Testimonies of CEN response.
A San Diego ReadyChurch.
Learn how a San Diego church implemented prayer-care-share elements as they faced local disastrous fires. Churches are the groups you want to respond to a disaster! The Rock Church, a large independent church in San Diego, faced local fires in 2007 with highly successful actions.
Many churches today operate independently from denominational structure and support. reported by CEN in an article published by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), these kind of churches are assets sometimes overlooked in times of crisis. In that same IAEM newsletter issue (July 2009), The Rock's response efforts to the fires was included.
Mary Marr, CEN Founder/President, says, The Rock Church is a great example of a prayer-care-share ReadyChurch. They were a model readiness church back then, but we've come so much further now in helping churches respond effectively to any kind of disaster or crisis. It is key for Christians to face a crisis as Jesus would - with compassion, prayer, caring efforts, and with the truths of scripture that address anyone's spiritual concerns.
We find that a prayer-care-share approach is successful. The Rock's response played roles from a Communications Center all the way to a massive volunteer turn-out. We know that God works in many hearts during emergencies and His kingdom expands!
Learn more about how The Rock responded, and how you can get your church ready:
The Rock Short Clip #1 | The Rock Short Clip #2 | The Rock's Sunday Service Clip
A North Carolina ReadyChurch
The Community Church is located near Highlands, North Carolina. The community has 1,000 permanent residents, but in the summer the seasonal population swells to 25,000. The Community Church straddles two county lines with several smaller towns. Many towns have very little infrastructure with very limited police and political structure. The challenge was how to best unify the Community Church to minister to a very diverse area with limited infrastructure and diverse cultures.
In addition, the churches in the area and political entities lacked any preparation standards for emergencies. The diverse communities did not have any good record of working together, at the government, private sector or church level. However, the Community Church wanted to effectively minister to the permanent population, as well as the seasonal residents. The Community Church wanted to be a leading force should a disaster occur in their community yet they did not have any structure or training.
CEN conducted a three-day assessment where participants discovered their own level of biblical readiness, followed by ReadyChristian and ReadyChurch training. During the assessment it was discovered that training participants were not biblically ready as individuals. As a result, they came to understand the Church could not effectively become a ready Church until church members took the step of being ready Christians. ReadyChristian training consisted of learning how to be ready spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically and to discover an accountability partner for personal growth and support during crisis. The members understood clearly they could not reach out and help others in their community until they themselves were ready.
After the three day training, Community Church leaders were able to identify their ReadyChurch Emergency Team with an administrator who met with the mayor, chief of police, fire chief and hospital administrator to work on an emergency operations plan which had not been previously developed. The Community Church, as a result of the training, are now bringing an emergency operations plan together and taking lead in spiritual care for the fire, police and community should the need arise. They are implementing best practices in networking other churches and they are preparing both their winter and summer congregations to be ready. This placed the Community Church in the leading position to provide a sound comprehensive pray, care, share approach during an emergency.
The Community Church will be hosting additional CEN trainings within their church as well as opening it up to local fire, police and others who are part of their emergency operations plan. Department of Homeland Security is also pleased because Community Church will also be hosting the first CERT training in a 30-mile radius of very isolated communities.
The Community Church was so grateful that the ReadyChurch and ReadyChristian training was exactly what they needed. They produced a video of the pastor and CEN Church Advisor, Jon McHatton, so that those who had already left for the winter will receive the information and be able to begin the process of becoming ready Christians themselves when they return, rather than needing to wait until next summer to participate. They also have a video to show other churches in the area who are interested in working together that highlights how to respond to local emergencies and how this worked with their church.
Several key results were experienced by Community Church:
The Community Church was established as the lead for spiritual care during emergencies
- The Community Church became the community training center for biblical readiness
- The community and churches united around the emergency training and launched an area-wide pray-care-share network
- Church members responded to the call to become ready Christians as the first step in future disaster response
- The Community Church established effective connections with secular organizations, Christian organizations, governmental, police, fire as well as to develop future non-emergency related ministry opportunities