Since we have no—or very few—Grace Brethren churches in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina, several Grace Brethren churches have inquired as to whether there is any way for a GB church to link up and help a specific evangelical congregation in the affected area.
We have contacted friends at the North American Mission Board of the SBC about their “Adopt-a-Church” project, and they have happily invited Grace Brethren congregations to participate, if they would like. Here is their response:
“Yes, you can participate. We have an online registration form that you can use to sign up. We are adding a field for “Other Evangelical Affiliates.” If it has not been added, you can pick the Indiana Convention and tell us your affiliation in the comment field. Here’s a link to that information:
Thank you for your offer of help!”
Here is basic information on the “Adopt-a-Church” program, taken from the NAMB website at the following address:
Adopt a Church
We have just come through one of the most traumatic periods in our nation’s history with the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina. While the devastation took place in hours . . . the recovery will at the very least take months, more probably years.
This tragedy provides an amazing opportunity for churches to show what Christ-followers do when the bottom falls out—we stand up and step forward to do what it takes.
Many churches in the path of Katrina are severely damaged or destroyed. Pastors and staff members are wondering if they will ever have a ministry again. Members are agonizing over whether they will ever have a restored church to worship in again. Communities are in need of restored centers of ministry and the changed lives they bring.
YOU and your church can be the answer!
ADOPT-A-CHURCH is a new ministry in which the North American Mission Board is striving to help churches, associations, and state conventions in the affected area link with churches across the continent in “restoring” partnerships.
Churches are needed to “adopt” congregations whose facilities were badly damaged or destroyed. We are asking for the adopted period to be between 12-24 months, whichever the church needs to get back on its feet. Many churches will have not one “adopting” church partner, but numerous “adopters.” This will allow more churches to participate and help spread the opportunity/responsibility, as well as the joy.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU:
Your name, position, church name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN?
As we work with state conventions in the affected areas and discover the churches needing such help, we will contact the churches that have volunteered, with a suggested congregation in need.
Then the churches will work out between themselves the best ways they can work together for a bright future and for the advance of the Lord’s kingdom.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS ADOPTING CHURCHES CAN DO?
Here are a few suggestions:
1.Send mission teams when the affected church is in a position to need them. These teams can provide all types of needed ministry which is determined between the churches.
2.Send care packages to the affected church containing materials and items the church needs.
3.Send teams with construction skills that can help affected churches do repairs as needed.
4.Help the pastor and church staff (and their spouses) experience an enjoyable and special retreat opportunity that will help them “decompress” from the stress of living through such trauma. Make it special and memorable!
5.Help with a special offering as an extension of grace and help to the church . . . over and above the normal missions and CP giving.
6.Send a care package to the children of the affected church. When you minister to the children of adults, you hit the heart of the parents.
7.Send training teams to help ministry leaders in the affected church as an encouragement to them as well as helping strengthen their leadership skills.
8.Help the staff get set up with computers and communications equipment they may have lost in the storm. Being out of touch is devastating in ministry.
9.If the pastor lost his library, or if parts were badly damaged, help him replace it.
Plan now to help the affected church find ways to discover ways to celebrate upcoming holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. These can be hard times and emotional times for those affected, and your church’s help could make all the difference with some creative planning.
Your church will come up with even better ideas . . .
BUT REMEMBER, this will not be a short-term commitment; but it could change a sister church for a lifetime.