It is with great excitement that I announce to you the launch of Journey Ninth Ward—the second campus of Journey Fellowship Church! My purpose in this proposal is to share with you the amazing story of Journey Ninth Ward, and to boldly ask for your generous help in making our vision a reality.
All of us know the devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina, “the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States.” One of the hardest hit areas of the city was the Ninth Ward. This section of the city is filled with the unique culture and old-world charm for which New Orleans is famous. However, the real asset of the Ninth Ward has always been the people—people who lived here for decades, many of whom returned home to rebuild after the devastation. They must not be abandoned!
From the first days after the hurricane, God called us to be part of this rebuilding process. In November, 2007, Journey Fellowship Church purchased the former Redeemer Lutheran Church—an historic church off St. Claude Avenue in the heart of the Ninth Ward. I wish all of you could have been part of the exciting, rewarding, miraculous transformation! Two buildings with more than two feet of hurricane water became Journey Ninth Ward. One building is a World War II-era sanctuary with a beautiful bell tower and incredible stained glass windows. Each window recounts stories from the life of our Savior and Redeemer—appropriate themes for a community that needed to be saved, and still needs to be redeemed. The second building is a multi-purpose facility that serves as our children’s ministry facility and the home of Compassion Outreach, a non-profit organization established to support our holistic ministry.
Why are we so passionate about the Ninth Ward? Nearly five years after Katrina, it seems New Orleans still lacks the natural and spiritual walls to protect its residents from vast poverty, deteriorating families, low academic achievement, and unprecedented violence. But in the midst of such discouragement, we have chosen to respond as did the prophet Nehemiah—by calling God’s people to rebuild the walls of the city. With residents returning and schools reopening and businesses rebuilding, it is critical that the community of faith rise again. People in the Ninth Ward need a revitalized center of worship where individuals and families can find hope, healing, and restoration. This is our mission—to “Transform Lives Forever.” We are passionate about the Ninth Ward because we know that God is passionate about the Ninth Ward. With us, it’s personal!
What makes Journey Ninth Ward distinctive? We know many people and organizations are committed to rebuilding New Orleans, and they are doing a wonderful job. But there is a difference. Our calling is not just to help people, but to permanently transform their lives—and we believe this best happens by connecting them with God. We know that God can change a heart permanently, because he has changed our hearts! And so we introduce people to the God of love, and remind them that their Creator has done everything necessary to reconcile them to himself in Jesus Christ. We think God’s Word is still the best guidebook for reconstructing a needy community.
This is what this proposal is all about. The time has come for Journey Ninth Ward, while continuing its spiritual partnership with Journey Fellowship Church, to become a fully self-supporting congregation. Thank you for taking the time to explore more deeply our vision for the Ninth Ward. And thank you also, in advance, for your prayers and partnership! Sincerely in Christ,
Robert Burnside, Pastor Journey Ninth Ward