Whether it is a hurricane on the Gulf Coast, an earthquake on the other side of the world, or tornadoes in our own backyard, we as believers are to be “the hands and feet of Christ” in times of crisis. Below is some helpful information to discuss with your community group and family as you pray about how God would have you steward your time and resources to help those affected by a natural disaster or other tragedy.
Watermark has a designated fund for disaster relief and aid. Any resources given to this fund are set aside to support trusted, like-minded partners and churches in areas affected by natural disasters and to deploy teams for relief efforts. A few examples of how Watermark has supported relief efforts include medical service trips in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, COVID-19 relief funds for homeless and under-resourced families and individuals served by OurCalling, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, and Cornerstone Baptist Church, and more.
Disaster relief has four distinct phases: Rescue, Relief, Recovery, and Development. Only those with unique skills or supplies that are needed immediately should go to the affected area during the Rescue and Relief stages. Otherwise, "warm bodies," if not directed by a knowledgeable organization, can create more havoc. For most of us, our skills and resources are better used in the Recovery phase – months after the initial relief effort (and after the news cameras leave).
Serving and giving are always more effective in the context of relationships. As Watermark’s leadership team stewards resources from the Watermark Disaster Relief Fund and connects the body with service opportunities, we partner with organizations with established relationships within the affected region – a local church, an existing Watermark partner, or another trusted nonprofit organization.
Be especially careful about the many "crowdsourced" funding opportunities available online. Giving outside the context of relationship or without accountability and safeguards is not wise stewardship. Remember that homeowner insurance generally provides emergency assistance and immediate relief for the families that have been affected. Instead of giving to a cause you're unfamiliar with, it is always wise to serve and support trusted partners with roots in the affected community.
Consider the following as you consider giving to disaster relief efforts:
We want you to know that for every relief effort that is in the headlines today, there are numerous recovery and development efforts going on around the world that Watermark is actively engaged in helping. Please join us in our efforts to Serve the City!
Feel free to reach out to the External Focus Team, using the contact form below, with any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding our Disaster Relief plan or potential partner organizations.