Involving Church Members in Disaster Relief Ministry

As a fellow Oklahoma Baptist pastor I am writing to encourage you to consider a ministry Oklahoma Baptists have been engaged in for 50 years.  Disaster Relief. 

I have been participating in Disaster Relief for the past 9 years and I have been blessed by the experience.  During this time I have served across Oklahoma and multiple other states in the wake of diverse disasters.  Currently, I serve as the Blue Cap, or team leader, of our associational chainsaw team. 

Since 2016, I have led our church to engage in this ministry.  Now we have several members who are trained and have deployed after disasters that have included Oklahoma ice storms, windstorms, tornadoes, and Gulf Coast hurricanes. 

As you consider ministry and missions opportunities for the members of your church, I would encourage you to reach out to your DOM to learn if there is a Disaster Relief Team in your association, or where the nearest teams are.  A great way to begin to engage with this ministry would be to invite the local disaster relief team, or the Blue Cap, to come to a men’s or women’s ministry event or to a church missions fair.  I invited a local Blue Cap to come and speak to our church about Disaster Relief on a Sunday evening.  Then, follow up with an announcement about the nearest upcoming Orientation and Credentialing with encouragement from the pulpit for members to attend.  Perhaps offer to provide transportation and offer for the church to pay the registration fee for members who are not able to provide their own fees.

I strongly recommend that you lead your members by attending the Disaster Relief Orientation with them.  Even if you believe you would never be able to deploy to a disaster, you could learn more about Disaster Relief and your members would see that you believe it is a worthwhile ministry.  If you are physically able to deploy after a disaster, we would appreciate you leading your church members by participating with an existing team.

Teams are always in need of chaplains to accompany them as they serve those affected by the storms.  As a pastor, chaplaincy would be a valuable use of your skills.  The chaplain serves by sharing the gospel as other team members complete the physical labor.  The chaplain also provides spiritual support to the Disaster Relief team.  One of my favorite aspects of Disaster Relief are the morning and evening devotion times, as well as the fellowship and team bonding.  As a pastor going on a deployment in the role of chaplain, you will fill a Disaster Relief need both by sharing the Gospel with the hurting and spiritually providing for your team.

I would encourage you to visit our state Disaster Relief website: www.okdisasterhelp.org for more information.

Scott Showers is the pastor of FBC Hammon and can be reached by email at Scott_Showers@cargill.com.

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