Advice for US churches on Category 4 storm from a disaster researcher who survived 2005.
If current projections hold true, Hurricane Harvey will be the strongest hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina, Rita, and Wilma hit in 2005.
A decade ago, maybe your church volunteered, planned a short-term mission trip, gave money, or helped rebuild Gulf Coast communities beaten down by one of America’s most deadly and destructive disaster seasons.
Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane by Friday evening, offers Christians a chance to be even more helpful—to show God’s grace and mercy to a disaster-filled world. But it means we have to be willing to learn from experiences like Katrina.
I’ve learned a lot myself, both personally and professionally. Katrina walloped my community six days after I moved to South Mississippi. Within weeks, I was on the ground researching how faith helps peoples’ resilience and how the church can best respond. Today, I run the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, the nation’s first social science research center devoted to the study of faith and disasters.
For churches in the path of Hurricane Harvey, there are still some “just-in-time” preparedness strategies you can implement before the storm makes landfall. For Christians far away, there’s a lot more you can do than wait and watch Twitter like it’s an unfolding disaster movie.
Below are some of the most important research-based ways your church can prepare and care, as well as spiritual survival tips for locals and responders alike.
What Churches in Harvey’s Crosshairs Should Do Right Now
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