Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Don't just stand there, do something!

The Corinth flood was very helpful to us as a ministry to address a common problem in ministry... What do we do? It's really a hard question. Here's why: We want to do something. When the flood hit and we saw all the lives affected our hearts went out and especially when we saw that some who had so little, lost even that. But, having said that, it is still hard to know what to do. Here's some common legitimate questions we ask:

Who's doing what? We don't want to duplicate effort. What is something that we can do? We don't want to bite off more than we can chew. What do we have internally to do in order to help? We don't wanna have to wait till the monthly meeting, etc. Will we be able to do it the way we would like to do it? When we do this kinda thing we....

All these are legit and real questions that we have to consider to be able to do something to help. And we asked ourselves all those questions too when the flood happened. So let me tell ya what we did and see if it is helpful to you in the future.

1. Show up: We went to the site of the flood. We met those impacted (the housing authority and residents). We asked them what was happening and asked what we could do to help. It's hard to figure it out from a far, show up. You won't be in the way and it will be an encouragement to those 'in the middle of it' just to see you there and know you care.

2. Find 'command and control': Go around and find out who is doing what? It took us about two hours to connect with the key players and figure out what was going on and what we may do to help.

3. Get ready to say "yes": This is the hardest part. At first the Red Cross needed volunteers to bring meals to the shelter. They asked for help. We said, "yes". Then we found out that there had been a forced evacuation and the residents didn't have any cardboard boxes to put the few belongings they were able to keep in. So the housing authority asked us if we could find boxes. We said "yes". We didn't know 'who' or 'how' when we said it but the answer was "yes". God provided, we got the boxes. Then, they didn't have a place to store the boxes. We said "yes", God provided and we got storage.

4. Stay flexible: At one point the housing authority thought we may be able to mobilize a group of volunteers to help the residents clean out their apartments. We said "yes" and began to do just that. We set a date and time and called several of our church friends to help. THEN... the health dept put some guidelines which kinda cleaned us out so.... adjust. No problem.

4. Listen, stay in the thick of it and keep that "yes" handy: As things began to settle down we and people began to relocate we heard from several people that people were having to sleep on the floor. So we said.... yep, you got it we said "yes". This was our biggest leap. A twin, box spring and frame cost about $125 wholesale and a lot of people had lost their beds. Within two hours of that 'yes' a businessman called me and said he had asked for and received a matching grant for $2500 dollars to assist flood victims. We raised the rest from local businesses and individuals and churches and guess what? We got people beds!

That's how we did it. We got to play a small part. We got to serve. We wanted to anyway, we just didn't know how or what to do. But don't let that stop ya...

go for it.. do something.