Disaster is a fact of life. Just a few years ago hurricane Katrina caught everyone off guard. We blamed a lot on the government, but the fact is this. We all tended to act as if we could ride Katrina out. This time we were wrong. We got caught at ease in America. Right after Katrina, we had Rita. The anger over Katrina stifled the publicity over Hurricane Rita. The next year was quiet on the hurricane front. Now, 2008 has been a year to remember. Hurricanes Hannah and Ike this year have thrown Florida and the Gulf Coast in a serious natural disaster zone. Let’s face it. Disaster is a fact. What’s the answer?
Churches need to have disaster relief teams. There’s not a legit reason why every church in America shouldn’t have a disaster relief strategy. After Katrina, I was not pleased with my not getting down to New Orleans with people and resources. Praise God for all the money sent. Your church should have a set amount of money to be used for immediate relief. Missions money, with no strings attached, could really help people in a time of need.
There are many good agencies churches can partner with in providing disaster relief:
One great way to use retired church members is to find the Patriarch’s and let them lead in disaster relief ministry. Hurricanes are not the only disaster opportunities. A Disaster Relief Team could also have a strategy to reach into the local community. When a family needs help after their house or apartment burns down, whose going to help? When a family in your church needs help to move, why not have a predetermined team ready to help? The team could also help people with yard work?
Hurricanes will continue to be a fact of life. So will earthquakes, tornados, and severe storms. Internationally, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other disasters will effective people. One thing every church should do is be able to reach into its own local city, state, nation, as a well as international neighbors. Disaster relief is really all about missions. Not just giving money missions, but also “Jesus in shoe leather” missions. There is no replacing boots on the ground in some situations. People, and churches, in New Orleans are still putting their lives back together.
We have a great opportunity to apply the word with disaster relief.