This is the next installment of my previous post, For the Propagation of the Gospel. I had initially planned to give more than one item in this post, but my reasons for changing my plans will be obvious to you, I hope.
Items 1 and 2 appeared in the prior post. I give you:
The Southern Baptist Convention Helps People in Disasters As No One Else Does. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are in Oklahoma. They have been working in Granbury, TX, and in West, TX. When a disaster shows up, the yellow caps will not be far behind. How well do you know SBC Disaster Relief?
SBC Disaster Relief is a volunteer organization. So many people involved in the broader world of disaster relief are paid to be there. It is truly remarkable that SBC DR volunteers do what they do. Disasters are not scheduled in advance. Right now people all over our region are dropping everything, traveling long distances, and giving their time all day for several days, and all of this with a few hours’ notice and for nothing in return. That says something about what Jesus Christ has done in the hearts of Southern Baptists.
SBC Disaster Relief is primarily a ministry of our state conventions. As someone who has advocated for leaner, smarter, more efficient state conventions in the past, it is important for me to note that I believe in the work and the mission of our state conventions in Southern Baptist life. Disaster Relief is a shining example of why state conventions are important. It is at the state convention level that units exist, are mobilized, are largely funded, and are staffed. Volunteers are trained by state DR organizations and are called out by them. Of those few people who are paid to administer our DR efforts, most of their salaries are paid out of the in-state portion of your Cooperative Program gifts.
SBC Disaster Relief is the third-largest disaster relief volunteer organization in the US (or maybe the second), behind the American Red Cross and (perhaps) The Salvation Army in terms of the number of workers. I think this is amazing, especially since Disaster Relief is the main emphasis of ARC and TSA, but is something that many people don’t even associate with Southern Baptists.
Whatever small amount of overhead there is for SBC Disaster Relief is covered entirely by the Cooperative Program and other sources: 100% of your gifts to SBC Disaster Relief actually goes to help victims of disasters. That’s not true about money that you might give through many of the other organizations that you see on television. It is logically impossible for you to find any place to give that will get more of your money to actual disaster relief in Oklahoma than if you give through this link.
The Southern Baptist Convention carefully trains and equips our Disaster Relief volunteers so that they are really able to make a difference. Training is important, because disaster situations already have enough chaos without people’s importing into the area their own additional chaos in their responses to disasters. Every SBC volunteer has been through yellow-cap training. Most have been through specialized training beyond that level. My wife volunteers with SBC Disaster Relief. If the amount of hours I spend babysitting the kids is any good measure of it, our volunteers are well-trained! And that’s a good thing, because effective work in a disaster situation is far more likely to open doors for the gospel than is ineffective (or counterproductive) work.
SBC Disaster Relief is more than mobile kitchens. Southern Baptists have a full panoply of disaster relief services to offer in times of crisis. Not every state will have every kind of unit (because, again, DR is primarily the ministry of the various state conventions, but here’s a list of just a few of the kinds of units that SBC DR can activate:
- Mass Feeding
- Temporary Roofing
- Child Care
- Water Purification
- Asset Protection
- Box Ministry
I’m sure that there are more than these, and I don’t even know what all of these are. Southern Baptists have a diverse and effective response ready when disaster strikes!
SBC Disaster Relief exists for the propagation of the gospel. Southern Baptist DR volunteers train to share the gospel. They are encouraged to share the gospel. They are able to promote and to extend the ministries of local churches in disaster-affected areas. They build goodwill for Southern Baptists in areas that have been historically difficult for us in gospel work (ask about SBC DR volunteers in New York City, for example). DR has great potential for the propagation of the gospel.
So, as you think today about what you’ll do for the victims in Moore, OK, don’t forget about what you’ve already done, just by being a contributing part of a Southern Baptist church. And if God should lead you to do more, I can’t think of a better place for you to give and serve than through the Disaster Relief organizations of the Southern Baptist Convention.