Disaster Relief History
The Beginnings of SBC Disaster Relief
When Hurricane Beulah ravaged the Rio Grande Valley in 1967, Baptist relief efforts were sporadic and unorganized. Some Texas Baptist Men volunteered to help the storms victims who had experienced the confusion and disorganization of Beulahs wake. They decided Baptists needed organization and cooperation better to minister in the face of disasters. From that beginning, cooperation among Baptists in times of disaster has blossomed into a well organized, highly cooperative effort.
The North American Mission Board, along with state Baptist convention leaders, has taken the lead in organizing Southern Baptists to respond to disasters. They contribute manpower, ministry, and financial help during floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and urban disasters. Southern Baptists have built 335 mobile mass feeding, recovery, child care, command, and other units to date. Disaster relief teams have responded to many natural disasters in their states. They cooperate and respond cooperatively to calls from other states. Teams also are available for help overseas when the International Mission Board requests assistance.
Southern Baptist efforts are correlated primarily with the American Red Cross , and with other private agencies through NVOAD, (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.) This interest in helping people in times of sorrow involves more than mobile units. State conventions have volunteers ready to assist in any part of the world as requested.
The philosophy behind Southern Baptist disaster relief efforts has been summed up in the phrase, "A cup of cold water in Jesus name." We are following the example of Jesus of Nazareth when He fed the 5,000 and the 4,000, and His teachings in the parable of the Good Samaritan and Matthew 25:32-46.
Southern Baptist disaster relief is Christian love in action, meeting urgent needs of hurting humanity in crisis situations. Disaster response is meeting those needs with loving care and timely response as James 2:15-16 instructs us. There is no hidden agenda or ulterior motive. Jesus often used teaching sessions to heal, or healing to teach. He once ended a teaching session by feeding 5,000 listeners. When He sent the 12 disciples, He instructed them to teach and heal, giving first priority to teaching. However, when He sent 70 followers, He reversed the order: healing and teaching. In His wisdom, our Lord knew when to use one ministry to accomplish His goal and when to use another. He also knew when to do one and not the other. Our Southern Baptist disaster relief logo incorporates both kinds of ministry exemplified by Christ.
Disaster Relief Motivation
We believe that Southern Baptists are under Scriptural and moral obligation to all mankind to provide a positive witness of the love of Jesus Christ. He calls for Christians to demonstrate love in the relief of victims of disasters through the efficient and immediate use of the resources, time, and talents entrusted to us by our Lord. Disasters affect many people. Christians naturally respond to the hurts of those around them and feel an obligation to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. Christians working together can accomplish much for the glory of God.
Individual efforts may be helpful but are often not as productive as cooperative and coordinated responses. Each person may have an understanding of his or her objectives without an overall vision for the need of everyone. A coordinated, cooperative team effort can harness the desires and energy of individuals into a productive, effective, and efficient force for Christ. The disaster response team can provide direction for the potential energy of individual Christians and churches desiring to be of service in times of disaster. Through planning, training, and practicing, disaster response teams can provide leadership and expertise required in times of disaster.
Service Christ in the Crisis
Mission Action is the organized effort of a church or association to minister and witness to persons of special needs or circumstances who are not part of the congregation or any of its organizations.
Mission Action is taking Christian love into all situations and places of need.
Mission Action is the work of dedicated Christians who expand their circle of concern and become involved in meeting the crucial needs of persons in the name of Christ.
Mission Action is love in action. Christ, by His example, set the pattern for us to follow. He told us that our mission to share His love was to be done through the servant role (Mark 10:43-45).
"There seems to be no area of mission action that requires more rapid response than a time of disaster. The disaster comes unexpectedly and with it the opportunity for immediate ministry. If we are unprepared when it strikes and delay action, the opportunity passes with the urgent need" -Laddie Adams, Retired Brotherhood Director, Oklahoma
About the logo
The arch of the Southern Baptist Convention is our world-wide link. The wheat is a symbol of physical help. The fish is a symbol of spiritual help.