First Responders: The Local Church Aids Recovery from Harvey and Irma

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Fear and panic escalated last week as hurricane Irma barreled toward South Florida – home and headquarters to OneHope, and many of our staff members.

Now that we’re on the other side of the hurricane, I’ve been reflecting on the Church and how it responds to crisis. This isn’t hard because it’s been popping up in news headlines.

USA Today lauded churches for beating everyone else to the scene, citing that 80% of aid to communities and homes devastated by the recent hurricanes was delivered by local churches.  


I smiled reading The Washington Times, “Imagine that. When disaster strikes, it’s Americans — specifically, Americans of faith — who lend the quickest hands, who provide the most assistance.”¹

Yes. This is the hands and feet of Christ at work. Non-profits working on the ground know that churches are able to organize compassionate manpower in droves, and do it fast. Additionally, where non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) can be held back from evangelism, the local Church does not shy away from proclaiming the Gospel.

In response to any crisis, there is always a need for hope. What better hope to offer after a disaster than the Good News? Yes, we have to care for immediate physical needs and address ongoing therapeutic needs, but as the hands and feet of Christ we must bring shalom – the peace that only comes from the Gospel.

I loved hearing that the Book of Hope is being used to minister to the spiritual needs of cities that have experienced disaster. This specific book, No Matter What, is contextualized for children who are dealing with trauma situations. It is meant to deliver relevant hope that meets people’s needs at the right time. The Good News is always good news.

The best way to respond to–or prepare for– any disaster should always be the same: look for the local Church. I fully believe that the local Church is the hope of the world; they are in the community working for the community. Church staff and volunteers are on the ground with people and systems in place equipped to respond in any crisis. They carry with them a real solution to every problem in the form of hope found only in Christ.


  1. http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/12/christians-outpace-fema-aid-hurricane-victims/

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