Friday, April 15, 2005

The Lawndale Miracle (Black-White-Brown Mestizaje)

I can't believe it was 15 years ago that I first landed in Chicago. I came to the first CCDA conference held at Lawndale Community Church, and was blown away with the commitment of a small church planted right snack in the middle of the hood, loving God and loving people. At the center of it all was their youngish pastor, Wayne 'Coach' Gordon (he was a coach at the local HS when he arrived in the hood, and coach stuck).

In a whirlwind way, my family and I relocated to South Lawndale within a year of my first visit to establish a church based ministry committed to the principles of Christian Community Development, that Dr. John Perkins and Coach were living out. I was so excited to relocate into the barrio to begin meeting my mostly Mexican neighbors.

From the beginning of our time in Chicago, Coach has been just that for me: a mentor, a confidant (too many painful times of seeking his counsel and wisdom to count), and an incredible example of a servant leader. Gordie is an honorary 'mestizo leader'. When ever I call him, he answers with his bold Spanish, 'Que pasa?' (maybe the only phrase he has mastered)

I am amazed that this white pastor from Iowa, leading a black church, helped a Mexican-American from California start a ministry in La Villita!

I love Gordie because he has always encouraged me to live out my calling to love and serve my neighbors, and to fulfill my calling, using all of my gifts for him. It is a blessing to find an amigo like that.

Back to Lawndale. In the last 15 years (LCC has been around almost 30 years) it has been amazing to see all of the amazing ways God has used this church to not only bring about shalom in Lawndale, but to impact ministries all across the nation. Coach is the President of CCDA (sidekick to John Perkins, or visa versa).

I have learned so much from Coach. He has extended grace and love and encouragement at every turn of my time here in Chicago. Today, hundreds of men, women and youth in North Lawndale are walking with Jesus because of his (along with his great wife Ann and kids) faithfulness and love.

I feel blessed to be working alongside Coach these days with CCDA, and look forward to the next time I hear him answer his phone with a spirited, 'Que Pasa.'


At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what ever happened in La Villita?


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