Are you a READY CHURCH?

WHAT IS A READY CHURCH?

Most churches and organizations fail to plan and prepare and tend to be more reactive rather than proactive to any type of crisis or disaster. Because of this, they often find themselves wondering what to do, how to do it and who to call for assistance. Very often churches have the resources and volunteers capable of the work but failed to prepare properly that when disaster strikes, they find themselves unable to respond effectively.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief offers a strategy plan. “READY CHURCH” is a strategy and tool to aid churches to prepare, connect and respond in times of crisis or disaster. This strategy plan will give churches the ideas, tools, and direction to respond effectively and in a timely manner to assist their community when disasters happen.

READY CHURCH strategy will give the local church the tools to be equipped to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the local community.

The goal of READY CHURCH is three-fold:

  • To assist churches to PREPARE for disasters by developing a plan for preparedness.
  • To assist churches to CONNECT with the local community prior to a disaster or crisis.
  • To assist churches to RESPOND in the local community when disaster or crisis happens.

You have heard the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

READY CHURCH will help your church plan for:

  • How to respond to crisis or disasters, large or small.
  • How to involve your church family with training and roles.
  • How to minister and evangelize during a crisis or disaster.
  • How to be the light of Christ beyond the crisis or disaster.

Paul challenges Titus and the church “To be ready for every good work.” Titus 3:1

Communities across the Commonwealth have the potential to experience tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, windstorms, power outages, fires, explosions, industrial accidents, vehicle crash, train derailments, riots, public shootings, and more.

When communities experience such tragic events, our emotion and compassion kicks in, and we tend to react rather than respond. The goal of READY CHURCH is to prepare your church to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to make a lasting difference in your community.

During times of tragedy and loss, people will need compassionate people to love on them, care for them, and help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually deal with their loss. The Scripture encourages us to minister and care for the widow, orphans, strangers, broken, wounded and to the “very least of these.” This is the perfect time for the church to be the church.

We live in a dark and fallen world that needs to see and hear the light of the Gospel. Compassion ministry creates opportunities to share the Gospel and hope through Christ. You have heard it said, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Disasters and crisis open doors that have often been closed to the Gospel if the local church would compassionately respond and care for those who are hurting.

READY CHURCH enables the church to prepare for times of disaster. It is not a matter if the disaster or crisis will come to a community, but when. Churches need to be ready to respond promptly and properly.

READY CHURCH will help you identify real need and not perceived or manufactured need.

READY CHURCH will guide you through assembling your team, identifying community leaders, knowing your resources, understanding needs, and guide you through implementing your plan.

READY CHURCH will help you:

  • Develop Your Roles
  • Determine Your Resources
  • Define Your Response

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines preparedness as a “continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.”

In other words, READY CHURCH is not designed to be a training for information, but rather a training for continual action.

The Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can assist you in developing your church as a READY CHURCH. Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Contact us today at 502-489-3401 or [email protected] We are here for you. 

5 Ps of Mission Partnerships

Each local church has the same mission from God regardless of the location or culture of that congregation.  In essence, all churches are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19-20).  While we have the creativity and wisdom to nuance how each church carries out this God-given mandate, multiplying disciples is the mission of the church.  No church can be everywhere, but every church is called to make disciples of all nations.  How is this possible?  One practical way for every church to make disciples of all nations is by partnering well with missionaries who serve among the nations. 

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One of our IMB missionary partners helped develop what we call the 5 Ps of partnership.  In other words, how can your church partner practically with missionaries who live among the nations in order for your church to be part of discipling all nations?  While Southern Baptists are part of impacting all nations through our Cooperative Program giving, we also want to make personal connections with missionaries in order to put a “face” to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and, in our state, Eliza Broadus. 

Here are 5 ways to partner with missionaries for global disciple-making:

  • Prayer– This is where it all begins. No partnership should pursue any of the other four “Ps” without starting here. This is God’s work. The book of Acts describes the early church as being empowered through prayer (Acts 1:14).  Developing a prayer strategy is essential for global impact.
  • Pastoral– Often overlooked, pastoral (soul) care provides missionary longevity. The book of Acts describes how the early church provided encouragement for mission partners. (Acts 14:21-22).  Paul intentionally encouraged his partners, knowing that ministry is a road filled with adversity.
  • Project– Mission trips are what most people think of in terms of partnership.  Project partners (local churches) should listen to their mission partners (missionaries), assisting in their existing platforms and identities to help and not hinder long-term work.  As needed, churches can help missionaries accomplish much in disciple-making through mission trips, particularly as they assist them along the missionary task.
  • People group/Place– The focus here is on the people group/place itself; that is, there is an understanding workers may come and go, but a long-term commitment to supporting a planting effort among a particular people group/place can take different forms and involve different people over time.  The local church commits to that people group/place regardless of whether missionaries come or go.
  • Pioneer– Perhaps the least common among these five, Pioneer Partners take the work on for themselves, mobilizing their own teams to directly engage in the long-term planting effort.  Realizing that the need is greater than there is manpower, Pioneer Partners commit to enter a location themselves with the help of nearby missionaries. 

If the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can help your church intentionally develop mission partnerships by thinking through the 5 Ps, please let us know ([email protected]).  We are here to help. 

Remembering Bro. Jerrell

Last week our KY-MSC Family lost one of our longest-serving members.  Bro. Jerrell White, who had served as a KY-MSC Missionary with the Earle C. Clements Job Corps in Morganfield since September 1999, went home to be with the Lord. 

Bro. Jerrell was one of the most encouraging men I have ever met and was the “life of the party” whenever we met for our annual missionary retreats.  During the last retreat he and Mrs. Connie attended, I walked out in the hall and heard singing.  He had found a piano, recruited a pianist, gathered a group of the missionaries together, and they were singing the old hymns to the top of their lungs.  Of course, I joined in. It was so much fun. 

Nearly every time I talked with him, whether on the phone or in person, he thanked me for the leadership I gave to the missionaries and then asked to pray for me.  I recall the evening I was working in western Kentucky, and they asked me to spend the night.  Before bedtime he, Mrs. Connie, and I gathered in their living room for a time of singing, devotion, and prayer.  It was such a special time and a memory I will never forget.    

Arlene Miller, the KBC west region mobilization consultant shared, “Bro. Jerrell was an inspiration.   He could do more than everybody else put together.  When I called to get his report each year, he had been involved in more activities than all of us put together.  This inspired me to want to try harder.” 

Not only was Bro. Jerrell involved in “activities”, but you can be sure he was befriending and sharing the love of Christ with those he encountered.  Every year he reported 8-15 men and women at Job Corps that he had led to faith in Christ. For his faithful service, Bro. Jerrell was chosen as the 2005 Kentucky MSC Missionary of the Year.

Bro. Jerrell, thank you committing your life to the Lord and for sharing Him with all of us.  May we follow the example you set for us to love Him, serve Him, and share Him with others.  We loved you and gonna miss you.

Please pray for Mrs. Connie and family during the difficult days ahead.  

SEND Relief: Respond to the Afghan Refugee Crisis Today!

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” In the midst of the current tragedy, I want to recognize the beautiful, courageous, and marvelous Afghan people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Although many of their stories have yet to be told, their unwavering spirit, strength, and bravery is #notforgotten. Church, let us take time today to pray for them, and then let us take a lifetime to serve and embrace them with love of Christ.

Through our cooperative program giving (SBC), we (Kentucky Baptist) are able to have authentic impact by bringing help and hope to Afghan refugees as they resettle in communities around the world. Here is how you and your church can get involved today through SEND Relief, which is the global compassion wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. We are Stronger Together! *(Info below comes from SEND Relief):

Overview

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, storming across the nation and capturing all major cities within a matter of days.

In the aftermath of the political coup, a mass exodus is building as Afghans try to flee the country by the thousands. One group of Afghan refugees seeking escape are Christians fleeing immanent persecution, as well as other religious minorities, ethnic minorities and women and girls.

Send Relief is strategically working with World Relief and our trusted global ministry partners to minister to Afghan refugee families around the world. As refugees flee persecution and resettle in communities around the globe, Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to give, pray and volunteer to support our response.

Your gifts to the Afghanistan Refugee Crisis Fund will provide welcome kits, ESL classes, job interview prep and more. Give today to bring help and healing to Afghan refugees.

How You and Your Church Can Serve

Ways to Pray for Afghanistan

  • Pray for the Afghan people as they navigate political unrest, violence and persecution. Pray that they may find peace in Christ among overwhelming circumstances.
  • Pray that God would intervene and glorify His name in this tragic situation.
  • Pray for Afghan believers whose lives are being threatened by the new regime. Ask God to give them courage and strength.
  • Pray for Afghans at risk because of their service alongside the U.S. government and that they would be quickly and safely evacuated.
  • Pray that the millions of Afghans who have never heard the Gospel will have an opportunity to hear.
  • Pray for neighboring countries, as well as countries around the globe, as they attempt to host the surge of refugees coming out of Afghanistan.
  • Pray for Afghans who are desperately trying to leave Afghanistan.
  • Pray that those helping will be able to overcome obstacles as they facilitate the exits and relocations of Afghans.
  • Pray that the physical needs of those waiting at entrances and at the airport will be met, including protection, water and more.
  • Pray for favor and that pathways become available to safety and relocation.
  • Pray for countries to open their borders and for people to open their hearts to those being displaced from their homes.
  • Pray for those who will not be relocated.

Partner as a Church

In Kentucky, contact John Barnett, KBC missions strategist ([email protected]), to discover new opportunities and strategic pathways to help equip your church to love and serve refugees both locally and globally.

Great Commission Difference

Gospel work is hard work.  The apostle Paul knew this reality well.  Not long after setting out on his first missionary journey he and Barnabas experienced much opposition (Acts 13:45).  In fact, Paul’s normal pattern of gospel engagement included going where the people (Jews first) were gathered, sharing Jesus, and then seeing a variety of responses (Acts 13-14).  Some believed and embraced the message with great joy.  Others baulked at this message of a Messiah crucified and raised from the dead.  In many places where Paul and Barnabas preached Jesus, they were forced to leave. Yet, in their leaving they often saw a fledgling church birthed from their gospel proclamation. 

To be sure, these new church plants, as we would describe them today, were stationed in locations where the gospel soil was hard.  For various reasons, not least of which Jewish traditions, these new churches faced an uphill climb to reach their cities with the good news of a Jewish Messiah who was crucified and raised to life on the third day.  Let’s face it, Jesus warned his first followers that if the world hated him, they would no less hate them and anyone after them too (John 15:18).

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Nearing the end of Paul’s first missionary journey, he recognizes the importance of encouraging those fledgling churches.  He makes his way back to them “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith…” (Acts 14:22).  Why is this necessary so soon after these churches were birthed?  Because gospel work is hard work and if churches (and missionaries) are not careful and intentional, they can find themselves overwhelmed by the daily needs of the flock and the opposition of the unbelieving world around them.

Paul knows this from personal experience, so he models for these new churches an important Great Commission component. Other churches can help provide longevity in the gospel work of others through their encouragement.  Perhaps often overlooked, encouragement of other pastors, churches, and missionaries is a critical piece in an overall understanding of Great Commission faithfulness. 

Missionaries find themselves discouraged at the prospect of reaching a people hostile to the good news of Jesus, as well as all the challenges that come with living in a new culture. Pastors find themselves down over the lack of commitment of members in the church. Those in the church feel deflated at times when the ministry they help lead has few involved in it.  The point is clear: we all need people in our lives to encourage us to keep running, to not grow weary.

So, what is a person to do to bring encouragement?  Think of two approaches to encouragement.  First, pray weekly.  Second, encourage (tangibly) at least monthly.  Identify a missionary, pastor, and/or church (members) that you can pray for weekly and encourage monthly.  Let them know you are praying for them (ask for specific needs from them to intercede for them). Then monthly, find various ways to lift them up: send a text message, write a card, mail them a gift package, remember their birthday(s), make a visit.  In other words, be creative about the ways you can pour into them while they are pouring into others for the gospel.  In doing so, I am convinced that God will use your encouragement as a means for their perseverance.  Never underestimate how your encouragement will make a Great Commission difference. 

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

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Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

I Can Help With That!

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Here we are in the middle of summer, and everyone is busy going here and there. Vacations are happening. Ball games are in full force. School is out, all the while preparations are being made for the return to school. Home repairs and upgrades are in full swing. Birthday parties. Celebrations. And the list goes on and on.

We all get so busy doing what we have to do. And of course, there is a list of those things we want to do. There are even those extra things we are asked to do. And before you know it, our time is gone.

But there are always needs. There is always someone who needs help. I was so encouraged a few weeks ago when one of our Kentucky disaster relief volunteers said to me, “I had planned to go fishing all week. I had nothing planned, so was looking forward to relaxing and fishing. But then there was a call to help those who had been affected by the floods in West Virginia.” And he realized that the need for those hurting was more important than the need to go fishing. What a testimony!

And the reality is, when you help someone else, you are a blessing to them, but you also receive a blessing. Above all, Christ is honored.

You don’t always have to give up a full week to “be on mission.” It might take you only a few minutes, a few hours, a full day or even more, but the Lord is just waiting on people to say, “I can help with that!”

We should live every day on mission looking for large and small opportunities to say, “I can help with that!” From a kind word or deed that brings a smile, to helping someone one with something that they simply cannot do it without help, “I can help with that!”

I’m reminded of the words of Paul to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

So, look around. Who do you see? What do you see? And can you say, “I can help with that!”




Tumbled Walls

Moses had gathered 12 of his finest, most loyal men to spy out the land.  God had brought them out of Egypt by his mighty hand.  He had parted the Red Sea, led them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. God fed them manna from the dew and quail from the sky. He even gave them water out of rocks.  God told Moses the land He was leading the people to was their land.  They would receive what they had never worked for—God would provide them a home, a land for themselves.

So, as they gathered themselves on the edge of this promised land, God told Moses to send these 12 spies to check it out.  In stealth mode, they go through the land spying it out—they check out the land, the people of the land and the numbers of people throughout the land. They return from their 40-day scouting expedition with their report for Moses.  He and the people are gathered to hear the news…10 say nay and 2 say yay!

In summary, the 10 nays win the day and convince the people not to take the land—a land already promised to them.  The result of the people’s disobedience is they must wonder in the desert for 40 years, to see the land from a distance yet not be able to enter it. 

Forty years has passed by the time we come to Joshua 6.  A new leader is on the scene because Moses has died.  Joshua is the new commander and was part of the original 12 who had spied out the land over 40 years prior. Joshua is one of the original 2 who said Israel can take the land. 

God has prepared Joshua for this role of leadership and after his Moses-like parting of the Jordan River experience (Joshua 3), he faces his first obstacle in the Promised Land—the impenetrable stone-walled city of Jericho.  But here is what we find in the book of Joshua that is a theme woven throughout the Bible.  God often does the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.

You know the story (Joshua 6).  God tells Joshua to gather his military, seven priests, and the ark.  They are to march around the city one time for six days and go back to camp not saying a word.  The priests will blow seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark each time.  Then on day seven, they will march around the city seven times, blow the trumpets, and all the people will shout and the walls will come tumblin’ down!  Sounds pretty crazy! But that’s just it.  God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves. 

The book of Joshua is about conquest.  By the time we get to the New Testament, the theme of conquest continues to reverberate through the pages of Scripture.  However, the conquest at this point is not with military might, trumpets, or an ark.  Rather, the greater reality of conquest in the Bible is accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of One who is greater than Moses and Joshua as well as even the kings and prophets.  Jesus came not to tear down stone walls, but to crush stone hearts.  Interestingly, He does this stone-crushing by using ordinary soldiers to take the good news of His life, death, and resurrection to their neighbors and the nations. 

How could this be possible?  The world is so large and the opposition to the gospel of Jesus is so hardening.  But that’s just it.  God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.  Will you spend your life for this unimaginable, but God glorifying cause and watch the walls come tumblin’ down?    

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register to your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

You Can’t Be One and Not the Other

I gave my life to Christ at the age of nine.  I understood then, as much as young boy can, that I was making a commitment to become a Christ follower.  That meant allowing Christ to control every aspect of my life.  I knew that my life was no longer mine.  I was to model my life, attitude and actions after Him.  Whatever Christ did, I was supposed to do.

Scripture tells us to imitate Christ, walk as He did and follow His steps.  (1 John 2:6, 1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 Peter 2:21).   I didn’t know that I would one day serve as a missionary or go on a mission trip.  But I have come to understand that if I’m a Christ follower, I am also a missionary, because that’s what He was. 

A missionary is defined by the North American Mission Board of the SBC as a person who, in response to God’s call and gifting, leaves his or her comfort zone and crosses cultural, geographic or other barriers to proclaim the Gospel and live out a Christian witness in obedience to the Great Commission. 

Jesus became the first missionary when He left heaven and came down to earth.  God called His son to leave the comfort of heaven and go to earth.  Now that’s a change of geography and culture for sure!  His mission was to seek and save the lost who needed to be rescued.  He engaged the indigenous people of the earth while proclaiming the Gospel.  He lived His life as a witness to the Father’s love.  What a missionary He was!        

I want my life to reflect Christ and pray that people see Him in me.  If I want to be like Christ in every way, it will mean going as a missionary because that’s what He did.  I might not cross an ocean, but I will need to cross the street or grocery isle.  I might not go to a foreign land, but I will need to engage the internationals in my community.  I might not be sent by a mission agency, but I have been sent by Christ Himself (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).  I am thankful to be a follower of Christ AND missionary – you can’t be one and not the other.