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Our Vision

Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church

1801 2nd Ave, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., Pastor/Teacher

Strategic Vision

Summary Statement

The Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church shares the love of Jesus Christ within our membership, around our community, and throughout our world. We are an intergenerational and multiethnic family that values the diversity of people among us, practices Christian hospitality for the strangers around us, and cultivates vibrant fellowship with all who will receive us. We practice listening, learning, growing, and serving so that we can expand our witness and enable people to see our good work and glorify our Father in Heaven. We preach and live the Good News of Jesus to persuade people to respond to the Holy Spirit, to grow in Christ, and to live for God through evangelism, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry. We seek to be a vibrant and loving church that grows through membership and discipleship, that nurtures people and families to be healthy and resilient, and that transforms lives for the glory of God.

We dream a future where we …

  • Baptize new disciples of Jesus weekly
  • Grow this congregation in quantity and quality
  • Practice faithful stewardship with our whole lives
  • Provide staffing to facilitate and support our ministry
  • Empower people to develop to their highest capacity
  • Generate resources adequate to realize God’s vision for us
  • Enlarge our Christian witness through multimedia technology
  • Develop comprehensive ministries that transform our community
  • Create businesses and institutions that succeed through practicing biblical standards

A strategic visioning team gathered at the church on Friday, 25 February 2011, to engage in an Appreciative Inquiry exercise which results can be useful to building a five- to seven-year strategic plan. Following are elements identified as strengths of the church’s present and dreams of the church’s future.

What makes you feel best about the church?

  • The family atmosphere
  • The helpfulness of the church and people in the church
  • Outreach ministries
  • The Pastor gathers information and brings it back to share
  • The experience at church helps the week to run smoother
  • Tuesday phone prayer line
  • The intergenerational nature of the church
  • The multi-ethnic nature of the church where all are included
  • The fellowship within the small groups and the small groups responses in ministry

When have we done exceptional work?

  • When we are working together/working on one accord in:
    • 40 days of purpose
    • 40 days of prayer
    • “Mission is who we are”
    • “On Patrol for Jesus” – evangelism from 9 pm – 12 am
    • All night prayer – “lock down”
    • Hurricane Katrina response and care shown
    • Haiti earthquake response
    • Community outreach (Building D activities of clothing, food, household items, etc.)
  • The way we use different age groups in evangelism counseling to receive people making decisions for Christ

What do you value most about this church?

  • Practicing our “Five Purposes” of evangelism, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry
  • The preached word
  • Our good reputation in the community
  • Hospitality and concern from members
    • “People notice when you are not present”
    • “I feel like I matter”
  • Our pastor is inquisitive and open-minded
    • “He goes places, learn things, and brings it back home”
    • He values people’s opinions and listens
  • The church is disciplined in the ways it operates – orderly and prompt
  • Training – BTU
  • Music Ministry
  • Diverse opportunities for people to participate according to their interests
  • The welcoming style of communication to visitors and people who are new
  • We are affectionate – “a touchy, feely, church”
  • Spirit of connection and community among the youth – they enjoy being together
  • The good attitude of staff
  • Peace among the leadership – not combativeness or confusion

What do you dream for the future? I dream a church that …

  • Is growing in membership and in discipleship
    • Growing in quantity and in quantity
    • Growing wide and deep
  • Has 100% tithers
  • Is fully funds scholarships for three students per year for five-year university degrees
  • Has 500 weekly tithers
  • Has 1,000 in weekly Sunday School attendance on campus and online
  • Has a fully staffed ministry staff aligned with the Five Purposes and a fully staffed administrative staff
  • That has enough money to fully fund our dreams – no funding limitations
  • That is baptizing new disciples for Jesus every Sunday
  • That is moving people from membership to discipleship
  • That owns businesses and institutions which follow Biblical practices and standards
  • That provides a full complement of sports, recreation, and activities that enhance the quality of life in the community and contribute to the transformation and wholeness of life (like a YMCA on steroids; “the GSMCA”)
  • Has a resort for the elders to enjoy
  • Has a multi-media production and broadcast capacity for the church to make its impact anywhere

The following are significant recurring themes that emerged:

  • Family/Community
  • Outreach/community impact
  • Internal and external
  • Pastor
  • Inclusivity
  • Reputation
  • Affection