The heroic stage of Hurricane Harvey has passed and the disillusionment stage is here. While many have gone back to life as normal, we have pastors and church professionals who are deep into recovery efforts in their neighborhoods – and they need our support.
We have a list of over 60 leaders who are engaged in daily recovery work. That includes 33 people in critical situations. This is a long-term effort that has the potential to totally burn out these leaders without your prayers, care, and resources.
These are our leaders and we are beside them all the way.
The synod’s Short-term Disaster Team has made leadership care the #1 priority. So far, the team has been able to offer small financial gifts, regular phone support, and face to face visits – but this is just the beginning. As the weeks go by, leaders will be dealing with their own struggles as well as the rising challenges in their community.
We can expect spiritual struggles of faith and a sense of abandonment by God and community, a rise in divorce, suicide, physical and mental illnesses, severe fatigue, increased drug, alcohol use and domestic violence, and huge financial setbacks. As we head into the holidays, this will get worse.
We can surround our leaders with support so that they can stay healthy, get time away, and manage the needs in their own setting. Being in a long-term disaster recovery situation and coming out more resilient on the other side will take all of us to support these courageous leaders.
The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod and LEAD are working together to be The Courageous Community. You can join this community too. Your financial gifts and prayers are the primary needs now.
The goals of The Courageous Community are to:
- Give 100% of the funds received to leaders recovering from Hurricane Harvey. (Over time we may be able to support other disasters.) We use a triage system, ranking needs as #1 urgent, #2 somewhat urgent, and #3 needs support. To date, we have only given resources to the #1 people on our list which means that the needs of some on the #2 and #3 lists may be escalating.
- Provide a place for people who want to support church professionals to give. God uses people to do God’s mission. We have a responsibility to care for our leaders who are serving in natural disasters. If you want to help your peers, join now. (For full transparency, we will provide a full report at the six-month and one-year marks to everyone in The Courageous Community and to the Synod Council. Names of recipients will not be revealed.)
We are grateful for those of you who have been praying for our hardest hit congregations and communities. Please continue this throughout the year ahead. In fact, experts tell us this will be a 5-6 year journey.
If you have ideas or resources to offer and want to talk with someone about this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.