Why Prepare

Fulfill Our Commission
As Christians our commission extends beyond just telling others about the love of Christ to demonstrating His love through action. In The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) Jesus tells a story about a man that fell into the hands of robbers who stripped and brutally beat him; leaving him half dead on the road. Two religious leaders see the man lying on the road but choose not to stop and help. A third individual sees the man and stops, goes to him, and provides the emergency care he needs. In addition, this Good Samaritan provides for the man’s long term recovery.

Jesus then reframes the question that prompted the parable from “Who is my neighbor?” to “Who is the neighbor of the man who was robbed and beaten?” His answer is the one who showed mercy. God is calling us to be this kind of neighbor.

Scriptures for Further Study
Matthew 25:34-40 - Compassion in light of eternity; judged by response to human need and the situations of others
James 2:14-17 - No deeds, dead faith; do something about the physical needs of others and give life to faith
1 John 3:17-18 - No pity, no love; love those in need with actions and truth
Acts 2:44-47 - Together as believers; share what we have to meet the needs of others

Prepare the Way
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, and made straight paths for Him (Luke 3:4). Today, the Church has opportunity to “make straight a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3) to reveal His glory to people who are hurting and searching for answers. Disasters like the one described above, can lead people to question their own mortality and the existence of God. The Bible teaches us God is a refuge, strength and ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). When disaster impacts a community, God is faithful to show His love and compassion through the local church - as “neighbors” who show mercy to the suffering and hurting.

Find Our Place
Though government and national agencies are prepared to help people when disaster strikes, it is the local church, its people and social network that remain long after other organizations have moved on. No greater or more effective mechanism in a community exists to assist people in times of disaster than a local church. It is the local church that best understands the culture and people of the community. It is the local church which has a mandate from God - not just to preach the Gospel, but to love others and be the neighbor God calls us to be.

It is widely accepted that a huge deficiency in disaster preparedness exists in many communities. When disaster strikes, many churches do not know what to do - or how to do it, and therefore they do nothing. Other churches jump in to help with little to no preparation or training and, more often than not, create additional concerns for local authorities. Few churches adequately prepare to mitigate risk to their own facilities, ministries and congregation. Still fewer invest time to discover and develop their unique niche in disaster preparedness and response ministry (i.e. the small thing a church can do which results in doing a lot within a community in the right circumstance). It is time to change that and find our place.

Build Church Resilience
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover quickly from adversity (i.e. disaster) in a healthy manner. An analogy of resilience is a beach ball in a swimming pool. When pushed under water the ball may be stressed (compressed) by the surrounding pressure, but it can resurface quickly near its original shape and position. Church leaders who take action to prepare their church and congregation for disaster recover more quickly from adversity; and, more importantly, strengthen their position from which to respond and help the community when disaster strikes.

Other Benefits
Some benefits of church preparedness include the following:

  • Develop a Continuity of Ministry and Operations Plan and all-hazards emergency response plan to mitigate property damage, parishioner impact and ministry disruption;
  • Carefully examine and assess capacity to help, serve and minister to the community in time of need;
  • Discover small things churches can do that result in doing a lot within a community in the right circumstance;
  • Network and participate in the community in tactical ways that will help lessen the impact of future disasters;
  • Increase level of credibility and influence among local officials;
  • Increase pastor, staff and parishioner resilience to disaster;
  • Position and mobilize parishioners to serve others in need;
  • Show families how to prepare an emergency kit for their home;
  • Encourage families to develop an emergency plan including communication and home exit strategies;
  • Teach families, including children, what to do and how to do it when emergencies arise.

Click here for continuity of ministry & operations plan