The Importance of the SBDR Vision

Demolished house after Tornado

The Importance of the SBDR Vision

Written By Gaylon Moss

The Importance of the SBDR Vision

“Why are you here?”

It’s a common question from disaster survivors to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers. The question gives ample opportunity for any number of responses, especially to give witness to the work of God in a believer’s life and how the person asking the question can connect to God.

To be “here” is not to be somewhere else. Being “here” requires intentionality and purpose. Relief work is incarnational ministry at its best. Jesus, of course, modeled this type of ministry for us. Being with someone on their worst day is comforting for the survivor and uplifting for the one helping.

But how do we get to the “here”? We pray, plan, organize, give, cooperate, and work diligently to make sure that when the time comes, we are in the right place at the right time with the right resources. Indeed, getting to “here” is a lot of work!

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is a Christian network bringing help, hope, and healing to people in crisis. The network consists of 42 state Baptist conventions, the Canadian Baptist Convention, and Send Relief, Inc. These 44 organizations maintain separate budgets, leadership structures, and resources. However, when disaster strikes, we choose to cooperate to do better together than we ever could separately. It’s the Cooperative Program in action!  

To be “here” as many times as needed with the right resources, SBDR directors “envision all facets of SBC life engaged in disaster relief through the church, in the community, and for the gospel.” This national vision does not negate the mission and vision of each state convention. Rather, it is written to provide a national overarching goal for us. It gives ample room for the assortment of people and ministries in Southern Baptist life.

Imagine a future when the vast ministries of all Southern Baptists are “here,” available to meet needs and share Christ on the worst of days. The diversity of people and ministries God has given us can make a difference in people’s lives. One mission researcher writes, “We need more engagement, not less engagement, with the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the hurting.” Disaster relief gives us more opportunities for engagement.

Southern Baptists are meeting all sorts of physical and spiritual needs every day. Numerous and effective ministries have been developed in churches, associations, states, and national entities to help people in need. Can these same missions and ministries be applied in a disaster context? Will we create a culture that brings to bear as many resources as possible to “meet an urgent need?” (Titus 3:14)

We already have the people and ministries. What if we added Disaster Relief as a strategy to existing ministries to strengthen our ability to be in the right place at the right time with the right resources to meet as many needs as possible?

We don’t wish for disasters, but we hope that one day, all of us, working together, are able to bring help, hope, and healing to people in crisis. And if you get that chance, be ready to answer the question, “Why are you here,” with the hope of the Gospel.

About the Author

Gaylon Moss
State Director, Missouri Disaster Relief

Gaylon Moss is the Missouri State Disaster Relief Director and is also serving as the Chairman of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Steering Committee. He has a degree from Southewestern Baptist Theological Seminary and enjoys the outdoors. Gaylon and his wife have 3 daughters.

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