Clark loves Christian education

Sunday school superintendent was a man’s job, Lucinda Clark retorted when first approached about taking the position more than 30 years ago.

“So they pointed out to me that there were several ladies in town who were Sunday school superintendents,” Clark said. “I said I’d just have to pray over it, and finally, I took it.”

Clark has been leading the Sunday school department for more than half of her 60 years as a member of First Emmanuel Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. “I don’t know what it is, but the Lord just kept me there,” she said.

The retired registered nurse has developed a passion for Christian education.

“You got to be on top of things if you’re doing God’s business,” she said. “You got to be prayed up.”

Sunday school plays a prominent role in the spiritual growth of the church, Clark said, describing it as a time of learning and teaching and following the example of Jesus, who preached and taught.

“You need Sunday school and our children need Sunday school,” Clark said. “As old as I am, the older I get, the more I want to know about God.”

Being a Sunday school leader has prompted Clark to go beyond complete readings of the Bible to search the Scriptures more deeply, she said.

Lately, Clark has been dealing with the question of “What’s wrong with the church?” — a question her pastor, the Rev. Henry J. Brown, posed. Clark said it has stuck with her.

“The question should be, ‘What is wrong with the people in the church today?” she said.

Clark said her study led her to two passages of Scripture. The first is 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says, “If my people who are called by my name would turn from their wicked ways, humble themselves and pray, seek my face, then will I hear from heaven and heal their land.”

The second is Roman 1:16-32, which reads in part, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

It’s time for the church to step up in sharing the gospel of Christ to help change the world, Clark said.

For the church, it all starts with prayer and being trained in the Word of God, she said, and that’s where programs such as Bible study, prayer meeting and Sunday school play a role.

Singing in the Grove

Oak Grove Baptist Church in Prairieville has been giving back to the community for nearly 100 years.

In the past few years, the church has given back in the form of a music outreach called the Singing in the Grove concert.

A variety of local talent will be showcased once again during the third annual Singing in the Grove set for 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 17450 Old Jefferson Highway — at La. 73 and La. 42 and one block off Airline Highway.

“This is a wonderful family concert that will usher in the Christmas season,” said Daniel Dumas, the coordinator of event. “Many of Singing in the Grove’s talented performers are soloists and ensembles that entertain, giving the concert an energetic, as well as a solemn beginning to Jesus Christ’s birth.”

The free concert will feature such favorite Christmas carols as “Away in the Manger” and “Silent Night” and spirituals such as “I Wonder as I Wander” and “Steal Away to Jesus.” There will also be favorites and contemporary songs ranging from rock to pop, country to blues, including “Christmas in Dixie” and “Step into Christmas.”

Jacquelyn Craddock, a member of Oak Grove for about two years, got her first taste of the Singing on the Grove last year.

“Last year was my first introduction to this annual concert and it was really remarkable,” said Craddock, who having worked in the College of Music at LSU, knows something about high caliber music.

“I see the level of performers that constantly come through for concerts and productions (at LSU) and to see the same level of entertainment and artistry at a local church — a very small local church — was really inspiring,” she said.

“This year, I think it’s going to be equally as strong,” she said. “It’s a real interesting blend between music like traditional Christmas and they also offer a real interesting twist and mashups on some contemporary songs on the classical holiday music.”

Also, the church will be collecting canned and nonperishable food items and children’s items such as diapers, formula, baby food, toddler food and juice to donate to Hope Ministries.

“There are more and more area families who are truly hungry, and this is one way our Oak Grove family can help,” Dumas said.

Go to http://www.ogbcprairieville.com for more on the concert.

For more information on Hope Ministries, go to http://www.hopebr.org.

Making disciples

The core mission of disciple-making is letting would-be disciples “really know” that God loves them, said authors of the new book “Imitating Jesus: Love, Friendship, and Disciple-Making” (West Bow Press).

Lewie Clark, the co-author with Tim Grissom, shares practical suggestions on how to make disciples. But he said disciple-making boils down to love and friendship.

“Get those two basic things right, and you can make disciples,” Clark writes.

Disciples need to be taught to love like Jesus did.

“Love makes the follower of Jesus, yet love does not come easily. It is therefore vital in the training of disciples that you demonstrate no only how to express love, but also how to receive it. Love is just an abtract thought when we only talk about it. But we certainly recognize when it’s set in motion through expression. Love indeed, and you will make disciples,” Clark writes.

The authors encourage Christians to not be fearful or insecure about discipleship. They suggest 200 questions to “mine the hearts” of those they disciple.

Chapters in the 108-page book include “What is God Like?,” “That’s Where I Belong,” “Defining Moments” and “Hospitality.”

Clark is a minister in Chicago and has served as a pastor, instructor and church planter. Grissom is a freelance writer in Arkansas.

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com