- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - A former leader at Louisiana College and a group of pastors are organizing a new Baptist association. They say it will create a “second option” for Louisiana Baptists that would allow churches to keep most of their money on the local level.

Tim Johnson founded the nonprofit Southern Baptist Association of Louisiana.

Johnson tells The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/1BElabu ) “multiple” pastors also are involved but did not want to include their names for fear of retaliation from the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

“There’s too much power in the Baptist Building (LBC office in Alexandria) because there’s too much money,” Johnson said. “With the amount of money there, the power’s there with it. And that’s the problem with our state.”

LBC officials did not return requests for comments Tuesday.

But Johnson is not asking churches to send their funds to his organization. Johnson wants them to keep what they would normally give to the LBC and use it for missions and evangelism at home.

“We believe the strongest form of missions and ministry is in the church,” he said.

He also wants them to remain members of the Louisiana Baptist Convention in addition to joining the Southern Baptist Association of Louisiana.

To remain a part of the LBC, member churches must continue their donations to the Cooperative Program, which is in partnership with the larger Southern Baptist Convention. When local churches donate to LBC missions, 63 cents of each dollar stay in the state while the rest goes to the Cooperative Program for SBC ministries and missions, Johnson said.

“We want churches to stay in the Convention to try and effect change,” Johnson said. “If churches sent that 37 cents to Nashville (SBC) and kept the 63 cents at their church for local missions, evangelism and ministry, it could change this state.”

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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