The 10,000-square foot Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was essentially put underwater by massive flooding in this north Louisiana community in August 2016. Many of its 5,000 members were scattered with little to keep them afloat but their own faith.
Six months later, the needs of the church, the congregation and the greater Baton Rouge community are still significant. But that won’t stop Bishop Raymond Johnson, founder and pastor of Living Faith Christian Center, from standing before his flock and gratefully and prayerfully asking them to support the children and families of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during their annual Sunday of Hope service this year.
“It will be one of the first ‘givings’ in the course of the year,” Johnson said. “And the church is flooded and families are flooded and we’ll still have Sunday of Hope.”
Supporting St. Jude is that important to Johnson and his congregation. Johnson believes his church’s enduring support of St. Jude has been providential. In spite of the damages and difficulties caused by the flooding, the church has survived to keep its calling to help those less fortunate.
“St. Jude is just a special place in God’s heart. Everything is so focused on helping.”
As chairman of the St. Jude Sunday of Hope fundraising program, Johnson enthusiastically promotes the faith-based effort to his pastoral colleagues around the country, encouraging them to bring the program to their congregations.
There are currently 218 Sunday of Hope churches raising funds for St. Jude, either through a designated Sunday of giving or through campaigns that last several weeks. Johnson said it is the program’s flexibility — and the amazing mission of St. Jude — that has led to the success of Sunday of Hope.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“It’s not a hard sell,” he said. “Everyone does to the level of their ability. And when you’re passionate about something, it shows and it’s infectious.”