Editor’s note: This story originally ran on Inside The Pew on Nov. 20, 2009. Visit the Greater Sixty Aid Baptist Church website at www.greatersixtyaidbc.org.
By Tamikia Jones
Inside The Pew
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Rev. James Barrett Sr. is in the midst of bringing God’s word to the Gardere community and the city of Baton Rouge. After all, he is part of a historic congregation that has done so since 1876.
Barrett’s road to Greater Sixty Aid is a journey of sacrifice, the husband and father of two said. He traveled around the country for 13 years evangelizing. Concerned and tired of the wear and tear on his body, Barrett said her started his own Bible study in December 2007, where he established a following that are still with him today.
In January, Barrett, together with the congregation, celebrated his acceptance of pastorship over Greater Sixty Aid.
The church is located at 655 Gardere Lane in Louisiana’s state capitol.
“Everything just flowed,” Barrett said. “I have to attribute everything to God, He ordered my steps,” he said as he reflects on his coming to Greater Sixty Aid.
The pastor said education is an important element of ministering to people. Make no mistake, Barrett places the same emphasis on his own education, which is why he is constantly researching and reading ensuring that he provides his congregation with good information.
“It’s important to understand what and why you believe,” he said. “Theology shapes people’s lives,” Barrett said. “Pastors are shaping how people think, and you do not want to give out bad information.”
Barrett said his preaching philosophy is to provide empowerment, encouragement, forgiveness and healing.
“Church is not a place to come to get beat down, we all need to be encouraged,” he said.
Not only is Rev. Barrett touching the lives of the members and guests of his church, he said his future plans include reaching out to the surrounding Gardere area. That is weighed down by drugs, high crime, and low-income families.
Barrett also has a passion for helping children. Greater Sixty Aid has recruited personnel to organize Boy and Girl Scout troops. They have also brought in an instructor for liturgical dance, he said. Moreover, two computers have been donated in effort to develop a small lab.
Currently lending a much-needed hand to the surrounding community is the Food Bank Program that is run by the church. The ministry issues multiple boxes of food and
toiletries to qualifying low-income families.
“The Christian walk and salvation is not just an experience of God, it’s a sense of renewed commitment to live a better life in truth, to share that knowledge and an appreciation for God.”