In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Southern Baptists and other evangelicals poured into the city to aid the recovery efforts. Local Baptists, though reeling from their own losses, joined the effort. Christian volunteers formed the backbone of the relief initiatives in New Orleans. As a result of the relief work in the wake of the storm, Baptists gained open doors for sharing the gospel.
On Saturday, Aug. 29, the City of New Orleans has planned a Citywide Day of Service to mark the tenth anniversary of the storm. In a service effort spearheaded by Dr. Mike Edens, Dr. Loretta Rivers, Dr. Ken Taylor and Dr. Craig Garrett, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is calling on all students, faculty and staff to join a work crew for the K10 Day of Service.
Edens said that he would like to see the NOBTS community rally to service in order to continue the legacy of the SBC volunteers who came following the storm. He fully expects the upcoming day of service to provide opportunities for gospel-centered conversations and the potential for ongoing gospel-centered friendships to blossom.
There are two ways to serve with the K10 day of service. Members of the NOBTS community may join with one of the NOBTS teams led by Dr. Rivers and Dr. Taylor or volunteer directly with the City of New Orleans.
The NOBTS group will meet at the Hardin Student Center at 7:15 p.m. and will work in the Pontilly neighborhood. Work will complete by 12:30 p.m. at the latest. To volunteer with a NOBTS team, contact the team leaders via email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Space is limited on the Rivers and Taylor teams.
To volunteer directly with the city, visit http://katrina10.org/serve/.
Edens said this service day would be a perfect way to start the new school year and to introduce the NOBTS core value of Mission Focus, which is the core value emphasis for the 2015-2016 school year.
Tips of the K10 Day of Service
Dr. Edens shared four tips for the Day of Service, ranging from the practical to the spiritual:
1. Work hard.
“Work itself is a positive witness,” Edens said. “We are following 10 years of Baptist volunteers who have blessed this city in a multitude of ways.”
2. Stay hydrated.
3. Ask people to share their Katrina stories.
“They have a story of suffering and restoration and redemption and you want to hear it,” Edens said. “At the end they always ask us, ‘why are you here?’ We get to respond ‘I’m here answering God’s call. He transformed me by the Cross of Christ and He has called me to minister. I’m here because God loves you.’”
4. Be prepared to link with people long term. Share your contact information.
“You may develop friendships with some of the people you serve or those you serve with,” Edens said. “Some of the most fruitful ministry opportunities in my life have come out of Katrina-related work.” Some of the friendships Edens developed turned into witnessing opportunities where he introduced new friends to Christ and watched the gospel transform their lives.
For those seeking to continue their engagement with the city, a Katrina commemoration event is scheduled that evening. The city of New Orleans will host “The Power of Community” at 5 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Smoothie King Center. Tickets for the free event are available at http://katrina10.org/ticket/.