on the Scriptures, as they are a Bible-based group.
I asked Pastor Hebert if he could give me one Bible verse that he thought was fitting for today, and he was quick to respond:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me - 23rd Psalm
He explains: "It's such a tough climate we are living in. One of the sweetes Psalms is the 23rd, and we can always fall back on it (he proceeds to recite it). No matter what happens in our world, as constant as it changes, as chaotic as it can be, Jesus is always there. And that's who we trust in."
I asked Pastor Hebert if there is anything that his church does different than other churches in the area, and he said that there is one thing for certain.
In most Baptist churches, Sunday services begin with fellowship, then Sunday School, then Worship Services.
At Acadiana Baptist Church, they begin with fellowship (coffee and donuts at 9:30!), then Worship Services at 10, and then Connection Classes/Sunday School at 11.
He explains that he moved the Connection Classes/Sunday School to have it follow the Worship Service for a simple reason: if people have questions about the service or the sermon, they can ask them right after the service, instead of sitting on them for a week.
The church welcomes new members, and coffee and donuts on a Sunday morning are a great way to meet people. Who knows, you may find what you've been looking for at Acadiana Baptist Church.
Pastor Hebert, thank you for letting me visit you and members of your congregation.
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