Relaxed atmosphere credited with Bayou Gauche church’s growth
Pastor Paul Burke, of Life Fellowship Community Church in Bayou Gauche, greets members as they enter.
“This past year has been one of our largest, fastest growths,” Lead Pastor Paul Burke said. “Since April, we’ve gained about 100 people.”
Burke credits the growth in part to the sermons being relevant in everyday life.
“We try to make it very, very relevant and something that you can use outside of church in your marriage, parenting and personal goals in life,” he said. “I think that is part of what people like about it.”
The church also prides itself in being non-traditional and relaxed.
“We really try to surprise people when they come to our church in that it doesn’t necessarily feel like other churches,” Burke said. “We use a lot of video and media in our presentations and we’re very casual.
“I invite people to wear shorts and flip flops to come to church.”
While the church is officially affiliated with the Assemblies of God, Burke said the church family is really multi-denominational.
“We run the church like a community church, so we do have a lot of people from a lot of different denominations,” he said. “We are absolutely open for anybody, no matter what religious background they have or what denomination - even if they have none at all.
“We try to be a church for people who have had a bad attitude towards church or have had a bad experience…we want people to take a second look.”
The church was founded in 1924 when a group formed the Bayou Des Allemands Assembly of God and built the church on Lake Salvador in Commardelle Village - a location that could only be reached by boat. Later, the building was moved by barge to Bayou Gauche and renamed Bayou Gauche Assembly of God.
The church was renamed again when a new building was completed in 1977 on Highway 306, its current location, and was called Community Assembly of God. Then, in 2004 the church began experiencing more growth and decided to adopt the current name to reflect the life of God that they believed was at work in the church and community.
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Remembered as a man who “loved his wife and kids more than life,” Bayou Gauche resident Bart Dufrene Jr.’s death from a boat crash stunned the close-knit community Monday.