After working in the home office of Team Expansion in Louisville, KY, Aaron (LCC ’04) and Shauna (LCC ’05) Johnson were looking to work day-in and day-out with a few other folks on a team to better connect people to Christ.
They just weren’t sure where in the world their team would locate themselves. After hurricane Katrina in 2005, they moved to the east side of New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward and settled into St. Bernard Parish. The people they met were hardworking people, though they faced an insurmountable task of rebuilding after the devastating floods. Every home was affected, but so was every church building, community center, restaurant, daycare, school, etc.
Many things have happened in the last 8 1/2 years. Besides helping gut homes and do projects to build community, their family was at the core of starting The Gathering–an independent Christian Church that is striving to plant a Biblically-based community pursuing God. When they outgrew a living room, they moved to a school that was offered for free! Aaron helped lead the remodeling of an old bowling alley into a huge space for their church that’s open 7 days a week, just like a community center! Shauna helped start Devoted Dance Academy where she teaches and mentors young girls from the area with the love of Christ. She’s also becoming a leader with some local families who are exploring home schooling and co-ops. Aaron volunteered to train with local sheriff’s deputies and ride with them to serve as a “ride along rabbi,” discussing everything from families to faith struggles in their line of work.
|The Gathering has grown bigger and deeper as they have navigated their role in a community of deep religious traditionalism. Their church building has become a beacon in the area for families to come together to seek help with many issues, to celebrate birthdays, and to find people who are willing to serve others. Soon, they will remodel and area of their building to become an elementary prep school.|
Through each endeavor faced, Aaron and Shauna have prayed and sought-out God’s plan. They know that to fulfill their mission “to create a spiritual community to live as Jesus lived,” they must seek out ways that God is opening doors for them each and every day to be influencers for Him.