Community Action Project Blesses Green Bay

By   •   August 17, 2012

Watch Rock the Lakes in Green Bay live starting at 5 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday and Sunday  at www.RocktheLakesLive.com.

Now, the fun part.

All the planning and preparation for Rock the Lakes has been dispensed. Fervent prayers have been petitioned for this weekend in Green Bay. Churches and pastors have worked together in a spirit of unity that many haven’t seen before.

All that’s left for this region-wide evangelistic endeavor known as Rock the Lakes is, well, Rock the Lakes.

“It’s all down hill from here,” said pastor John Reed of Crossroads Community Church, located in a downtown Green Bay warehouse.

And for Reed, to think about what he believes will happen this weekend, nearly brings him to tears.

A people person, but not necessarily a pastor person, Reed was asked to serve as the Pastor’s Chair for Rock the Lakes. Reluctantly, he agreed and has seen God bring the Church in the Green Bay area together like many could not have predicted.

And as he looks forward to tomorrow, his voice slightly cracking with emotion, he has tremendous faith about what God is going to do at Leicht Park in downtown Green Bay.

“I don’t have the faith some people have,” he said. “Some people think thousands are going to make decisions, but I’m pretty sure we’ll see hundreds.”

But the one thing Reed knows for sure: “I’m going to be right in the middle of it all.”

And nothing could excite him more.

“To see that will just be overwhelming,” he said. “There’s such an anticipation and readiness. And we owe so much of that to Rock the Lakes coming here.”

Reed has been floored by what this weekend’s Franklin Graham outreach has meant to his church personally. On Saturday, more than 200 showed up at his church for a work day, called Community Action Project, and he saw his church transformed.

It wasn’t just the fresh landscaping and flowers immediately noticeable beneath the Community Church sign, which hangs on the one brick wall (the other three walls are metal). Or the new drywall and carpet that was installed inside, giving the inside a mini-extreme makeover.

Reed counted about 25 young people hauling gravel in 5-gallon buckets from the back of a full dump truck to replace what was just an eye-sore of weeded area surrounding the church building.

Sure, the barbed wire fence still surrounds his church, which sits in one of the rougher neighborhoods in downtown Green Bay. But the weeds are gone. As is 173-feet of graffiti painted by gangs a couple months ago, painted over with white paint.

And you no longer have cement floors inside the church or echoing conversations in the small meeting rooms.

Across the river, Kingdom Agenda also benefitted from the Community Action Project as cubicles and meeting space were built for their after-school programs.

“It’s hard to describe from an emotional standpoint what this does for a church,” he said. “What God’s done in the Church (in Green Bay) is immeasurable. It’s probably bought us several years.”

Reed’s church has embraced Rock the Lakes in a mighty way. Out of a congregation of about 80-100, more than 30 have gone through the Christian Life and Witness classes, with 18 young people trained to share their faith at FM 419.

“(Rock the Lakes) has been a huge encouragment for this local ministry,” he said. “The bigger broader thing going on is the connection through God’s church, sharing resources. That’s probably been one of the neatest things to see, how God has connected the church.”

And with Leicht Park, site of Rock the Lakes this weekend (Aug. 18 and 19) just eight blocks away, Crossroads Community Church will be connecting with people in their local community who will be coming, “just because it’s a free concert.”

“When the mayor said that we could only have this at Leicht Park, which is only eight blocks from here,” Reed said, fighting back the tears. “That was a God moment for me.”

It was confirmation in the clearest way that Reed’s last nine years ministering in downtown Green Bay has not been in vain. As someone who has overcome alcohol and drug abuse, Reed felt an inner-city ministry was exactly where God was calling him and his wife when they visited for the first time in August of 2002.

A church plant from Arkansas, Crossroads Community is a diverse church, representing the transitional nature of downtown Green Bay over the past decade.  Reed said living in public housing in Chicago (8 years) and Milwaukee (5 years) made moving to a place like Green Bay all the more attractive for many looking for a fresh start.

And as someone who has dealt with similar issues, he found himself quickly able to relate to many struggling with dependence on alcohol or drugs, the former he’s found to be especially prevalent in Green Bay.

“There’s a lot of religion in this town, but not a lot of relationship,” he said. “People need to know you care before they care what you know.”

Which makes the Rock the Lakes movement in Green Bay all the more appealing for Reed. He looks at the two-day high-energy Rock concert with bands like Skillet, Michael W. Smith, The Afters, Lacey from Flyleaf and many others as just a small part of the bigger picture.

All the training to share your faith, training up the church, finding unity throughout the Church and then the all-important follow-up piece.  That’s where the fun begins.

But first things first.

“I think there’s going to be a move of God’s spirit on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “And we’re going to see a ton of people come to Christ. We’ve done our part here. Now we’re just going to anticipate God doing His part, which I know He will.”

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