Disasters come whether one is prepared or not, and tragically most churches fail to prepare for disaster events in their community.
As Stephen Cyros declared, “Remember, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.”
Be prepared as a church by:
- Encouraging the need for preparation. Church leaders can lead in providing disaster preparation information that includes safety, first-aid, needed supplies, and evacuation or shelter instructions to those in our churches. People who are prepared have increased survivability in times of disaster.
- Assessing the greatest and most likely disaster threats for your community.
- Examining the church property to determine if there are ways to minimize loss and to improve the church’s ability to withstand a disaster event.
- Ensuring that the membership understands evacuation or sheltering plans if a disaster occurs while the church is gathered.
- Devising a plan to check on church members in the aftermath of disasters. Focus a priority on the most vulnerable in your family of faith such as the elderly, those with disabilities, single mothers, and those with health issues. This could be a great ministry for deacons or other church ministry groups.
- Developing a ministry plan for the church in the aftermath of disasters. Often churches miss opportunities to meet real needs and to have life-changing impact with families in the aftermath of disasters because they have not planned for a disaster. Crisis events open doors for the Gospel as people are seeking help and answers. God has placed the church in communities to be His hands and voice, but we need to think about how we can best help survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.
- Connecting with other churches in your community and other organizations to discuss how to prepare and respond to disasters. Most County Emergency Managers would welcome churches who genuinely want to help, and who have a plan to meet vital needs. We can always do more together than any of us can do alone.
- Being prepared to pivot the focus of the church in the aftermath of a disaster. The day after a disaster strikes your community is probably not the time to begin a new ministry, but the church demonstrates a lack of compassion and awareness if it does not pivot from the routine and put priority focus on responding to the loss that disasters bring. In the aftermath of disasters, the church needs to show the Gospel in action.
The Scripture gives a great word for the church as we seek to prepare for times of disaster in Proverbs 27:12,
“The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”