In the summer of 2006, Amy and I loaded up our children, along with a few pieces of furniture, and moved to post-Katrina New Orleans. We had little resources but a BIG dream to create a church centered around the HEADLINE: Jesus Loves You.
Our early years in the city consisted of listening, learning and lots of rebuild work. Eventually people started to enter into a growing relationship with Jesus and a church plant began to take form. In the beginning, we were the New Orleans Project, and later grew to be known as the Sojourn Community. In those days, we met in living rooms, outside in public parks, a 3rd floor loft space and eventually an art gallery on Magazine Street. The early seeds of something special was being planted.
In the spring of 2008, I led this early core group to the recovering neighborhood of Lakeview. Many in our core questioned my sanity, because only four years after Hurricane Katrina, Lakeview was still recovering from the storm. It’s elementary school had been torn down and was still years from coming back. No grocery store had reopened in the area, and over half of the homes and lots laid vacant. It was a far cry from the Lakeview of 2017.
In spite of these uncertainties, I knew God was calling us to merge and lead Lakeview Baptist Church into the future. So, in the fall of 2009, we moved from Uptown to Lakeview and became Sojourn Lakeview Baptist Church. It was a bumpy transition, to say the least. The building was in disrepair, having taken in 8 feet of water during the storm, and still under construction 4 years later. So we got to work, cleaning up the building, putting up sheetrock and getting out into the community. And in the midst of obstacles and challenges, our small core group started to grow.
By the winter of 2010, we had grown to 100 people and I sensed God telling me in was time for our movement to begin “growing up.” Church plants are a lot like children, going through growth spurts and needing nurturing. I looked to North Point Community Church and Pastor Andy Stanley to provide wisdom and support for our next phase of growth. It was a BIG step and one that brought tons of change. We changed our name to Harbor Community Church, created new environments for kids, and renovated the auditorium. We attended North Point leadership, took multiple groups on vision trips to check out their campuses, implemented their groups’ strategies, and started using North Point content regularly (message series, group material, etc.). By 2014, we had two services and 200 people, and North Point became a tremendous resource.We continued to model our growing church after North Point, and in 2015, our relationship with their organization began to formalize. Over the years, their staff had come to appreciate my leadership and our creativity and “out of the box” thinking. By the end of 2015, we started talking about becoming a Strategic Partner with North Point Ministries. This new partnership opened up the doors for me to receive in-depth coaching from North Point, attend spiritual and leadership retreats, and have access to a plethora of North Point resources.

This partnership allowed me and other leaders to experience more than a book or message from Andy. Through our partnership with North Point, we were able to have relationships with leaders that clarified values, practices and more, and in the fall of 2016, I could tell we needed to make some significant adjustments if we were going to fulfill our vision of being a CHURCH that our unchurch family, friends and neighbors loved.

This abridged history brings us to today. Harbor Community Church is going through a transformation! By the end of 2016, I saw a need for evolution in order to fulfill our vision and mission. I shared it with our board, leaders and door holders. I labored over it and let my North Point coach process it with me. We formed a plan going in to 2017, and strategic moves were put into place:
  • Spiritual Preparation by focusing on Romans 12 across environments.
  • Narrowing our Focus and slowing things down by moving to one United Gathering in June.
  • Testing and Learning in sample sizes for potential next steps with Pop Up Gatherings and the 5Alive over the summer.
  • Scouting new locations and selling our current property.
  • Changing the name of our ministry and developing technology to help us better connect.
The past 10 years have been filled with seasons of change and growth, directed by the Holy Spirit – our future will be no different. 
We want to be a church that is “comfortably uncomfortable,” and the key to this is staying focused on the main thing. As we’ve done this over the past 10 years, it’s consistently led us to create, change and evolve. Yet the mission has never changed: to connect people to Jesus and help them take a next step in their faith. We want Jesus and Life Change to be the center of everything we do, and the headline of our movement. John 6:1-14 tells the story of Jesus using the sacrifice of a young boy in the crowd, 5 loaves and 2 fish, to feed thousands. When we offer what we have – our talents, gifts, energy and resources – God will do miraculous things through us and around us. That’s our heart, and that’s the inspiration behind this evolution and new name, 5&2 Church.
I believe the future is bright for us as we enter this new season. I know that God called my young family here to be part of something special, something that is growing and impacting lives for Jesus. I also know that this is a marathon and not a sprint. One of the reasons we have succeeded and sustained when others have failed has been our patience and endurance through the challenges and obstacles we’ve faced along the way.