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Helping the Church in Haiti

January 16, 2010

r2003073662Think of it. Right now, as you read this, men are weeping, as their wives wander through the streets of Haiti. Children are crouching in shivering fear as people stand stunned and staring in disbelief at the remains of what they once called their home. The world is racing to help these people in unimaginable crisis, but who will help the church?

I am a pastor and my first and best energies go each day to God’s incredible idea called ‘the church.’ When the crisis hit in Haiti, I praised God for the immediate river of humanitarian aid that began to flow to this devastation, but I found my own heart searching for an answer to this question: Who will help the church?

The first reports we have been able to glean are of a ruined 1,500 seat worship center recently dedicated as a lighthouse for the gospel in Port-au-Prince- now just a mangled heap of stone and steel. The second piece of news that reached us was of a smaller church whose place of worship is wrecked and whose pastor and family are dead. The third message that got through the tangled communication grid was from a woman in our church just home from a Haitian orphanage whose founder cannot find his 2 sisters, brother and father.

All of this has sounded in my ears like a military drummer leading a processional of pain, and I cannot escape the cadence of a single interrogative, Who will help the church? Hour by hour this week, and even in the quiet moments of sleeplessness, God’s Spirit has been pursuing me with a question I cannot answer: Who will help the church?

The waves of humanitarian aid are washing ashore in Haiti and beginning to meet this massive need but I can’t escape my sense that little if any of this medicine will soothe the sores of the suffering church. The country will be rebuilt in time, but so little of that aid will go to my brothers and sisters and I feel I must do what I can to help them. But I really have no idea what that help would or should entail.

Galations 6:10 says, “and let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Without question the priority of the ‘church helping the church’ is commanded by Paul in scripture and modeled by Paul in his crisis care for the Corinthians and the church in Jerusalem. If Paul were alive today there is no doubt his first concern as a church planter and leader in the body of Christ would be for the family of God in Haiti. How can the priority Paul lived and taught not be mine as a bible believing Christian?

Late Tuesday night and throughout the day on Wednesday I began to pose these same questions to pastors I know and respect. All seemed to resonate with my questions and agree on the priority but were as puzzled as me about what could actually be done.

My conversation with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, was especially helpful, and here is what we have decided:

  1. We are going to Haiti early this week to see first hand and assess what can be done to meet the needs of the church in the toughest areas.
  2. We will bring a team to help us capture this story so we can bring it back to you.
  3. We will activate a website www.churcheshelpingchurches.com. The goal of this site will be to share what we discover and to raise support from churches in North America for the church in Haiti.
  4. We will pray and seek God’s direction for a way to rally churches around the idea of an organization existing for the sole purpose of helping the church help church. Down the road there will be more needs of this kind and we want to be  prepared to work together in our relief efforts on behalf of the churches that do so much but often  such  receive so little.
  5. We need your prayers for the effectiveness of this first step and invite you to follow our updates on this site and twitters while we are in Haiti.

Stay tuned, we are just getting started and hope to have a story to tell very soon.

James MacDonald, January 15th, 2010

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