Crisis creates space where we see what really matters (w/ Brandon Bilbo)Apr 28, 2022
When you meet Brandon Bilboa two things strike you:
- He’s a bit country, and
- He’s a brilliant leader
Back in 2014 Brandon was a financial advisor, managing a $30MM portfolio. Then he felt called to plant Cross Church in Houma— 20 miles south of New Orleans.
For the first 18 months, he pulled double-duty, pastoring during the nights and weekends while working full-time during the normal 9-5 workweek.
In its first 6 years, the church grew to 1,200 in attendance.
Recently, Brandon’s area was hit by Hurricane Ida— a high-level hurricane that produced flooding as far away as New York City. The wind was so strong in “blew out” the wind gauges.
As Brandon says, “It was catastrophic. Everyone was touched by the trauma.”
The day after the storm, Brandon saw his church in action. Turns out, the church could move faster than the government because they weren’t hamstrung by bureaucracies and processes.
And, very quickly, churches began working TOGETHER to help people in need.
Brandon makes an observation, “Pastors in the US pull together when there’s a disaster. In other nations where I’ve been on mission trips, they pull together all the time. That’s just how they do it.”
He encourages us to make those connections NOW— knowing that, at some point, troubles are coming.
Develop the relationships, nurture them… and enjoy them.
Eventually, we will need them in other ways.
The recent storms provided a platform for the church to reach everyone, everywhere. Literally.
“Everyone had some degree of damage,” he says, “and so everyone was reachable in some way.”
- One day, in a distribution line, 79 people gave their lives to Jesus. Even though there was no sermon. Even though there was no altar call.
- On another day, they asked people who came for help if they wanted prayer. Not a single person turned them down.
- An elderly woman had multiple trees down in her yard. She’d just survived Covid and was now devastated by the disaster. Whereas tree companies price-gouged, volunteers from the church arrived at her home and helped her free of charge. She began weeping. It was the tangible love of Christ in action.
“Problems become our opportunity, our chance, to love people,” Brandon reminds us. “That is, if we can keep our poise when those things happen.”
We still preach the same message we were preaching 2 years ago. But, in some way, it’s a bit different. It’s less about “come and see” and more about “we’re coming to you.”
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