"Who Will Help the Church?" Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald in Haiti

When I first heard about Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald hopping a plane to Haiti, honestly, I had mixed feelings. I greatly respect both men and love the fact that they want to help the church… but I found myself asking, “Aren’t other organizations doing this?”

As I’ve been thinking about it and (inconsistently) praying, I suspect the answer is… not exactly.

From ChurchesHelpingChurches.com:

Churches Helping Churches was created to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches when disaster befalls a country, region, city, or people in the spirit of Galatians 6:10—“…let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Our help complements the initial waves of humanitarian aid that pour into a country in the wake of a disaster. Many countries have relied on networks of local churches to be a primary conduit for the flow of health care, humanitarian aid, and even education. Rebuilding churches is a means of restoring infrastructure in a country through which aid can flow into local communities which so desperately need it.

Both throughout history and following specific tragedies it is often the local church that cares for widows, orphans, and the poor. It is the church who performs the funerals, grief counseling and spiritual follow up with families of victims. Rebuilding local churches helps address the practical and spiritual needs of a country, one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time.

When the magnitude of a catastrophe can be described as “biblical,” it is the local church that reminds people that another biblical concept is even more powerful: hope in Jesus Christ.

Looking at their mission is really encouraging. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of aid. There are other organizations that do a brilliant job of that.

They’re not trying to do community development. There are other organizations that are fantastic at it.

They’re not trying to do people development. Again, there are others who already do it well.

Their goal is to love the Church so that the Church can be a blessing to the nations.

That’s a pretty great mission.

I’m interested in seeing how this develops.

How about you?

  • Keystone

    Your initial gut reaction to events is generally correct.
    It is an instantaneous realization of truth before the body can digest all information available. It serves to protect; and to guide.

    Here is another guide:
    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under heaven:
    2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

    6 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    8 a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

    This guide is not necessarily an order of events or a sequential formula.

    But frankly, water is most urgent; then food and medicine.
    Next would seem shelter (temporary), until a permanent shelter is established.
    Law and order, electricity, and a host of other priorities would logically follow.

    I saw Mass on TV for Catholics in Haiti…..said on a pile of rock rubble.
    Spiritual needs are being addressed, without a main church or “campus” abounding.

    But it is premature to put it kindly, to ask funding to build rocks and mortar among other things, to make church buildings. The people themselves are the church for now.

    I read the website in full and was disturbed at tidbits like this:
    “◦Pray for the hearts, minds, and souls of the people, who are reportedly 80 percent Catholic and 16 percent Protestant, while roughly 50 percent also practice voodoo.” Add that again guys. Add some proof too.

    Sorry guys. Catholics and Protestants do not practice voodoo, albeit voodoo is practiced in Haiti. The stats are flawed and untimely at a modicum.

    A Word From James (McDonald) says this:
    “Galatians 6:10 says, “and let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

    I am sorry James; they are ALL God’s children in Haiti and you are bending a Bible phrase a bit. I also suspect that if 80% are Catholic, the Vatican is doing what they do for the believers too. Yes, Catholics believe in Jesus Christ and it is time the Body of Christ recognize brothers and sisters period.
    Same God folks. If you believe in Jesus Christ, we are brothers and sisters.

    The point is made by these guys that Apostle Paul would go to Haiti first, if this were his time of ministry. By that measure, St. Paul would attend to Muslim Aceh after the 2004 tsunami just as surely, and just as irrelevant.

    No one is claiming the passage by Christ that “the poor you will ALWAYS have among you” as a reason to sit by and watch.

    We are to do our works without letting the left hand know what the right hand has done, in other words with humility and servanthood.
    Plane tickets, video productions for later fund drives, and even pastoral presence, as if Haiti could not do without them, are all inappropriate now.
    Thousands of bodies are in the open as I write now.
    Pick up a shovel and bury them Mark. Let the world see that, and let the world see how they love one another…without the titles, position, and first class SUV driving around there for our wealthy pastors to get a peek.

    We are also witnessing to an unchurched world within the Haiti drama.

    A local blogger wrote on sending solar powered Bibles by another Christian group and he makes strong points among unbelievers.
    http://tragedyoftheage.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/who-needs-food-and-water-when-you-have-hope/

    We are to wisely test everything, and wisely steward what we have been given. These two are doing neither in Haiti. Send your money to the Red Cross for now, for immediate aid, where it is needed most, and used by folks with a history of global acceptance.

    Ecclesiastes 3:5 says this above:
    ” 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain, ”

    The Earthquake has scattered the stones. The world will gather in due time.

    There is a time to embrace rebuilding the church buildings, and a time to refrain. The temple of the Holy Spirit is laying on every street corner down there. Let us work on the church called the people first.

    This effort appears to do as much damage as good.
    If only they had sent money as asked, by organizations there already, and done so in silence as millions are doing…except Angelina and Hollywood types who need everyone to know they gave a million.

    I am curious to know how many churches Mark and James here have worked on in tsunami-land of Aceh and that entire area since 2004. What they did as stewards there will indicate what they will do as stewards in Haiti.

    Last, Christians do not boast. Just simply do what you can, as often as you can, anywhere you can.
    These pastors seem to have an insatiable need to be noticed everywhere.
    They also have a flock, and families, that are being neglected while they do direct intervention instead of allowing the organizations who do food, shelter, clothing, etc to do their thing.

    Red Cross will save more bodies than Driscoll and McDonald.
    Once those temples of the Holy Spirit are restored with food and water, then shelter, another Cross is to be presented.
    There is a time for everything under the heavens. God makes everything beautiful….in its own time.
    That includes Haiti.

  • Keystone

    “One thing we have never done at Mars Hill Church is take a special offering. However, that will change this Sunday when we take a second offering for the mission of Churches Helping Churches in Haiti.”
    ~~~Mark Driscoll on The Resurgence (blog)–now

    Mars Hill Church has NEVER had a special offering.
    This begs the question…..were they negligent in the past, say in December, 2004 tsunami relief?

    Or, did they meet the needs of those people in a different way?

    What is it about Haiti’s Earthquake that motivates a Special Offering, as opposed to say Sichuan China Earthquake that left 5 million to 11 million without a home to live in?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake

    Would many Chinese now embrace Christ, had we gone there and quietly performed as Christians are commanded to do?

    Why is there such an unwillingness to take no credit whatsoever, and forward any and all donations and offerings to existing, legitimate agencies?

    Our community TV ran a one hour community telethon last night seeking donations of any size, from anyone for Haitian relief. The CBS and NBC outlet participated here.
    It is an ongoing exercise since local credit unions and other locales will receive funding in any amount, at any time, from anyone, for Haiti. It is all funnelled through existing organizations for relief. They know what they are doing, and are not politically tainted as a CIA Op or tainted as any other intention.

    The first ever special offering at Mars Hill Church is this Sunday.
    I know very few churches without special offerings seemingly every week for one thing or another, and many times….several special offerings in one service. Pastor appreciation comes to mind.

    I hope churcheshelpingchurches.com explains this new found Biblical doctrine.
    Surely special offerings would have occurred all along, before Haiti, if it were biblical to do so.

    Jim Cymbala did a pile of special offerings when I visited his spot in Brooklyn, and he signed a book for me too. But no offer was made to let Elizabeth Rapuleng speak at any of the half dozen Sunday services of 5,000+ folks each, to get aids orphans some money to eat, live, and grow up past age 10, without aids.
    She was a teacher and her kids did not show for class. She went to their houses, to find little kids wandering lost, as mom and dad lay there dead of aids. Elizabeth took in 12. She now has over 500 and growing. NGO’s can’t come up with enough cash to help, and she came to NYC for funding from foundations. (Clinton/Soros/anyone/sorry–nothing for you!)
    She returned to South Africa empty handed. (Well, we bought clothing for the kids, but sponsors did not even supply a beakfast, lunch, or supper for Elizabeth. She was on her own. You know what they make a month in salary in daycare in South Africa? Try to eat dinner in NYC on it.)

    I was embarrassed for her, on our soil, as an American.
    There are scores of day care centers with parentless kids all over South Africa due to aids.

    And Joseph Kony leads the Lord’s Liberation Army in Uganda.
    He has 8 to 12 year olds shoot their parents dead, or be shot themselves. They are now in The Lord’s Liberation Army as soldiers for Kony.
    Google that guy and watch the chills run up and down your spine for these kids.

    I wonder if Mars Hill will have a special offering for any of these?

    Even Oprah would not help. She built a school for girls with her name plastered everywhere. Later rapes and salacious activity appeared on the news for Oprah’s school there in South Africa. If only the money had been funnelled through legitimate NGO’s (non goverment organizations).

    The problems are global. So is our God.
    More bureaucracies are the last thing needed to resolve the problems.

    I favor the Special Offering.
    I favor it being disbursed wisely and effectively. Not in a new organization structure. Staff and more buildings are sure to follow.
    I pray we do not have “Jesus wept”, again.
    Why is it never good enough, to just be about Christ, and do His arm and leg work for His children….ALL of them.
    Do you think God has given up on Osama Bin Laden?
    The thief on the Cross is in Heaven for a reason.
    The distortion here to ‘take care of our own” makes me uncomfortable at a modicum.
    We are to care for ALL God’s children, especially lost sheep….even more so than our own.

  • serloren

    Call it picking at a nit if you like, but without wading too far into an area that is obvious special importance to you, I feel I must mention a doctrinal error you keep stating: “we are ALL God’s children”. This is a biblically incorrect statement that is quite common not only in the secular world, but among professing believers. Proper biblical exposition shows that we are all, by our existence/birth God’s creations, just as every other creature he set on the earth is His creation. But it is only the saved, the redeemed, the ADOPTED, that He has given to be called the sons of God – His children.

    You may or may not consider this to be irrelevant to the case at hand, but it is an important part of doctrine, and one that correctly seen reflects a number of other issues that rise up within the church and without. You appear by your blog to be one deeply concerned with being biblically accurate in your thoughts and in your walk, and this is an area worth you spending some time on if you haven’t already, and in revisiting if you have.

    peace/faith/hope/love in Christ Jesus,

    serloren

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      Serloren, thanks for your comment. I agree with your statement here that we must be careful about who we’re referring to as God’s children (since Jesus himself says that those who oppose HIm are sons of their father, the devil).

      I’m just curious if you’re comment is directed at me or at the comment prior to yours?

  • Keystone

    Aaron,
    I, too, wondered if the comment of serloren was directed at me or you (as you state the “prior” comment happens to be me…and I used the phrase that serloren feels needs clarified). But I did not respond or address the issues presented, for I concluded by way of the last sentence of serloren:

    “You appear by your blog to be one deeply concerned with being biblically accurate in your thoughts and in your walk, and this is an area worth you spending some time on if you haven’t already, and in revisiting if you have.”

    that the comment was directed to the blog owner, you. So I bowed out of the doctrinal debate.

    Perhaps it could be an issue to take up under “Everyday Theology” series that everyone loves to read.

    At any rate, I dabbled a bit online and came up with a commentary that lays a more expansive premise than serloren chose, to address the point. (link at the end).

    My read on the comment reminded me of nuns in Catholic elementary school debating “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” and other ‘trainings’ I had long ago. That is not to dismiss serloren this day, but to take it for granted that believer’s/ elect/ chosen/ children of God, etc. are clearly deliniated in the Bible.
    Then again, so is “The Great Commission”/evangelism/etc……and we do these things….to all God’s children.

    I spoke to a man in rage about being banned from his children (unjustly) by a legal manuever in court divorce proceedings by an unscrupulous lawyer. He foamed at his “Ex”, while in reality, the lawyer was attempting to sell children time for money….a common divorce proceeding.

    I explained to him: “You may have given up on your ‘Ex’, but God has not”.
    I believe that God sees all who have ever been created as “His Children”. He gives up on none.
    Indeed, the reason for the Saviour is the Father’s desire that none be lost.

    The Catholic church , in error, for centuries talked of ‘limbo’ as a place where unborn, new born, or unbaptised children went, since they had original sin. They were not cursed to hell, but not yet fit for heaven, so off to limbo they went. The current Pope Benedict 16 eliminated this falsehood completely (and received little notice for doing so). It is untrue; unbiblical; now, no longer even doctrine.

    But the concept of limbo was the same as what is going on here…..an attempt to define all God’s children.
    And any of us can define it by what part of the Bible you choose to elect as your definition.
    When I say “ALL”, I mean “ALL”.

    The image of God is within all created men/women. It is a good reason to love our enemies, eh?
    But, like serloren, I do not nit pick doctrine to divide, but for my own discernment.
    I am keenly aware that Hell will hold far more souls than any generation has ever dreamed.
    Those, of course, are the ones who failed the adoption process to be heirs.

    A decent online article I read today due to serloren’s comment and your followup is here:
    http://bible.org/seriespage/father-son-john-831-59

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      The image of God is within all created men/women. It is a good reason to love our enemies, eh?

      Absolutely. Thinking about that “all,” it might be worth examining in a full post. Thanks for the suggestion :)