Level Ground Community Church, New Orleans, LA
A snapshot of New Orleans:
- 1.18 million people lived in the metro New Orleans area in 2011.
- Ethnic Diversity
- 54.0% Caucasian
- 34.5% African American
- 7.8% Hispanic
- 2.8% Asian/Pacific Islander
- 343,829 people lived in Orleans Parish in 2010.
- Ethnic Diversity
- 59.6% African American
- 30.5% Caucasian
- 5.2% Hispanic
- 2.9% Asian/Pacific Islander
- The statistical Uptown area is only a small part of what most people refer to as the “Uptown” area of New Orleans.
- Actually everything from the Garden District to Carrollton is commonly referred to as “Uptown,” this large area actually contains 11 neighborhoods.
- 54,844 people lived in Uptown in 2010.
- Ethnic Diversity
- 44.9% African American
- 46.2% Caucasian
- 5.2% Hispanic
- 1.7% Asian/Pacific Islander
A snapshot of Orleans Parish:
A snapshot of Uptown:
- 46.4% unaffiliated with any religious body.
- 13.9% are affiliated with an evangelical church.
- Evangelical adherents make up only 14.2 percent of the population.
- The New Orleans region has only one SBC church for every 5,882 people.
- The city of New Orleans has one SBC church for every 9,700 people which is four times higher than many state conventions in the South.
The city has long been on the heart of Southern Baptists. At the founding of the convention in 1845, Southern Baptists started its Domestic Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board) in part to reach the city of New Orleans.
A decade ago New Orleans could have been described as a graveyard for Southern Baptist church plants. Spiritual warfare permeated the city. Many people considered themselves religious — even Christian — despite having little understanding of the gospel. New evangelical churches didn’t just die—many couldn’t even get off the ground.
Hurricane Katrina changed everything in 2005. No U.S. city lost more people between 2000 and 2009. At the same time, no U.S. city has had a greater percentage of new people move into it. As a result of an influx of younger Americans who are determined to help with the recovery and rebuild of the city and region, New Orleans is taking on a new identify and providing new and exciting opportunities for church planting.
In its darkest days Southern Baptists rushed to The Big Easy to help at an unprecedented level. According to statistics gathered by the Louisiana Baptist Convention, New Orleans hasn’t forgotten about the generosity of Southern Baptists either. Among religious groups in the city, the report showed that Southern Baptists are now held to as high of esteem as Roman Catholics.
Meet the Holland Family
Joshua and Taran Holland are originally from the mountains of South Eastern Kentucky. They have two sons- Titus (4), Luke (3), plus another Holland boy, Jedidiah, due in September.
In 2011, God called the Hollands to seminary in New Orleans. With God’s call to seminary, God placed in the Hollands a passion to serve Him in “the city”. This passion to serve the Lord and minister in New Orleans was met with opportunities to coach football in the 9th ward, as well as working with the New Orleans Mission and building relationships with true New Orleanians.
However, their passion to live and serve in New Orleans did not stop God from calling Josh and Taran back into youth ministry. In February of 2012, Josh and Taran accepted the call to Roseland Park Baptist Church in Picayune, Mississippi. While serving at Roseland Park the Hollands fell in love with their church family and with the ministry that God called them to.
Although content in the Lord and His calling to a church outside of New Orleans, the passion for the city never left. Now the passion to serve in “the city” has been met with a new calling. Earlier this year the Lord caught Josh and Taran completely by surprise with a text message and a meeting, with Pastor Tommy Green from First Baptist Brandon. The text and the meeting were about church planting in New Orleans. Josh and Taran will be the first to tell you that church planting was not on their ministry radar but God has a way of calling us to what He wants us to do for Him. So with lots of prayer and seeking the Lord for wisdom, Josh and Taran said, “Yes!”
The Hollands officially began their new ministry as church planters on April 1st of this year (God has a sense of humor). Since then they, along with several others who have joined them in worship and prayer for the plant, have begun to work towards seeing God start a new church in NOLA. Please be in prayer for the Hollands and the church plant team as they seek the Lord’s direction, move into the city, begin to share the gospel, and build relationships that will lead to seeing many come to faith in Christ.
Church planting is one of the most effective means for penetrating lostness and reaching the un-churched. It is exciting to see what God is doing through the work of church planting. When answering God's call to church plant it must be understood that a church plant takes commitment and time. A church plant may take years to move from identifying a church planter to the church’s launch, and even longer for a church plant to become an established church. It requires much prayer, and much sacrifice.
Church planters must live in the community, and invest in the lives of the community. A church planter and his team must share and live out the gospel daily in order to see the lost become committed followers of Jesus. Then they must disciple these new believers into mature Christians and future leaders of the church. This is the Great Commission and this is the vision and heartbeat of the New Orleans church plant.
Currently, the church plant is in the beginning stages of fulfilling this vision, as Josh and Taran are in the process of moving into the community and trusting God to bring people to salvation.
Local Southern Baptists believe they stand on the cusp of a spiritual renaissance in the city. Through Send North America: New Orleans, Southern Baptists hope to multiply the number of churches they plant in the coming years.
Just as Paul desired to have Timothy and Silas around him, we desire to have godly people involved in the planting of this new work. God has put together a group of individuals for weekly worship, prayer, fasting, prayer walking, and visits into the community. We are excited to be on this journey surrounded by great support!
Please be in Prayer for:
- Josh and Taran as they live in the Holly Groove community and interact with the people of the community every day.
- Mission teams from the sponsoring churches as they prepare and go to assist with the church plant
Thanks for your prayers and for your support of the work that God is beginning with this Church Plant in Nola. God bless each of you. Peace. Josh Holland
Living In the City
One of the first things God laid on our hearts when He called us to Church Planting, was to become a part of the New Orleans Community. Since then we have been in the process of house hunting. We found a good home in Uptown, but when the numbers came in we did not have peace about the mortgage payment. Currently we are in the process of looking at another potential house. This house is significantly better priced and will fit all of our growing needs!
Please be in prayer with us for the Lord to provide the house that is perfect for us.
DIVERSITY – New Orleans, has been described by many as a big pot of Gumbo; everything thrown into the pot! Ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity are all expressed within a four block area of Uptown.
Our goal is to see the Gospel impact all of the diversity in the community. Pray that we will be successful in reaching people from all walks of life.
New Orleans has also been described as, “the biggest small town you’ve ever seen.” Many families have been here for generations and it is common for locals to know other established families living all over the city. Join us in praying that these families will be open to the work the Lord has for their neighborhood and their families.
As in all communities, there is physical and spiritual work to be done. New Orleans is unique in that remains of Katrina still exist on many blocks. For many the storm opened a door for God to show His love, for others the door closed. Pray for the needs within the community and for lives to be changed through the power of the Gospel, and that God will be glorified in everything we do.
Opportunities for FBC Brandon members
There are an abundance of things that will need to be done, but it will take some time to get things organized. If you want to help out as we get started, we'd be thrilled to have you! We do ask that you work through the ministerial team to find out specific dates and events happening in New Orleans that you can plug into.