Preparing for Disaster
Church planters know that the greatest disaster that can befall a person is to die without a saving relationship with Jesus. New churches want to be used of God to foster people receiving Christ as Savior and Lord and building caring Spirit-directed lives with others.
But this side of heaven and hell, there are many other disasters that can come upon people. Tornadoes, floods, earthquake, fires, contagions and more can incapacitate entire communities.
Evangelism is a means of offering protection in Christ for all eternity. Church plants are fragile entities that need to keep the main thing—making disciples—the main thing. But how distracted from the church plant’s mission would you be if some “natural disaster” were to come upon your community.
Besides taking emergency preparedness steps to protect one’s soul, the Bible has many examples of persons who prepared for disaster: Noah, showing obedience to the Lord, built the ark. Joseph directed that Egypt should prepare for seven years of famine. In the New Testament, the prophet Agabus warned the early church of an impending famine in Judah. Offerings were received in advance to help the saints through that time.
Developing a disaster plan for your church plant is something that can be delegated to others in your congregation so the pastor’s focus is not removed from his primary calling. Do you have any first responders, nurses, city officials, project managers in your congregation? Let them tackle these concerns. In a time of disaster, the church should be sufficiently prepared to help itself so that it can also help the community in travail.
Church families need to have their own disaster plan as an act of stewardship before the Lord. There are tons of on-line resources to facilitate such planning, one being ready.gov/make-a-plan. But what steps should a church plant take, provided it has sufficiently trained members and enough material wherewithal to address such concerns?
What do you have on hand as a matter of routine? Fire extinguishers, wheelchairs, cots, stretcher, first aid kits, foodstuffs, water? Again there are numerous guides available to help the church gather such resources.
Do you have any plan to keep the congregation in contact with one another? Cell phones could provide the means of contact provided that everyone has a directory. But what would you do if landlines and cell phones were knocked out?
If you do put into place steps to aid the church plant’s congregation during a disaster, what, if anything, will you be able to do to aid the community at large? What a wonderful testimony it is to the love of Christ when churches are able to provide disaster relief outside their own congregations!
Such emergency preparations are important and can be appropriately subordinated to the primary mission of the church. Pray about this and reflect on whether there are people in your church plant that are skilled at planning for the worst!
Do not grow weary of well doing!