Brian Wright is pastor of Cornerstone EFC in Owatonna, Minnesota.
One of the best seasons of ministry that I have known grew out of a season of despair.
In summer 2006 I watched as drought in Mott, N.D., dried up crops in the field and hope in people’s hearts. Our church responded with prayer and action, and EFCA Crisis Response came alongside with ideas and support.
In addition to praying for relief and provision, we hosted a free dinner for our neighbors—distributing $25 gift certificates to all who came and also sharing how God works when we are hurting. Our goal was to remind people of God’s love for them (read the spring 2007 EFCA Today article).
That event became the catalyst for a renewed and fruitful outreach ministry for us at Mott Evangelical Community Church (EFCA). Similar results can be found in churches that have sent teams to help the EFCA in places like Haiti, New Orleans, Galveston or Chincha, Peru. Team members return with skills to serve and a desire to reproduce that ministry impact in their own church.
Now, two years into a new ministry at Cornerstone EFC in Owatonna, Minn., I am again seeing the power of a crisis-response ministry. What our church members experienced in New Orleans and Haiti has triggered our passion: We want to respond to crises that strike individuals in Owatonna on a daily basis.
Financial hardship, family struggles, health issues and other personal losses hit lives just like hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes hit communities. In those moments of crisis, the church often has an open door to meet both physical and spiritual needs.
Crisis-response ministry truly is “the intersection of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” says Mary Held, who served with EFCA Crisis Response in New Orleans and now leads their crisis-response advocacy team. It not only meets those urgent needs but also cracks open believers’ hearts in amazing ways.