I know everyone has been sharing their flood stories already. And I love this!
Sharing stories motivates us all to love and good deeds.
However, I am aware that your time is valuable and spread between relief efforts and other obligations. So here’s a quick story of how God’s people are making a difference in my life during all of this.
My youngest sister’s family’s house flooded. In the wake of the flood, at least 5 local churches have touched down personally in the lives of my family.
First Baptist Sterlington
First West Fairbanks
New Life Community Church
While 2 have delivered care packages and clean up kits, the other 3 have provided manpower. These are just the folks I could keep tabs on; there are some workers who have come and gone that I never got to officially meet. I’m sure there were more involved and I apologize if I have left anyone out.
Word In Action
I recently wrote a paper, “How Theology Impacts Ministry” using the example of Acts 6:1-6 as the primary source.
I witnessed my neighborhood, in community together, on mission, living this out, in the past week.
It’s amazing to look at the similarities in these two stories!
1. Conflict Resolution
In the story in Acts, the apostles are forced to make a decision due to a complaint about neglect.
In Sterlington now, the church is awakened due to a natural disaster that caught everyone by surprise.
The local Church has never been so united and living out their true calling since I’ve been here. This is not meant as an indictment at all, but as praise.
“The church is being the church.” And they’re really proving that statement, which has almost become a cliché, should and can be reclaimed.
2. Exemplary Teamwork
Sunday after worship gatherings, people were flooding into the house helping us tear out sheetrock.
You would think these guys were professional crews.
It’s not just that they had skills; they worked together amazingly.
We would have never completed the amount that was completed in an evening with the 3 people we had.
At one point, my brother stopped to watch their workflow just to analyze and adopt some of their effectiveness.
3. Service Coordination
Between meals, tools, and equipment neighbors are calling, contacting, and showing up without pause or hesitation.
Even when the flood first hit, I was riding with a pastor to drop off a shop vac. When we made it there, a house full of people were already helping.
As I spent the day with this man; I watched as he was getting phone calls and text messages literally every 2 minutes. It was almost always someone asking how they could help.
His response was proximity based.
“Help those right in front of you and closest to you; that’s the best thing you can do right now.”
4. Prepared and Mobilized
As good as these examples may be, pastors delivering loads of “flood buckets”, shelters housed in church building, care packages delivered by church staffs, meals and hospitality for workers and so on, it is the mobility of the “lay people” that blows me away.
I don’t mean to take away from church leadership by pointing to this. In fact, I think it goes to credit them in the long run.
These people all have an urgency about them that says they have help that others need and they want to deliver.
And deliver they are. Even today, while my brother-in-law and I are at work, a crew from another church is coming to do heavy lifting. They are rolling up wet flooring to stop the damage.
5. Selfless Family
In all of this, I’ve seen people who were once strangers hugging.
They recognize each other as family.
I hope I’ve not been so consumed in my little circle that I’ve not been able to be the kind of family that all of these have been us to us. God forgive me.
As quickly as these waters rose, the Church is leading the way in bringing relief.
And seriously, that fast! In some cases, while the water was and is still rising; they are out fighting it with each other.
Thank God for these examples! The town of Sterlington has been functioning largely on of the volunteer base of the church and the impact has been critical.
In all of this, JESUS is exalted!