No matter how intentional you are about fulfilling your mission and values in the typical day-to-day, crisis can throw an organization into a tailspin, and it’s easy for certain characteristics or directives to be lost in the fray. Though there are many possible reasons disaster can strike, weather-related crises are perhaps the most all-encompassing. In the wake of the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many communities were left reeling, and churches and ministries had to determine how to respond.
For churches and ministries, disasters are often an opportunity to come together in the face of challenges as well as serve others in big ways. If the organization or church is personally affected, the congregation or team can embody its values by joining as one to rebuild and moving forward together, but in the greater community, ministries can play a significant role in recovery. It’s a unique opportunity for the organization to not just uphold its values as it does in everyday life, but highlight them, going all out to put them in action.
St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Houston, Texas went above and beyond to respond to the crisis situation following Hurricane Harvey by creating a landing page on their website dedicated specifically to hurricane relief, including several ways community and church members could help. The church not only provided opportunities to give to recovery efforts but opportunities to get personally involved and serve victims, including making meals, doing laundry, mucking, hosting, and praying. The site also includes a list of needed items to donate and a place to request help. In addition to establishing this informational hub, St. Luke’s sent people out to serve alongside the American Red Cross to help with supplies and shelter, check on and serve congregation members affected by the storm, and tell stories about other people on the ground who were making a difference. They shared many of these stories in videos on their website, encouraging others to do the same. They continue to shine a light in a dark time in their community in a variety of ways, bringing hope to victims in a way that points them back to God.
In addition to raising funds, the First Presbyterian Church of Houston also creatively served the community by creating a “family to family” Facebook group to allow people to connect needs with available supplies and resources. Anyone can post a specific need or share information about resources that may be helpful, whether it’s a couch available for donation or a need for temporary housing, and the others in the community can respond.
Both St. Luke’s Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church in Houston are just two of many FaithSearch clients whom demonstrated their mission of ministry in a tangible way as a result of these recent crises. Churches and ministries have the unique ability to go above and beyond to help others in times of crisis, to be the “hands and feet” of Christ in action. Revisiting your mission and determining how best your team can embody those qualities in the wake of a disaster will go a long way in not only unifying your organization under your shared values but highlighting the true motivation for everything your faith-based organization does: serving God.