On August 30, 2015, 10 years and a day after Hurricane Katrina, Lakeshore Baptist Church will celebrate the construction of our new church building with a dedication service. With a seating capacity of 200+, we pray that the facilities will overflow with praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for years to come.
For our “Sunday School” hour at 9:45 we will have a special speaker, Pastor Todd Wilson of Grace Covenant Baptist Church, Birmingham Alabama. The main service will follow at 11:00, led by our Pastor Don Elbourne.
We extend a warm invitation to our entire community to attend the day’s events to the glory of God.
On August 29, 2015 Lakeshore Baptist Church will add the capstone to a decade of Hurricane Katrina relief recovery and rebuilding ministry. If you were one of those countless volunteers to flood into our area and generously offer your assistance, we want you to celebrate this milestone with us. We will gather in the new church building at 3:00 pm for an inspiring time of testimonies and praise. We also extend a compelling invitation to anyone from our area helped by the massive ministry that God empowered by His grace. A jambalaya dinner, at The Mercy House, will follow the testimony service.
The Lakeshore Baptist Church building, constructed in 1952, sported a large wood-frame bell tower. Hurricane Camille stole the steeple in 1969. The congregation patched the roof, but the building lacked any adornment for about 30 years.
In 2001 the church decided to replace it with a fiberglass steeple. I remember traveling to Texas with Bro. Ed McClendon, to pick up the steeple and bring it back on a flat bed trailer. Several church members and locals assisted in the installation.
Little did we know that less than 5 years later another storm, of Biblical proportions, would hit us and totally demolish the entire building. Hurricane Katrina threw debris blocks away from the church property in every direction. Nothing but the concrete steps remained fixed. The fiberglass steeple apparently floated like a boat until it rested on the other side of the church property.
In the days following the storm, we drug the steeple out of the rubble and set it up on the side of the road. It became a landmark for our relief efforts. The rescued spire began to serve as a “Beacon of Hope” to our decimated community and a rallying symbol for thousands of volunteers that flooded in from across the country.
For eight years we worshiped in a “temporary” metal quanzet hut that bore no resemblance to recognizable church architecture.
When we began to design our new church building we wanted to celebrate and honor our heritage while looking forward to the future. We decided to incorporate the old steeple into the traditional church profile of the new facility. With the help of locals, and a big crane, the steeple now stands tall atop the new building, to the glory of God.
As we near the completion of our new building, parking remains one of our biggest concerns. Would you join us in prayer as we seek the Lord’s will and provision in this matter? Our drawings – site plan PDF call for 45 spots to accommodate the 200 person capacity of the new facility. The proposal spans the area between the new building and the church office; the area previously occupied by the old metal church building and the entrance into the quonset hut distribution center. We plan to lay a limestone parking lot. An estimate for asphalt hit $40,000, so we are shooting for the much cheaper alternative, which we hope should run a little less than a fourth of that. The uneven ground, several extremely low spots, and the footers of the metal building, minimal finances, the need for big equipment, the lack of expertise and man power present challenges we need to overcome. With our growing attendance, some folks park over by the office, and others have to trudge through the mud, so we need to settle the parking lot issue asap – in the Lord’s timing and for His glory.
August 29, 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Folks told me that it would take a decade of recovery for our community of Lakeshore and Hancock County Mississippi to get back on its feet. We could not have come this far without all the help we received and the teamwork of pulling together over the years
This year, 2015, we finally moved into our newly constructed church building. This summer, we aim to finish it up and hold a big celebration. We plan to dedicate the building the last weekend of August. We would love for you to come to the Dedication and the other events we have in the works. Save the date. You can follow us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/rebuildlakeshore and here on our web site.
We plan to continue hosting volunteer teams indefinitely. The Mississippi Gulf Coast serves as a much needed mission trip destination. Please join us in prayer as the plans for 2016 and beyond take shape.
In the meantime, we still need to fill the calendar this summer with folks willing to come finish up the tasks begun here on the church property. Our main focus, at this point, rests on the completion of the church building. We need to finish the siding, stain the doors, putty and paint all the exterior trim, stain the concrete floors, set a toilet and urinal in the men’s room, finish the painting, and other things. We also need to grade the property and lay a limestone parking lot. If we could even start some landscaping this summer, that would be icing on the cake.
If you would like to make a trip to Lakeshore some time between now and the end of August, we would love to see you again. We would love for you to see how far the Lord has brought us through your help and for His glory.
Lakeshore Baptist Church, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, serves as a mission trip destination for churches and groups seeking to provide help and hope in the name of Jesus Christ. The church launched the ministry following hurricane Katrina in 2005. Predictions included a decade of rebuilding and recovery for the community hit by the devastating storm. As that 10 year mark approaches, the church endeavors to complete their newly constructed church building, as well as continue their ministry to the community.
From launch, the ministry always involved more than disaster relief. Volunteers partnering with Rebuild Lakeshore provide spiritual, emotional, and physical help to those in need. Over the last several years the church has begun moving past the direct needs produced by Hurricane Katrina into wider mercy ministry opportunities.
One such project focuses on a house begun by a Michigan based organization called “Heavenly Housing.” A couple of years ago, they handed the construction baton off to us and we have been slowly working on the property between other projects. Over spring break we hosted a couple of teams, both from Pennsylvania. They made great progress on the house, finishing sheet rock, hanging doors, painting, running the sewer line, installing the HV/AC, and more. We hope to finish the house soon. I can’t wait to see a family living in it. We still need to lay the flooring, set the toilets and sinks, and a few other things.
Meanwhile, the work on the church building continues. While we have been using the building for worship since January, the punch list is still long. This summer’s calender remains pretty wide open. If you would like to make a mission trip where your efforts will make a lasting difference in a ministry dedicated to see people helped and God glorified, we would love to have you.
I remember saying “We have a long hard road of recovery ahead.” I do not think I understood how long and how hard that road would be. Someone said it would take at least a decade of rebuilding for our community to recover. I do not know if I believed them, but God has somehow granted the compulsion to keep moving forward; one step at a time. I guess that comes with the whole “walk by faith, not by sight” thing. One step, and then another, and then another, and here we are, less than 6 months before that 10 year mark. From the back seat, are we there yet?
Hurricane Katrina hit August 29, 2005. Thousands and thousands of you have walked beside us down this road. I hate to call it a finish line, because another road lies ahead around the bend. Katrina relief may wrap up, but mercy ministry never ends, until Christ returns. I guess we do need to put a mile marker in somewhere. As August 29,2015 fast approaches, we still have a lot to do. Would you come and help for one final push?
This summer we need to wrap up the finishing touches on the new church building. We also need to put in a parking lot. I’d love to finally do some landscaping. All the temporary structures that comprised our relief, recovery, and rebuilding camp needs to be decommissioned and dismantled. The task list is long, but as always, that means no matter what you can do, God has a place where you can make a real difference here.
Do you have a mission trip planned for this summer yet? Please consider coming back to Lakeshore, lend a hand in the last leg of the journey, rejoice in the progress that you were a part of, and see how far God has brought this community for His glory.
Suppose a good friend invites you over for dinner. Because of their love, they prepare an exquisite meal for you. They set a beautiful table. A flower arrangement serves as an attractive centerpiece. Your mouth waters as you smell the hot meal being served. As your host prepares to delight in the the satisfaction of you enjoying the meal, you lift the fork to your mouth… and stop short.
Before you put the food in your mouth, you say, “this sure is a nice fork,” as you dump the food back on the plate. “I like the way it feels in my hand.” You notice the plate itself and say, “and this plate! What is that, china?” You spend the rest of the evening bragging on the flatware, the glassware, and the place settings., but you never eat one bite of the meal your friend offered you. Would you be honoring your host?
As we prepare for our first worship service in the new building tomorrow (January 4, 2015), I am tempted to spend the entire service pointing out the beauty of this new facility, rejoicing in all the hard work that went into its construction, thanking the folks who poured their labor into seeing the building become a reality, focusing on all the details of the structure, etc. If I did that, and that only, I’d be missing the point. When it it is all said and done, this building is just a plate; a plate on which we serve the main course, which is Christ. (John 6:48-58)
I must preach Christ. He deserves our focus and attention. Yes, he has given us a great building. I look forward to seeing it filled to capacity with worshipers. In fact a great meal deserves nice utensils. The best fine dining restaurants don’t serve paper plates, plastic forks, and Styrofoam cups. God can be worshiped amidst storm debris under a blue tarp, in a metal quonset hut, or in a gorgeous new church building. No matter the physical location, let us not forget who we have come to worship and adore. As we feast on Christ, let us not get distracted by the place setting. “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)