Christianity Today: How Churches Can Prepare for Disasters

An article over at Christianity Today, How Churches Can Prepare for Disasters, discusses the importance of emergency preparedness for churches.

Right now, churches across much of Texas are responding to emergencies, while churches across much of Florida are preparing for them. Below are practical steps churches and families can take to prepare for and respond to emergencies, and lessons from churches in New York and New Orleans who suffered through natural and manmade disasters.

What churches have learned

Right after 9/11, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City was flooded with requests for help—and with generous gifts from all over to help meet those needs. Because their church had an organized diaconate with trained leaders, Redeemer was able to distribute assistance much more efficiently than groups arriving after the event. “We saw many other relief efforts spend a great deal of money on hiring new staff and renting office space—very high cost items,” says Tim Keller. This may be a good lesson to support existing churches and ministries when we can, rather than “build our own.”

One lesson Redeemer learned from 9/11 was to watch for burnout among their staff. “We did not recognize the danger as much as we should have,” Keller said…

Keith Collins, pastor of Lakeview Christian Center, realized how important their spiritual preparation was during and after that disaster:

“How helpful it was for the church to be ‘theologically prepared’ for suffering. Scripture presents to us a God who is sovereign over every detail of his creation, including the catastrophes, and that God is working all things for his glory and our good. One of the most encouraging things that I observed as a pastor was that in the midst of our people losing homes, businesses, and having to relocate, they weren’t walking around asking, ‘Why, God?'”

That kind of heart-preparation is vital. It will be even more important if God allows a much more serious disaster on American soil…

How churches can prepare

To begin, churches should encourage their member families to prepare, both for their own well being, and so they will be better able to help others, whether in organized church efforts or in their neighborhoods. As they prepare, churches can encourage members to store food, water, and other items to share with others, which could make an enormous difference if an emergency lasts for weeks or months…

Click here to read the entire article

Related:

Spiritual Preparedness for the Christian Prepper

Small Parish Permaculture

Southern Baptist Convention Church Preparedness document (pdf)