The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a disaster as, “a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction.” As these events come raging into our lives, people need someone to come alongside them, if they are to survive and recover.
Moore, Oklahoma Tornadoes
All of these provoke pictures in our minds of damage, destruction, loss, and tragedy. The images of these events moved our hearts to reach out and respond as the people of God. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief rightly responded to the adversity caused by these calamitous events, and made a difference for the sake of Christ.
Let the warning sirens sound, as a greater disaster looms on the horizon. According to the North American Mission Board, the church-to-population ratio in the United States peaked during the first World War with one church for every 430 people. Today in the U.S., the ratio is one church for every 6,194 people, and some areas of our nation have as few as one church for every 60,000 people. Even though Kentucky ranks much higher with one church for every 1,708 people, the somber reality is that barely 2 out of 10 individuals, who live in our state, choose to attend any of our existing churches on a given Sunday. This is a looming spiritual disaster as many areas of our nation are living with little to no Gospel presence. Nowadays, even areas of the Bible Belt are experiencing a rapid decline in church attendance.
Fortunately, Southern Baptists have developed a disaster strategy for recovery, as our nation suffers the loss created by this immense spiritual void. Southern Baptists are engaging in a disaster relief program called “Send North America” that is seeking to plant churches across our nation. The Kentucky Baptist Convention is also responding to this looming crisis by seeking to plant fifty new churches a year to reach our state with the Gospel.
You and your church could be part of the relief team by helping to start a new church in your community, or by seeking to join strategic partnerships to plant churches in another area of our nation. Will you be part of a recovery strategy in Kentucky, Louisville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Utah, New York, or another area of of our nation?
I would further encourage us to not miss the strategic opportunities that natural or man-made disasters give us to share the help, healing, and hope of Christ. The tragedy and loss of those affected often opens doors and hearts to the hope of Christ. But, it is critical that we step through these doors while they remain open. Churches often miss the momentum provided by disaster relief by not connecting with disaster relief ministry, and by not utilizing the opportunities for outreach and church planting provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. As God’s people, we must seek to capture this momentum for the sake of the Kingdom. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief would love to assist you in establishing a response strategy and have developed an initiative called “Ready Church” to assist you. Please contact our office for more information about “Ready Church” or go to http://www.kybaptist.org/dr to learn more about disaster relief ministries.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 9:36-38:
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'”
God has only one recovery plan for our nation and the world. This looming disaster will not be abated without the followers of Christ stepping into the fray. Would you join me in becoming part of one of the most critical disaster response teams in history?