The Biblical Rationale And Practical Expressions Of Disaster Relief Ministry Through State Conventions And Associations -- By: Jim Richards

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 04:1 (Spring 2007)
Article: The Biblical Rationale And Practical Expressions Of Disaster Relief Ministry Through State Conventions And Associations
Author: Jim Richards


The Biblical Rationale And Practical Expressions Of Disaster Relief Ministry Through State Conventions And Associations

Jim Richards

Executive Director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
& First Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Biblical Rationale

When asked to write about the difference made by state conventions and associations in Disaster Relief, I immediately began a search for this topic. To my amazement most of the articles that surfaced were not from a Baptist perspective. Since the journal is about “Baptist Theology and Ministry”, I wanted to show the interaction of the two, theology and ministry in Disaster Relief. Rather than citing how many meals were served or volunteer man-hours invested in the Katrina tragedy, let’s look at the broader scope of cooperative efforts by denominational entities from a Biblical Rationale.

There are examples too numerous to cite from the Old Testament to show a God who is concerned about the needs of people during crisis. Joseph was sent to Egypt in order to prepare a place for God’s people to be cared for during a famine, Genesis 50:20. Ruth benefited from the law providing for the indigent of the community. God said He was the father of the orphan, Psalm 68:5. His call to cultural social justice is clear in Micah 6:8. Included in social justice is to care for the less fortunate who are lacking due to a calamity. Throughout the Old Testament God is seen as the One who cares for people in time of difficulty. He sought to minister to people by using human instrumentality.

Jesus’ acts of compassion evidences His divinity. He announced that His earthly ministry would be accentuated with acts of mercy, Luke 4:18, 19. Sharing with the poor, touching the hearts of the suffering, giving hope to the captives, helping the blind, freeing the oppressed and telling the Good News are all examples provided by Jesus. He set the standard for His followers. Jesus underscored his innumerable acts of kindness by illustrating a judgment that exposes deficiencies and highlights efforts in touching lives, Matthew 25: 3136. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and comforting the lonely are direct activities of a Disaster Relief Ministry. Matthew 25 is the quintessential passage for Disaster Relief ministry.

Jesus taught that everyone is our neighbor. The story we call “The Good Samaritan” points out how we are to reach out and help those who differ from us economically, racially, and religiously. Those who are in need are our n...

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