Metairie Baptist Missive for August 19, 2015

“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Thank you for your prayers over the past few days – they have been busy!  We are in Faculty Workshop at Leavell College/New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as we are preparing for the new academic year.  Tomorrow we welcome the new students to campus – and then classes begin on Monday!  I am looking forward to this year as I do each year.  I greatly appreciate your prayer support as I fulfill that portion of God’s calling on my life.  This semester I will be teaching two exegetical classes —  New Testament Interpretation: Romans and New Testament Interpretation: Acts.

I am also overwhelmingly thankful for the opportunity to be your pastor.  The past 10 plus years have been challenging in many ways but fulfilling in most every way.  Thank you for your prayers – you have no idea how much the prayer support means to me as your pastor and to our entire staff.  I am grateful to minister alongside each one of them and look forward to embracing the days ahead as we seek after God’s ministry in and through Metairie Baptist.

By now, you may have heard that Daniel Guagliardo has resigned from our staff as the Minister of Youth and is taking on a new ministry opportunity in another city.  He and Sarah will be moving on August 31 so you will want to use the days ahead to express your appreciation to him for his ministry.  We are grateful for Daniel’s ministry at MBC over the past years.

Join me in praying for our youth as well as they walk through these days of transition. These days are always challenging but we have in place individuals who can keep the ministry moving forward.  In addition, pray for us as we seek after the next Minister of Youth.  God is leading and for that we are thankful!

We have been anticipating the Church Family Picnic for a long time – and now it is almost here.  Don’t forget to sign up to be a part of the picnic on Sunday, August 30, at 4:00 p.m.  The final plans are being made – and your help is needed.  Sign-up sheets are in the Orion Foyer – you can sign up to attend and indicate what you are bringing.  Also, you can sign up to help with the set-up, the serving, or the tear down phase of the picnic.  Please utilize this opportunity as a chance to invite friends and family members to experience the joy that is felt at Metairie Baptist.  We

are going to have a cake baking contest and a water slide for the children to add a little more excitement to the event!

In two weeks we will begin our new Wednesday night studies.  Please make plans to join us for one of our MasterLife courses.  Each of these studies is designed to challenge you in your walk with Christ.   A men’s group, a women’s group, and a mixed co-ed group will be offered.  These will start the first week in September and last until Thanksgiving – so make plans to join in this time of study and growth.

Join us tonight as we continue our study.  I will be talking through the final days of Paul’s third missionary journey, as well as his trip to Jerusalem which led to his arrest.  We meet in the Sanctuary at 6:10 tonight.

Don’t forget to bring cookies for the new students at seminary.  Each year we hand out cookies to welcome the new students.  If you are able to bake some, please place them in baggies containing two or three cookies – and bring them by the church tomorrow (Thursday) before noon.

Be certain of my prayers for you.  I look forward to seeing you tonight.

On the journey,

Thomas Strong III, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor

Metairie Baptist Church

401 Codifer Blvd.

Metairie, LA  70005


Metairie Baptist Missive for August 12, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

August 12, 2015
“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Where did the morning go? I guess it went to the same place as the summer went! Time continues to march forward – that happens without our input. The one opportunity for input that we have is how we use the time. I challenge you to be wise in your use of time today and to use your time for His honor!

I was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Ray Pace’s life this week. He was a great man whom God used in so many ways to encourage me and everyone who came in contact with Him. I trust that we will all be challenged by the way he lived his life – and that we would consistently remember that we are “blessed” even as Ray did throughout his entire life. Join me in continuing to pray for Jeannie and the family.

As pastor, I have the opportunity to see many people who minister behind the scenes. I wanted to express my gratitude for a group of ladies who consistently work behind the scenes without notice to provide an incredible ministry. Each time we experience a death within the church family, a group of ladies mobilize immediately to develop a plan to provide for the family during these times. This week, this group of ladies provided a breakfast for all who attended the visitation and memorial service. In addition, they went the extra mile to provide box lunches for some who were driving across the Causeway to the burial. I was one of those who was the recipient of their kindness – and it meant a great deal to me. Thank you to these ladies who give of their time and demonstrate their kindness/compassion to many. [By the way, I would call their names but out of fear of leaving someone out, I will refrain. Of course, Lillian Bowser is the one who takes the lead in this ministry!]

Don’t forget about our study tonight! We will continue to look at the Life of Paul. Last week we had the opportunity to think through Paul’s visit to Athens and Corinth on his second missionary journey. Tonight we will look at the beginning of his third missionary journey and will highlight his impact on the city of Ephesus and Corinth. Join us at 6:10 p.m. in the Sanctuary for this time together.

Sunday is going to be a great day at Metairie Baptist. Sunday School/Bible Study begins at 9:15 a.m. As I mentioned on Sunday, this is a great opportunity to connect with others and to understand better the Scriptures so that they can be applied to life! If you haven’t been attending, we will be glad to help you find a place in Bible Study on Sunday morning. After Sunday School, we will have a time to worship together. This week I am preaching from Hebrews 12. The choir will be singing, and we are going to continue our time of prayer emphasis during the service.

On Sunday night, we will meet at 5:00 for our Business Meeting/Church Council. You are all invited to attend this time – it is meant to be a time for the entire church family to come together. We will be discussing matters such as the finances of the church and hearing reports from committees as we anticipate the upcoming year. In addition, you will have the opportunity to provide input or to ask questions. This truly is a family meeting so come join in the discussion!

Our Family Picnic is taking place on August 30 at 4:00 p.m. If you haven’t made plans to attend, plan now to come and join us. You can sign up on the bulletin tab on Sunday morning, by means of the sheet in the Orion Foyer, or by calling the church office. When you sign up, indicate what side item you will be bringing so we can be prepared. A water slide is going to be provided for the children. In addition, we will be having a cake baking competition among the men – and we will all be able to enjoy the entries into the competition! Invite your friends and family to join you as we just enjoy being together.

Many of our students and teachers have returned to school this week. Other will begin classes soon. As a church, we have made a commitment to pray for them. Some of you committed to pray individually for them by picking an “apple” with their name on it during our breakfast. Continue to pray and ask for God’s blessings on their lives as they walk through this school year. Pray for encouragement in their lives and for them to be mindful of God’s working in their lives. Pray as well for their impact and witness upon the schools they attend.

I look forward to seeing you tonight and Sunday!

On the journey,

Metairie Baptist Missive for July 29, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

July 29, 2015
“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Good morning! I missed being with you on Sunday and throughout last week. We are now home in New Orleans and reflecting on a great trip. I always enjoy spending time with Mom and hearing all that is happening in her life. I am thankful, especially, to hear of her continued love for missions and involvement in a number of mission opportunities. Jana and I enjoyed catching up with my sister and her family as well. In addition, it was nice to experience a little break from some of the routines of life – but I am ready to embrace those routines now!

This Sunday is going to be an exciting time together at Metairie Baptist. 

*First, we will have a breakfast to kick off the Sunday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. and lasting until Sunday School starts at 9:15 a.m. This is a great time of fellowship and will also be a time when we commit to pray for our students and teachers as they head back to school.

*Our children will be promoting with many going to their new classes on Sunday morning during Sunday School. Pray for the children and the teachers who invest in their lives through the ministry of Sunday School.

*We encourage all to begin our new Sunday School year in Bible study – if you haven’t been before or haven’t been in a while, join us for Sunday School/Bible Study which begins at 9:15 a.m. If you don’t know which class to attend, we will be available to help you find the right place.

*During our morning worship service, we are having guest worship leaders. Jason and Lauren Waggoner will be leading us on Sunday. They are a dynamic young couple with a heart for God and a gift from Him for leading in worship. Join us at 10:30 a.m. for our time of worship. In addition, Melissa Jackson will be singing before I preach on Hebrews 10. It is going to be a great time together at Metairie Baptist.

Join Us In Praying for Our Students

Your help is needed! We are seeking the names of students and teachers so that we can pray for them throughout the year. If you have a student or teacher in your home or know of one for whom we can pray, please contact the church office at 504-835-2611. You can also email by sending a note to During the breakfast on Sunday morning, you will have an opportunity to make a commitment to pray for a student throughout the upcoming year. What a great opportunity we have to invest in the lives of our students and teachers by praying for them throughout the year.

Church Picnic!

Don’t forget that the church picnic is planned for August 2 at 4:00 p.m. We are going to enjoy a time of fellowship that afternoon at the church. You will have an opportunity to sign up in the weeks ahead, but we encourage you to make plans now to attend. Sign-up sheets are available to indicate your attendance and to indicate which side dish you are planning on bringing. The men are going to have a “bake off” – so men, begin to find those recipes and make those plans now! We will all enjoy the bake off entries after the judging has been completed. In addition, we are having a waterslide for the children to be able to have some extra fun and stay cool! Invite your family and friends as well – just sign them up as they agree to come so we will know how much chicken to purchase!

“The Life of Paul” Continues Tonight

I look forward to seeing you tonight as we continue our study of Paul’s life. Tonight we will look at the beginning of his second journey, particularly his encounters in Philippi and Thessalonica. We will begin tonight at 6:10 p.m. in the sanctuary.

Prayer Request

I have asked the church to join me in praying for our continued steps into the future. We have reached a time in our ministry when our budget is very tight. We are definitely not at the point of an emergency but we are watching expenses to make certain that we don’t place ourselves in a position to hinder the ministry. Would you pray with me that God would give guidance and that individuals would continue to give sacrificially to the ministry out of grateful hearts for all that God has done?

I find it hard to believe that the summer is almost over. The fact that the children are heading back to school is a reminder that the days continue to move forward. Let’s be found faithful in using every day for His honor! I look forward to seeing you tonight.

On the journey,

Metairie Baptist Missive for July 8, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

July 8, 2015

“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

I trust you had a great July 4th weekend.  The weekend was a great time to remember the blessings that God has given us here in the United States. I was reminded that some of the things we complain about greatly are the results of freedoms that we enjoy – and others around the world could never imagine experiencing the blessings we experience daily.  Let’s join together as a church family to be certain that we give thanks to God for His blessings and that we utilize those blessings as opportunities to be used by Him in this world in which He has placed us.


I want to encourage you to continue to pray for our youth at Centrifuge. I have heard daily updates from Daniel and all things are going well.  They are actively engaged in regular Bible study, worship, fellowship, and fun.  Sometimes we forget these various components complement each other; camp reminds us that they do!   Today is their last full day at Centrifuge.  Pray that God would continue to speak.  Pray that each encounter with the youth would be leading to a life change moment as the Spirit works in their lives.  Pray for the adults present; remember that they have made sacrifices to be present.  I am praying that God would speak to the adults/chaperones to encourage them in their walks.  We look forward to their return on Thursday.  We also look forward to hearing of God’s work in their lives.

Family Movie Night

Family Movie Night is a little over a week away (July 17)!  Make plans to join us as we come together just to experience a good time of fellowship.  The movie will be “Despicable Me.”  If you have seen it already, come and enjoy it with us. If you are like me and haven’t seen it (but have heard about it often), now is the chance to see it.  While watching the movie, we will have time together as a church family.  I was asked what ages are invited to this event.  The Answer:  Everyone who is alive is invited!  Come and join us.  This is also a great event to which you can invite your family and friends.  Family Movie Night is Friday, July 17 in the Fellowship Hall.

“The Life of Paul”

Join us tonight for our Bible Study on the “Life of Paul.”  Last week we studied how the Holy Spirit set apart Barnabas and Paul for a missionary journey.  Come and relive the journey with us as we examine Acts 13 and 14.  You will quickly realize that being a missionary is a great life, but it is also a very challenging life.  In addition, you will discover that with God’s help, Paul persevered in faithfulness.  You will be challenged by this study.  We begin at 6:10 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

“Deacon Nominations”

Please remember that we are currently receiving nominations for those who will serve as deacons for the next three years.  Ballots were available in the bulletin on Sunday, will be available in the bulletin this Sunday, and are available in the church office.  After prayerfully completing the ballot, you can return them to the box outside of the church office.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.  We will continue to work our way through the letter to the Hebrews. This week we will be looking particularly at Hebrews 8.  Take some time to read through it before Sunday as you begin to prepare yourself for Sunday.  I have been praying that you would be challenged by our consideration of Hebrews over the past months – challenged to remember that Jesus truly is the great High Priest who had made the necessary sacrifice for us and intercedes continually on our behalf.  Join me in praying for God’s Spirit to move among us during the service on Sunday as we strive towards holiness and obedience.

On the journey,

Metairie Baptist Missive for July 1, 2015

“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Can you believe that it is July already? With the dawn of July, we suddenly discover that half of 2015 is now over. We can’t go back and recover any of the past days but we can determine that we will capture each day ahead. Now is a good time for that mid-year check-up. How are you doing in your walk with Christ? Are you growing to be more like Him in your life/walk, thoughts, and actions? Are you consistently spending time with Him? Are you seeking to tell others about him through your conversations and passing out TrueLife cards? Are you being used by Him in the ministry of MBC? Are you intentionally helping someone grow in their walk with Christ by investing in someone’s life? Pray, give consideration of your life, and make those decisions today to utilize the days ahead for His glory! Paul reminds us, “As you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him . . . .” (Col. 3:6)

Sunday was a great day at Metairie Baptist. We are thankful for an effective and a meaningful time during Bible study/Sunday School. At MBC, we have some of the finest teachers who diligently study and consistently practice the Word of God. We are also thankful for a great time of worship and Bible study during the morning worship service. The presence and working of the Spirit was obvious. Thanks for your attentiveness and patience as we studied through the first verses of Hebrews 7 and explored the comparison of Jesus and Melchizedek. We are also thankful for John and Kathy Occhipinti who felt God calling them to move their membership to MBC and plant their lives here! In addition, we are thankful for a great Business Meeting/Church Council. I love how we can come together to talk through not only the business of the church but, even more so, the ministry of the church. The council time reminds me of the truth that the church really is made up of individuals, each of which is uniquely gifted with insights and gifts. We made some plans for the future and talked through many issues including:

*For the sake of ministry continuity, August 2 will be promotion Sunday this year. We are going to begin with a breakfast at 8:30-9:15 during which time we will begin praying for our students as they prepare to begin school.

*We rescheduled the Family Picnic for August 30 – to be held at the church. Included in this time will be an opportunity for our entire church to enjoy great fellowship and the children to enjoy water slide fun! The men of the church are going to participate in a cake baking contest!

*A Family Movie night is going to be held in the Fellowship Hall on July 17. More details will be coming but the purpose of this night is for ALL the family of MBC to join together for a great time of fellowship. This will be a wonderful time to invite family guests, especially those who came during VBS. The move is still to be determined but will be targeted toward our younger ones so all present can enjoy the night (even though targeted for the younger ones, it will also be a movie that all will enjoy).

*A mission project to encourage the teachers at a local school was discussed with plans to implement possibly in November – more details will be coming!

*In September, we will begin MasterLife small group studies for all adults on Wednesday night.

*Education and outreach ministry teams are being developed to strengthen these ministries at MBC.

*We are in need of support help for our preschool and children’s ministry. If you can help in Sunday School (either weekly or sporadically) or in Extended Teaching Care during the morning service, please contact the church office to leave a contact number and someone will return your call with more information.

*We are praying for someone to oversee the Samaritan Ministry. If you are interested in knowing more, please contact either Mitch or myself.

*Our children will be leaving for camp on July 20. Please join me in praying for them as they begin their preparations. Also, if you would like to sponsor a child for camp or help sponsor a child, please let Leah Weaver or myself know.

We discussed a great deal at the council meeting — if you missed it, make plans to join us next week to be a part of the discussion.  I left the meeting encouraged and challenged. I am encouraged by all that God is doing, especially as we considered the wonderful week of VBS. I am challenged as I look into the future and want to make certain we grasp every opportunity that God presents to us.

Youth Centrifuge Trip

Our youth will be leaving on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. to leave for Jackson, MS where they will be attending Centrifuge. Please join me in praying for our youth and the leaders. This is always an exciting time of great encouragement and fun. Pray that God would provide safety for travels and while they are there. In addition, pray that each person present would be aware of God’s working and that there would be a willingness to respond to His working. Continue to pray for Daniel as he leads the youth ministry at MBC!

Wednesday Night Bible Study Continues Tonight!

Join us tonight as we continue our study on the “Life of Paul.” Tonight we will begin looking at Acts 13 as the Holy Spirit calls out Barnabas and Paul to begin the first journey of spreading the word and establishing new churches. You’ll be encouraged in your walk so bring your Bibles and join us tonight in the sanctuary at 6:10 p.m.

Many will be traveling this weekend for the celebration of July 4th. Whether you travel or stay at home, let’s covenant to pray for each other that we would demonstrate a consistency in our walk with Christ throughout the weekend. For those of you in town, I look forward to seeing you at Metairie Baptist on Sunday.

On the journey,
Thomas Strong III, Ph.D.
Senior Pastor
Metairie Baptist Church
401 Codifer Blvd.
Metairie, LA  70005

Metairie Baptist Missive for June 24, 2015


What a great week! Vacation Bible School was a tremendous success and God definitely blessed the time/effort. We at Metairie Baptist owe a great deal of thanks to so many who helped make the week a wonderful time as the children “journeyed off the map” and learned to follow Jesus as their guide. If you were around the church last week, you heard lots of singing, laughing, and teaching. It was a great week. Though I hesitate to single any out for appreciation, let me try and express thanks to some:

*A special thanks to Leah Weaver and Kathryn Burns. They really pulled it all together as the co-directors of VBS. Over the past months, they have invested countless hours into the planning and throughout the week they dealt with numerous details – and the entire time they kept the VBS on track and effective!

*Thanks to all who volunteered! Without your help, VBS would never happen. Thank you for giving of your time and efforts – and for modeling Christlikeness in front of the children throughout the week.

*Thanks to parents and adults who brought the children. As I mentioned on Sunday, the children can’t get to church by themselves so we are thankful to parents and other adults who felt it was important enough for the children to be brought to MBC.

*Thanks to you who donated items/supplies – your donations helped make the week not only effective, but affordable. Your investment will reap greatly in the lives of the children in the days ahead.

*Thanks to all who prayed throughout the week. Ultimately, any good thing that happens will be the result of God’s work – and I thank you for interceding on behalf of the children and volunteers throughout the week.

Now I ask that you join me as we continue to pray that the seeds planted in Vacation Bible School within the hearts of the children will continue to grow. We rejoice over decisions that have been made and pray that God will give us wisdom as we seek to nurture those decisions.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: The Life of Paul

Make plans to join us in the sanctuary tonight at 6:10 p.m. as we continue our study on “The Life of Paul.” Over the past weeks, we have discovered some about Paul’s early life as well as his conversion on the Road to Damascus. Join us tonight as we continue thinking about those days immediately following his conversion which led up to his being commissioned by the Holy Spirit as a missionary! If you were not able to make it to the previous studies, join us tonight – you’ll be able to pick right up where we are as we continue forward. Remember as well that we have activities for all ages tonight – and don’t forget to come early to enjoy our fellowship supper.

Sunday, June 28th

I look forward to seeing you Sunday. Make plans to join us as we study the Word in both Sunday School/Bible Study and during the morning worship service. During the morning service, we will be looking at Hebrews 7: Melchizedek! Pray that God would use the service for His honor in our lives – and invite others to join you!

Church Council/Business Meeting

Sunday night at 5:00 p.m., we will meet as a church in the Fellowship Hall for our monthly Business Meeting/Church Council. Join us as we discuss our financial matters and other business issues (including the new AC unit needed for the education building). In addition, we will begin talking through some matters related to our new church year which will begin in August. Come hear about the possibility of a new mission project as well. In addition, this is the time for you to have the opportunity to raise questions or to offer suggestions. After all, you make up the church!

Memorial Service for Bill Goynes

We were saddened and surprised to hear of the passing of Bill Goynes. I know you join me in continuing to pray for Mary, Jason, Jordan, and Joel – as well as the extended family and friends impacted by Bill’s passing. The memorial service will be held at Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home on Friday, June 26, 2015. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., followed by a service at 12:00 p.m.

Reflections on the SBC Meeting in Columbus

Personally, I wanted to thank you for your prayers while I was away at the Southern Baptist Convention Meeting last week in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years, I have attended more conventions than I can remember. I do so usually as an employee of the SBC due to my serving at Leavell College/New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. But I am also glad to be able to do so as a representative of Metairie Baptist. This year the convention was extremely unusual. There were few matters of debate and controversy (which is a nice change). The emphasis was upon prayer for our work in the United States and in the world, as well as prayer for the renewal of God’s church. A different spirit was noted among those attending as there was an anticipation of God’s speaking throughout the preaching and the reports. One of my favorite moments of the convention was the time of prayer for spiritual renewal and kingdom effectiveness which took place on Tuesday night. Over 5,000 people gathered together that night at the convention hall for the purpose of prayer and praise – it was a tremendous night. In my opinion, if we keep this as our focus, we have better days ahead for the SBC. Like all denominations, the SBC is in a period of decline. Last year over 2,000 churches were started in the United States through the North American Mission Board. Despite these great gains, during that same year over 3,700 churches closed their doors. We live in a world that needs to know of the hope that is found in Christ – only through individuals who are committed to Christ and through churches who are committed to Kingdom effectiveness will be able to spread this great hope to those who need to know. You may be asking, “So what does this mean for MBC?” It simply means that we must continue the journey of growing individually in Christlikeness, of being a church that stays focused on matters of discipleship, and of determining that we will continue to reach out to those who need to know of Jesus through intentional ministry.

I am thankful for you and will continue to pray for you! If I can pray specifically for you, please let me know. You can reach me at or 504-835-2611.
On the journey,

Metairie Baptist Missive for May 27, 2015

Metairie Baptist Missive

May 27, 2015

“So the world will know, the saved will grow, and the church will go.”

Good rainy afternoon! I am thankful that regardless of how many times the weather may change in a day or week, God never changes. I love the Scripture that reminds us that “Jesus is the same, yesterday, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Today has been a busy day but I wanted to make certain you were aware of several matters before the day continues forward.

As of this moment, we are still waiting on the final arrangements for Susan Sanson’s memorial service. We can only imagine all the challenges involved with the logistics. I would encourage you to continue to pray for Billy and the family during these days. As soon as we hear something more certain, we will use all our means to make it known to you, including sending an email from the church to this address.

The Gathering At the Park Has Been Postponed

Due to the uncertainties of the happenings of this weekend, we have postponed the church wide picnic to be held at the park. Our plans are to reschedule this event to happen later in the summer.

Vacation Bible School is June 14-19

We have been planning and praying for Vacation Bible School – and now it is almost here. In just over two weeks, our church will be filled with children – all of whom have come to have a good time while hearing the great stories about Jesus! What can you do to help?

First and foremost – Pray! Pray for the children who come and for the parents/adults who bring them. Pray for Leah Weaver and Kathryn Burns as they lead us. Pray for the myriad of workers who are volunteering of their time to make this week a success. Pray for the Family Night that it would be a great time to introduce many to our church family. Pray for hearts to be changed!

Second – Make plans to come and help! You can make a difference by volunteering. You can volunteer to help one night or every night – see Leah or Kathryn for more details.

Third – Donate items! On the children’s ministry bulletin board (across from the glass window in the hall) are leaves. Each leaf contains an items that is needed during the week of VBS (items like KoolAid). Take a leaf and bring the items back to the church no later than June 9th. If you would like, you can also make a monetary donation to purchase these items by designating your gift to VBS.

Fourth – Attend the Family Night on June 19. We want to encourage all of the MBC church family to be at the VBS Family Night. You’ll enjoy seeing what the children have learned, but we would like for you to also enjoy the fellowship with those visiting.

Join Us This Sunday for a Great Day of Worship

This Sunday we will be observing the Lord’s Supper during the morning worship service. Come with hearts ready to spend some time reflecting upon all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

I have been praying for you. Don’t forget to join us tonight as Dr. Mike Edens continues his study – 6:10 p.m. tonight in the sanctuary.



Thomas Strong III, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor

Metairie Baptist Church

401 Codifer Blvd.

Metairie, LA  70005