Every community in the world experiences catastrophes or significant challenges at some point. That’s when the Church can shine – literally, let the light of Christ shine in times of need.
Whenever something significant happens in your community, the first thing your church should do is quickly rally and ask, “how can we help?”
Over the past few years, Northern California has experienced some the most destructive natural disaster in modern history – wild fires. One of our own campuses is located in Santa Rosa which experienced two fires in the last four years. First one destroyed (9000) homes and businesses. (24000) people were displaced. The city was a war zone. There was a lot of need. The first thing we did was offer our church property to the fire department. They were thankful and made it command central for all fire operations. It became the rallying point and the central hub for all operations and after the fire was put out it continued as the central point for disaster relief. We called on disaster relief organizations from around the country and they deployed to our church campus semi after semi of disaster relief and volunteers to help hand out supplies.
In a separate incident, the town of Paradise, California saw over 90% of its town destroyed. Over 30,000 people lost their homes and were displaced. The main church in town, Paradise CMA was one of the few buildings standing. However, in the weeks to come they saw their congregation go form 3000 people a week to less than 600. Paradise CMA contacted us and asked for help. We put their entire staff through an intensive version of our Church Goals class and put in place a one-year plan to rebuild their church. They reached their goals in 6-months and continue to be the strongest church in their community.
A few years earlier, the mall in our city fell victim to arson. About 30% of the mall burned which caused the entire mall to close for rebuilding. We simply took an offering for the employees who would lose their pay during the rebuilding and were able to raise enough money to keep 100% of the employees receiving income during the shut-down.
Here’s our point – one of the overarching goals of our church, and we believe should be for every Church, should be to unleash compassion. How do you do that. Simply become The Church in times of need. When Covid hit and the world closed down, we had a great opportunity to be The Church. Every church was forced to find new ways to reach people, both in and outside their church. For many that meant become an online church and start recording and making available sermons online.
Covid may continue to be something that hinders people from wanting to meet in person or being able to meet in person. For sure there will be more disasters and other opportunities for us to be The Church in times of need.
When we’ve gone to our congregation and said we wanted to help those in need in our communities who have experiences disaster, we’ve been absolutely shocked at their level of generosity. People who have never given to the church gave to disaster relief and often volunteered too. We’ve seen some of the greatest outpouring of compassion when we just said we wanted to help those in need, the way we believe Christ is calling us to.
If you would like more information on how to become a Compassion first thinking church, we recommend attending one of our Advanced Church Leadership classes. Classes start every month, are limited to about 12 pastors and we accomplish a lot by strengthening each other. For more information, follow this link: https://bit.ly/ChurchGoalsClass