Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hurricane Katrina: What Has Been Her Impact Upon North American Missions Volunteerism and Church Planting?

Without a doubt, the Southern Baptist response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was tremendous. Thousands of volunteers have journeyed to the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast to bring relief and help rebuild. My church has been in the middle of these efforts. We have mobilized four teams to serve in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana since last September.

Disaster Relief has been one of the true "bright spots" in Baptist life. Our Disaster Relief efforts have done much to foster good will toward Southern Baptists throughout the U.S. But what type of impact have Hurricane Katrina, and the subsequent relief and rebuild efforts, had upon Southern Baptist volunteerism?

I haven't found any serious studies or information on the internet about this impact. No one really seems to be talking about it. But in my "unofficial" contacts with missions volunteer coordinators in various parts of the U.S., I have found an overall downward trend in the number of available volunteers. Most of these missions leaders/coordinators have been quick to explain this phenomenon. They have said, repeatedly, "Everyone is going to the Gulf Coast..."

Yes, our response to this disaster has been incredible. It has raised the level of missions awareness in our convention. But was/is it a "flash in the pan?" Has there been a negative impact upon our missions efforts in other areas of North America? Is Hurricane Katrina still taking her toll ... upon our overall missions efforts? Has there been any impact, good or bad, upon North American Church Planting as a result of our intense Disaster Relief response?


Blogger Sarah said...

I don't know Geoff. I think it could be looked at in both a positive and a negative way. Positive in that there are those that are serving as volunteers that perhaps hadn't really thought that God could use them here in the U.S. On the negative side, I believe that there are those that are spending so much time focusing on Katrina Disaster relief that they neglect to see the needs around them. I believe in relief aid and applaud those who have given time and money to go to the Gulf Coast but I think we must remember that there are those around us, in our own backyards that may need our attention.

6:44 AM  

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