Where To Begin

Model the Message by Doing It
As a church or lay leader, your capacity to envision others about the need for and importance of preparedness begins with getting prepared yourself. Before casting the vision, model the message.

Leading by example will build your credibility and help you clarify to others what preparedness is, how simple it is to do, and why you should do it. As you personify the significance of personal and church preparedness, you will earn the opportunity to teach others to model preparedness in their lives and ministry.

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Inspire a Shared Vision
1. Begin to define a shared vision by prayerfully imagining new ministry possibilities.  This process may occur in one-on-one and/or group settings. Include Stakeholders from your church (i.e. individuals, departments, ministries, and local authorities which will be impacted by, or can impact, the outcome of the vision), as well as, Key Stakeholders - a subset of Stakeholders who, if their support were to be withdrawn, would cause the vision to fail altogether (e.g., senior pastor).

2. Use powerful questions to help Stakeholders think outside the box when imagining new ministry possibilities.  For example, “What is one small thing our church could do that would result in doing a lot within our community in the right circumstance?” Or, “What unmet needs in our community can we help meet?” Or, “When we remodel our facility, what features would our local Emergency Management or American Red Cross recommend to increase our relevance and service to the community?”

3. Find your common purpose and prayerfully write it in the form of a guiding statement.  For example, “When activated, we will open our doors as a safe, clean and quality-staffed shelter to our community - to be a refuge, strength and ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46), and provide critical services evacuees need for long term recovery.” Or, more generally, “We will respond to human needs when calamity strikes and tangibly express God’s mercy and love.”

4. Engage Stakeholders by prayerfully appealing to shared ideals based on biblical principles, and find ways to bring the vision to life.  For example, if you are promoting family preparedness, appeal to the shared ideal of being prepared so you can help others. Animate the vision using illustrations, testimonies, and more (i.e. show what a 3-day disaster preparedness kit looks like for a family of four, the cost, and how long it takes to assemble).

Equip and Engage Others
Equip and engage others by making Church Preparedness, Family Preparedness and Community Involvement highly visible priorities in your church. Parishioners will respond over time as they see the personal actions of senior staff and lay leaders align with consistent and repeated endorsements.

Demonstrate and affirm how simple preparedness can be. Keep it simple and encourage people to take action. Use regular campaigns that build and maintain awareness and will equip parishioners with the tools they need to model and personify preparedness in their own lives (e.g., Prepare It Forward: Family Preparedness).

Equip and engage parishioners to help others when disaster strikes. Promote and encourage participation in your local church disaster response ministry, your own denomination’s disaster response ministry, and local and national disaster response organizations (e.g., American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing International, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, Convoy of Hope Disaster Response, and others).

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