Last night, I had a slumber party in God’s house. Of course I know that He has a bunch of houses. The one where I stayed is in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We had hurried to make the Saturday evening service (an 11-hour drive from Gainesville Florida) so after the service, we ate dinner then crashed on the couches around the building. John had asked permission, and the pastor said sure. I was about to worry about oversleeping and having a deacon come in first thing in the morning to start the coffee and see me in my pjs. But I quickly fell asleep and forgot to worry.
About Water’s Edge. It’s a church. It’s a gathering place for people who don’t drink any more, and ride their Harley 60 miles from Lafayette, or who have a same-sex partner, or who have a criminal record, but are now loving their wife and punching a time clock in order to buy Cheerios for their little one. The vibes in this place do not seem tolerantly polite or worried about whether their clothes have the right label, or hoping no one notices that they don’t put anything in the offering plate. In fact, there is no offering plate passed here……if you want to tithe, stick your check into the slot on the top of one of the boxes along the wall.
The kids run around as kids do. The grown-ups stand around and smoke as grown-ups will. They sip their coffee or their water and chat. When they go inside, they hear the gospel from a young man who loves The Lord and who wants to teach others to love each other. Pastor waters jeans, a chain on his wallet, and a bandana. When asked if we could talk to pastor this morning, John said no, that pastor would say hello, then go straight to his prayer closet for the hour before the service. He used to come at midnight and pray till the morning service. So I never did chat with the pastor.
I didn’t get to talk to the pastor, but I did talk to Rusty, at the display table he had set up to make people aware of the scourge of human trafficking in the US. Rusty, a young man about 30 years old, has been to Baton Rouge and also Washington DC; he convinced the lawmakers to write a law. Because of Rusty, the children who have been kidnapped and forced to work in the sex trade are now treated like victims rather than being taken to a juvenile detention center in Louisiana. Other states: take notice and please follow suit.
Water’s Edge Gathering Place started with a vision that three men had. Here’s what they came up with: Water’s Edge is a Gathering of people on a Mission to creatively tear down walls between Jesus and hurting people. That is their mission statement, as I found it on their website. They started meeting in a movie theater, but quickly outgrew it. Now they rent a building from a charter school. Apparently, it is quenching the thirst that a lot of people have, because they have added a Saturday evening service in addition to 2 services on Sunday morning.