Get Trained

Alabama TornadoAs America watched footage of the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma and the incredible loss in the flooding that swept across Colorado, many people were moved to pack up and be a part of the recovery efforts.  As a State Disaster Relief Director, I often get calls from spontaneous volunteers wanting to serve, and it troubles me that I am unable to use these well-meaning individuals.  The most frequent reason that I cannot deploy these good-hearted folks is that they are untrained.  Most of our work in Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief can be done by any individual who is in reasonable good health, is willing to work, has a heart for their neighbor, and loves Jesus.  However, training is vital, because it allows us to respond in the most effective way.

I am always surprised by those who devalue training in Christian ministry.  Would we make an appointment with a physician, who woke up one morning and decided to be a doctor with no training?  Would we take our car for repairs to a neighbor who has no training as a mechanic?  Of course not.  Therefore, why do we think that training is not important to do ministry effectively?  We are representing the King of Kings as we respond to help in times of disaster.  This should inspire us to be trained, so that we can respond in the most positive and useful manner.

Disaster Relief training prepares volunteers to serve by:

  1. Giving an understanding of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief work and history.
  2. Laying a Biblical foundation for compassion ministries.
  3. Sharing important information about disasters and relief work.
  4. Teaching them to understand the right way to deploy in times of disaster.
  5. Instilling empathy for victims, so that our compassion offers genuine help.
  6. Providing responders with tools that will enable us to listen to hurting people.
  7. Allowing them to discover where their gifts and abilities can be best utilized in a disaster response.
  8. Instructing helpers on good safety practices in disaster areas.
  9. Focusing our ministry in a way that shares the hope of our Lord.

It is great to have a heart moved by compassion and to have a desire to serve, but it is far better to be prepared to go in the most effective way.  After all, it is not about you.  It is about providing genuine help to the hurting.  For your sake, for your neighbor’s sake, and for your Lord’s sake, get trained.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief will offer trainings in Hopkinsville (January), Louisville (February), Richmond (March), Pikeville (April), and Glasgow (September) in 2014.

For more information on training opportunities and to register for training events for 2014, go to:

What to Give Someone Who Has Everything

Christmas is a very special time of the year.  I love the music, lights and decorations, time with family, baked goodies and gift giving.  I really enjoy giving special gifts to those I love.  But not just any gift, the perfect one.  The one that is  just what they needed or really wanted.   But what do you give to the person who has everything?

Christmas Shopping stress pic

Several years ago, my parents announced that they would no longer receive gifts from us at Christmas because they “had everything they needed”.  Rather than give them a Christmas gift, they requested that we give to a ministry or charity in their honor.   A meaningful tradition was begun that continues today.  We have given animals for farmers in Haiti, transportation for pastors in Africa, shelter for the homeless in the US, and job training for the poor in eastern KY.  Although these are good gifts that bless others and honor my parents, we consider the most important gift each year to be the one we give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  If you’re not familiar with this offering, it is collected by the SBC International Mission Board in December for the support of more than 4,850 missionaries sharing the Gospel in countries all over the world.  Every single penny given goes directly toward the support and equipping of the missionaries because necessary administrative costs are covered by other means.

The missionaries supported by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering are committed to giving themselves totally and selflessly toward reaching unengaged and unreached people groups who have nothing, because they don’t have Jesus, who is “everything”.  So, if you’re struggling with what to get the person who has everything, why not give a gift in their honor to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  That way, instead of giving an unneeded gift to someone who has everything, you’re giving the gift of “everything” to someone who has nothing.   For more information, visit



Christmas in My Hometown

"Love in a Box" Director Katheryn Pope & Livingston Mayor Jason Medley

“Love in a Box” Director Katheryn Pope & Livingston Mayor Jason Medley

Just two days after Thanksgiving I found myself walking up the steps and through the doorway of the old Livingston Grade & High School where I attended from 4th through 11th grades and later taught for 9 years.  The school closed in 1994; the windows and doors have been boarded up for nearly 20 years.

Recently the City of Livingston, led by Mayor Jason Medley, began renovation of the building which was the site of the Rockcastle Baptist Association Community Mission Team’s first “Love in a Box” event of the 2013 Christmas season.  Similar events will be held in two other locations throughout the county in the coming days.

The Associational Community Mission Team was organized a couple of years ago by Katheryn Pope to reach Rockcastle County with the love and Gospel of Christ.  Outreach events are held all throughout the year.

As I walked into the school building I saw 3 separate groups of children sitting around the room on blankets listening to the Christmas story.  They learned that Christmas is not just about Santa Claus and presents but about Jesus coming to earth to save them from their sins.  Following the Christmas story each of the children was given either a wrapped Christmas box or a backpack filled with presents.  The Gideons were also on hand to give New Testaments to each child.  Forty-two plus volunteers helped with the events of the day and free food was served to over 175 persons.

Children with their presents.

Children with their presents.

Individuals and churches in the Rockcastle Association prepared 325+ Christmas boxes and 250 backpacks were donated by the Georgia Baptist Convention through Appalachian Regional Ministry.  Georgia Baptist Convention collected over 20,000 backpacks to distribute to boys and girls in Appalachia and a good number of those were delivered to ministries all across Eastern Kentucky.  The Rockcastle Baptist Association also is in a partnership with the Tallapoosa Baptist Association in Alabama and they will be bringing 200+ more Christmas boxes, along with coats and jackets for the Mt. Vernon event this coming weekend.

The day ended with the Community Mission Team participating in the Christmas parade with their “Love in a Box” float, Santa & Mrs. Claus, and the lighting of the Christmas tree.  What a way to begin the Christmas season!!

Thank you Katheryn Pope, volunteers, Mayor Medley, Rockcastle Baptist Association and churches, Rockcastle Gideons, Pastor & Mrs. Steve McKinney of Livingston Baptist Church, Tallapoosa Baptist Association, Georgia Baptist Convention, and Appalachian Regional Ministry.  Also, thank you Kentucky WMU for the EBO grant that allowed the Community Mission Team to purchase a much needed trailer to haul the backpacks and other materials for their events.  This was truly a team effort.  Pray that the message of Christ found a place is many of these young hearts and that they will receive the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!!