As a city that has experienced the devastating effects of a tornado we were really moved by the events of last month in Moore and Shawnee Oklahoma. We have been praying for and sharing what we learned as a church since the day following their disaster. (You can read about how to prepare your church in a couple of my previous posts).
The thing about disasters is once the media is no longer covering it, continuing to receive help for recovery gets harder and harder. With so much continually to happening across our country this year, keeping the attention of those outside an area is difficult. The need does not however dissipate. It’s been two years since an EF5 tornado destroyed 1/3 of Joplin and there is still much to be done here. Oklahoma is only a few weeks in and there remains a lot of recovery ahead. Thankfully the outpouring of resources and volunteers has been tremendous and the efforts and organization of OKC area churches has been amazing.
As a church we are part of a larger network of churches called Acts 29. We have several friends and fellow church in the OKC area thanks to being part of such a great movement. We are committed to serving the recovery in OK and want to encourage you to do the same.
The following are some ways we are responding as individuals and as a body of believers. These are things you and your church could continue to assist our brothers and sisters in Shawnee, Moore and the surrounding areas with as well.
1. PRAY – This should go without saying. It can also be the most overlooked aspect of help. The people, leaders and volunteers of Oklahoma’s communities and churches need you to pray. They are tired, pray for strength. They are scared, pray for comfort. They are trying to think and act strategically, ask the Lord for wisdom. They have unmet and even unknown needs, ask God who knows to provide. They have daily opportunities to show the love of Christ and share the hope of the gospel, ask God to grant faith in Jesus and for the Spirit to give life and add to the Kingdom through this tragedy.
Here is a list of names of you can pray for specifically – people leading the charge and experiencing the weight of recovery:
Frontline Church OKC and Shawnee
Love & Justice Church, Moore
Adventus Church OKC
Bridgeway Church OKC
Ben Hill Leading Serve Moore HQ
Rex Barrett Pastor Frontline Church
Josh Kouri Pastor Frontline Church
Sean Evans Pastor Frontline Church
David Adair Pastor Frontline Church
Trey Teape Pastor Frontline Church Shawnee
Shawnee was impacted the Sunday before Moore
Andrew Burkhart Lead Pastor at Love & Justice Church in Moore.
Andrew and his family lost their home.
2. GIVE – The best resource you can contribute in the wake of devastation is money. give directly to churches and local organizations that will make sure that contributions are used in the area and benefit the people immediately impacted. Lots of good is done by national organizations, but much of the money donated to large scale national efforts never reach local residents. Give to places and people you know. We have a fund at our church where 100% of money received will go to our network churches on the ground working alongside people for the long haul. We would also highly recommend you our your church give directly to ServeMoore.com which is a movement of networked churches doing an amazing job of recovery. There is never enough money in the wake of things like this. People, churches and organizations need funds to continue doing the necessary work. Give today, given generously, and help spread the word.
3. GO – The work is plentiful, but the workers are few. Serve Moore has already seen 1000s of volunteers, but they could still use more. Today they need people to clear debris and clean, in the days and weeks they will need more and more skilled labor. There is something for everyone, and there will be something for a long time to come.
Do you have a spare day, week, month or year? Would you consider giving it to serve others in need? Has God burdened your heart to help others with your hands and skills? Would you be willing to organize a team of people from your family, church, business or organization to spend a few days serving in Oklahoma? Talk to your boss, your pastor or check out the daily needs at ServeMoore.com. Lots of people rushed in to immediately help; they need people willing to plan ahead, be patient and schedule themselves to come serve in the weeks and months to come. This is a great opportunity for college students and ministries to give themselves to this summer.
Whatever you can do, do it and I would encourage everyone to stretch themselves in doing so. If you can contribute $10 prayerfully consider sacrificing $100. If you have a day off, would you also consider using some vacation time to give a few extra days? How about taking the initiative to invite others to do join you as well?
Together we can serve and accomplish something beautiful, beneficial and bigger than ourselves through this, turning tragedy into a gospel triumph.