Written by Connie Coppings
My apologies for being away from this blog for so long. The months have flown by quickly and spring is close at hand. We wait with anticipation for the warmer weather and the flowers to burst forth in color.
Just a week ago tornadoes left a path of mass destruction across the state in which I live. Lives were lost as well as homes, churches, and businesses destroyed. People stood in numbness staring at what they use to call home only moments before the storms swept through. What do you say and do for people whose lives have been thrown into utter chaos?
One of the first things a church group should do when responding to a crises like this is to find out what is really needed. When you have too many people trying to do the same thing (cook meals, bring in clothes, etc) it means that other needs go unmet. Work with the people who are in charge to help discern where your group might be needed and what specific supplies are in need.
It has been heartwarming to hear of all the church groups that have responded in this time of need. Unfortunately, groups often arrive with their own way of doing things and discord can develop when large numbers of people try working together. Remember that we, the church, are not only there to help, but also to represent our Lord. This is where we are to be the hands and feet of Christ and put aside our human tendencies to work in order to boost our egos.
When going out to serve others in the midst of crises, remember to listen twice as much as you speak. Words of comfort and encouragement are beautiful gifts, but use them at appropriate times. Let someone talk about what they’ve been through can be one of the greatest gifts you can offer in a difficult time.
It is also easy for a church to say, “Well, there will be lots of people helping, so we don’t need to do anything.” Even if your church isn’t needed to come and work, you can be sure there are many other things they can do from afar. Collect items that are in need (flashlights, batteries,brooms, mops), offer to help shelter an animal until the owner can get back on their feet, maybe send Bibles, or books for children.
When a church works together to help others, it also brings them closer together as a congregation. God has called us to go into the world and we should respond with, “Here am I, send me.”
Heavenly Father, our hearts are broken as we hear of so many who have suffered because of these storms. Strengthen our hearts and bodies that we might go and serve You so that they might have hope. Amen