Being the church after a disaster

August 14, 2019

The year 2018 will be remembered by many N.C. Baptists as a year of disaster, and many churches are still without a place to meet. This circumstance provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the difference between going to church and being the church.

The simultaneous vibration and tone of smartphones startle us with emergency alerts. The local fire department calls and says that your church is on fire. Disasters happen in many forms. Flooding, wind, fire and other catastrophic events affect our lives. But what happens when your church is affected by disaster?

When properly organized, Sunday School and small groups can be the tip of the spear for action. Organization is not the ministry, but it should be a platform where ministry – teaching, caring and sharing – take place. In the midst of a major disaster, here are some ideas for continuing ministry to serve the body.

If the church building is damaged, teaching might have to take place in an alternate location and on a different schedule. We have to remember that class or group members’ homes and lives have been devastated by what has taken place. Therefore, committing to a gathering place is important. Finding a safe place to meet and keeping lessons simple are important aspects of the new post-disaster normal routine.

Flooding, wind, fire and other catastrophic events affect our lives. But what happens when your church is affected by disaster?

Caring may be the most important factor. Make plans to help each other. Listening and praying together produces encouragement. There may be feelings of hopelessness. Being authentic and real creates a safe place for people to share and vent. Focus not only on spiritual and emotional needs, but also physical ones. Attempt to keep in touch with each other throughout the week.

Sharing outside of your class/group becomes an opportunity to connect with others outside the church. Pay close attention to those who are alone with no support systems in place, such as single parents or people with no family around. You may have opportunities to meet people from agencies who are responding to help in relief and recovery and have no Christian background. Getting involved in Baptists on Mission is a great way to love your neighbor.

When things seem to be coming back together, there may be a possibility of creating a new class or group for people devastated by the disaster to gather. In my experience serving in crisis response, I am always asked this question: Why does a good God allow suffering? It may be beneficial to find a biblically sound study – or have your pastor create one – that addresses this question.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is here to assist your church during times of crisis like natural disasters.


by Rick Hughes  /  
Sunday School and Small Groups /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

3 things I would do differently in ministry

I will soon celebrate 40 years in full-time ministry. During the course of my career, I have pastored four churches, one of which was a church plant. I am now in my third interim pastorate, and I continue to serve as a strategy coordinator with the state convention. I have often...

When the kids come back: Navigating new challenges in your children’s ministry

Your church has decided to reopen its children’s ministry for Sunday mornings. With excitement, you dust off curriculum packs and plan for a grand welcome back. Children who have been learning virtually and in person on a limited basis walk in the door and you expect a return to...

The role of pastoral health in church revitalization

The “RevitalizeNC'' podcast is hosted by Terry Long, senior consultant for church revitalization with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Each episode includes an interview with a leading expert in the field of church revitalization to offer help, hope and...

Whose side are you on?

It’s human nature to divide everything into sides. We take sides in insignificant matters like what toppings to have on our pizza, or whether to drink Coke or Pepsi. (Some here in North Carolina may be a little partial to Pepsi since it was invented in New Bern.) College...

Explainer: EDT transitions, special meetings & more

A special meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has been called for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem to elect an individual to serve as the next executive director-treasurer (EDT) of the state convention.The process for...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and information by signing up for our N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!