Sunday, April 29, 2007

God's Redemptive Plan for New Orleans

I spent a fast 48 hours in New Orleans last week with two ministry partners, Dave Johnson and Amy Burns. We went to scout out future ministry opportunities for Cedarbrook. In February we sent a team to work in Center City to start work on a dormitory for Living Witness' Drug Treatment Center. We returned to see if that is a location that we want to continue to build a partnership. (The picture is of me and Pastor Pierre, the director of the treatment program).

I'm not going to try and recount the whole trip. You can read Dave's blog for that...along with some pictures. I'd just like to say that you can a learn a lot in 48 hours! We met with three pastors, a restaurant owner (Craig Cuccia at the Cafe Reconcile) and heard from Dr. John Perkins. They all seemed to have one message: don't just transform lives, transform communities.

We witnessed God's redemptive plan for not only New Orleans but potentially our whole country. God is using the Katrina disaster to rally the church to become what it was always meant to be, a tranformational community. People are going down to New Orleans to help with Katrina Aid and returning to their own towns with a vision for how they can bring renewal there too. So Katrina Aid is really a two edged sword (in a good way)...people help New Orleans recover and then go home to duplicate what they did there. Only God could bring life out of the death of Katrina.
I'm personally challenged to learn all I can about how to transform a community. John Perkins spoke last Wednesday at Castle Rock Church about the vision in Zechariah 8. It speaks of a community where God is so evident that people want to know who this God is. They will come to believers and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.' Zechariah 8:23
That's happening in Center City. I went to New Orleans looking for how we could help them. But now I want to return because I think they will help us to move beyond church as usual to become a place where people are not only transformed but bound together with others to become a corporate transforming agent here in Wisconsin. Maybe you'd like to join us.