Rev. Jesse Bilberry, Jr. gave the Director’s Address on Wednesday at the Louisiana Baptist State Convention, being held this week in Monroe at Carroll High School. Bilberry spoke about the need for christian education and that members who are unwilling to serve suck the life out of a church. He referred to them as leeches, an insult to God.
“The body of Christ already has too many people who come to the house of God and say ‘Preach to me, sing to me, serve me. If I’m sick, visit me. If I’m hurting, comfort me. If I need encouragement, encourage me. But don’t expect me to give any of my time or ability to this work, my schedule won’t permit me to get involved,” Bilberry said. “Such a member is a church leech, sucking the lifeblood of the church’s ministry,” he added.
Bilberry, the pastor of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, has served as the state director of the Congress of Christian Education for the convention for the past 22 years. He said that in the last three years, the Congress has focused on action and in its themes it used the verbs make, grow, and equip. The theme of this year’s convention is “Envisioning the Future Exceptionally as We Equip Disciples for Christ.” He said that christian education is a must in churches and in order to go out and make disciples of others, church members need to get the story straight.
“In order to grow up we need to ‘get our story straight.’ We have too many variations of the story. When we grow up, we are all on the same page, saying the same thing. The presence of all these variations not only confuse us who are apart of the church, but it confuses our witness to those outside of the church,” he preached.
He challenged the body of delegates to be more active in ministry and not expect the church leaders to do it alone.
“Every member of the body has a part to play in making the body function. The job of leaders is not to do the ministry while the people watch. That’s why it is a sin for a person to benefit from the ministry of the church and yet not contribute anything,” he said.
Bilberry wants to serve one more year. He thanked the convention president Dr. C.S. Gordon for allowing him to serve as the state director and said that he would like to finish his tenure in Gordon’s last year as Convention president in 2018.