Monday, November 5, 2018

What Churches Can Do To Prepare For Bad Times


Should churches prepare for bad times?

I have no doubt the answer is Yes! The Bible makes it clear that preparedness (both physical and spiritual) is not only prudent, but in fact is commanded by God. If you doubt this fact, please read my article Are preppers and survivalists are failing to trust God? which contains many, many quotes from the Bible. 

Besides. believers 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.
 
What can churches so to prepare for bad times ahead?

1) Admit the need for emergency preparedness.  Yes, at some point Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom and we will all be safe. But until, we will face persecution, danger, and difficult times. In the last few years, we've seen mass shootings at several churches and synagogues. We've seen Christians in America fired from their jobs, harassed, bullied, sued, and even jailed, for standing up for their beliefs. In October, a church in Seattle was fire-bombed while service was in progress. Earlier this year, an Orthodox priest in Charlotte, NC was brutally attached in the church's parking lot early on a Sunday morning. The tactics of bullying, intimidation, and violence being employed by the left against anyone supporting traditional values and beliefs are only growing in intensity. 

2) You don't have to call it "prepping" or "survivalism." Those terms have negative connotations for some people, and may meet with automatic resistance. "Emergency preparedness" or "disaster preparedness" are legitimate names for what I'm suggesting, and may be more acceptable to your fellow church members. Of course, you know your church better than I, so call it whatever you feel is appropriate. 

3) Church security is the place to start.  We want our churches to be open and welcoming to the larger community, but recent events have shown we do need to think about security also. Security cameras covering the entrances and parking lot are a good idea. A multi-camera CCTV system with DVR recorder can be had for under $200 (here's one such system on Amazon). Most churches cannot afford paid security, but perhaps they have police officers or military veterans in the congregation who can act as armed security during services. Really, anyone in the congregation with the proper permits and training can be volunteer security.  

4) Create a church communications plan. Many churches have phone trees (sometimes called prayer trees or prayer chains), in which prayer requests and other information can be spread quickly to all church members. Basically, person A calls two predetermined people, who each in turn call two predetermined people. Those four people each call two people, and so forth until the entire church is notified.  if your church doesn't already have one of these, set one up. It can be used to pass on not just prayer requests, but all sorts of news and information.

5) Start a church community garden. If your church has, or can get access to, some open 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.

6) Hold classes in food storage and canning. Churches could encourage and educate their members to store food and water. 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.

7) Hold classes in first aid and CPR. 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.

8) Hold classes in budgeting and family finance. 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 and radio program. Also, Money Matters with Ken Moraif. And Crown Financial. There may be others.

9) Hold other preparedness classes. Churches could provide occasional 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.

10) Sponsor scout-like youth groups - Your church could host various types of scouting and scouting-like groups, including Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA. Both are great alternatives to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, which have both now gone all-in on political correctness. Your church can also start its own scout-like group using scouting handbooks (anyone can buy them), but not being connected to the national groups. These programs are a great way to teach young people the values and skills that will help them no matter what life throws their way.

11) 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.

12) Emphasize 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 believers, 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 (see Matthew 28:19,20) 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 twelve things. There are many, many other possibilities, and most also make terrific opportunities to reach out to the unchurched in our communities.
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