Christians are a family. We often call each other "brothers and sisters" even when we are not related by blood or marriage. Jesus has taught us to love one another, to help one another. This is what I mean when I suggest churches get involved in prepping - that we help each other as we struggle to survive tough times that may lie ahead. It is the Christian thing to do.
The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
Much more can be said about this, but it is not my intention to "preach" a sermon at this time. Instead, I will jump straight to my suggestions on how churches can be centers of prepping:
1) Start Talking About the Need for Prepping - You don't even have to call it "prepping." Emergency or disaster preparedness are legitimate names for what we do, and may be more acceptable to your fellow church members. Still, the important thing is to get people thinking and talking about preparedness.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. -- Proverbs 22:3
2) Community Gardening - If your church has, or can get access to, some land, then start a community gardening program. There are many ways this can be done, from one massive garden that everyone works and shares its harvest, to individuals & families being provided smaller plots to garden as they see fit. The garden could be limited to church members only, or it could be opened up a larger community. The community gardening program would also provide encouragement and education to folks wanting to garden in their own yards.
3) Classes and Sessions in Food Storage and Canning - Churches could encourage and educate their members to store food. Chances are your church has a number of older members who would love to pass on their knowledge of canning and other food preservation techniques. If not, check your your local agricultural extension office.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household,
has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. -- 1 Timothy 5:8
4) First Aid and CPR Courses - Your church could offer its members courses in first aid and CPR. You many have members already qualified to teach those courses. If not, contact your local fire department or EMS. Many will be happy to work with your church to provide first aid training.
5) Financial Courses - Encourage and educate church members on personal finances, budgeting, and becoming debt-free. There are a number of ministries which educate and encourage folks in their personal finances, and a lot of free and low-cost programs and bible studies available. Check out Dave Ramsey's website, books, and radio program. Also, Money Matters with Ken Moraif. And Crown Financial. There may be others.
6) Scout-like Youth Groups - You church could host various types of scouting and scouting-like groups, including Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA. Some denominations even have their own groups similar to these. Scouting programs, of whatever type, are a great way to young people the values and skills that will help them no matter what life throws their way.
7) Store Food and Other Supplies - A church I attended many years ago had a small room where they stored old coats & jackets, blankets, canned and dried food, baby supplies, and other similar things. These were then given to the homeless or other people in need that would show up at the church from time-to-time asking for help. Your church could do something similar - buying and storing supplies that could be distributed to either church members and/or needy folks in an emergency.
8) Preparedness Classes and Seminars - Churches could provide occasional seminars or on-going classes in preparedness. How to do this and what subjects to cover are limited only by your imagination. Your church members could also work together to buy supplies in bulk, combining your individual purchases to get the best prices possible.
9) Communications - Your church could also act as a communications hub during emergencies. Many churches already have prayer chains and other means of communications set up.
10) Prayer and Discipleship - Our country is in need of prayer. Although we were founded as a nation based on Christian principles, we are no longer a Christian nation. Chances are most of our neighbors are unchurched, many are not Christian, and some have never truly heard the Gospel message. It used to be that America took the Gospel to places that had never heard it, such as Africa and Asia. But now, America itself has become a field in need for missionary work. The Great Commission doesn't just apply to professional missionaries in the far-corners of the globe. It applies to all of us in dealing with our friends and neighbors.
What churches can do to help their members and communities prepare is in no way limited by this short list of ten things. There are many, many other possibilities, and most make terrific opportunities to reach out to the unchurched in our communities with the love of Jesus.
You can follow Tim Gamble on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TimGamble