Local Church Care Ministry


Caring for People - BeforeWarning is postedAfter

Caring for the Church Facilities - BeforeWarning is postedAfter

Caring for the Community - BeforeWarning is postedAfter

Caring for Others in the District, Conference and Beyond - BeforeAfter

Caring For People – Before a disaster event (storm)

  • Identify a Local Church Disaster Coordinator to coordinate church plan and response.

  • Identify a lay person who is the contact if there is damage to the church facilities including the parsonage (chair of trustees, business manager, etc.).

  • Have the “Congregational Care Team” to identify widows, shut-ins, single moms, persons with special needs, residents of mobile homes, or elderly in your congregation and those surrounding the church.  When a call is made, determine where would they be staying in the event of a storm and how to contact them, and what would be their needs.

Caring for the Church Facilities – Before a disaster event (storm)

  • Trustees plan to secure building, electronics, files, etc.

  • Summer/ Fall schedule of persons available to put up church and parsonage storm shutters.

  • Inventory property (contents of building, especially electronics, musical instruments) – a narrated video is a good record, along with a written inventory.

  • Back up computer files.

Caring for Community – Before a disaster event (storm)

  • If your church is interested in being a shelter, contact the American Red Cross to be “certified” as a shelter (this requirement is necessary if you want to house people at the church in order to transfer any liabilities). The Red Cross will provide cots, beverages, and food.  You will need to provide floor space, rest rooms, and showers.

  • If you have a church kitchen, the American Red Cross may be interested in a cooking center, whether or not a shelter is set up.

  • If you have a covered area, other than the Red Cross shelter and kitchen area, for a “pet-friendly” shelter for people to bring pets, in cages or on leashes, with supplies.  Notify the local Emergency Operations Manager if you set up to provide this service.

  • If you believe you may want to provide meals for the community there are some non-perishables you could purchase before a storm (spaghetti and canned sauce, etc.) that you can use to provide a free meal to the community after a storm – or for a church supper when hurricane season is over.

Caring for Others in the Conference and Beyond in Disaster– Before a disaster event (storm)

  • Determine if there is an area of the church parking lot where a drive-thru points of distribution (water, food, ice) could be located and layout how it would be done.

  • Identify persons with skills and resources who could be part of a response in a disaster somewhere else (persons with trucks, chain saws, building skills). Train individuals and start teams. Teams may be composed of members from several small churches. The Church Coordinator will notify the local Emergency Operations Manager and District Disaster Coordinator of available team and church services.

  • Identify the persons who will coordinate the collection of flood buckets, food, money to help in disasters..

Caring for Church Facilities – When a warning is announced

  • Secure church buildings and parsonage(s) with shutters or window coverings.

  • Unplug electronics and raise electronics off of floor.

  • Cover electronics and musical instruments with plastic.

  • Secure a safe place for computer backup and financial documents.  

  • Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to turn off main breakers and main gas feed.

  • Complete the above tasks as soon as a warning is announced and then send staff home early to secure their families and homes.

Caring for People – When a warning is announced

  • Have your “Congregational Care Team” telephone widows, shut-ins, single moms, persons with special needs, residents of mobile homes, elderly in your congregation, and others with needs surrounding the church .

  • Find out what assistance they need to secure their homes, (putting up shutters, etc.) and send a church team to help them prepare their homes.

  • Verify where they will be staying during the storm and their contact number(s).

  • As the calls are made, make preparations for your Care Team prepared to call back after the storm to find out how their situation. 

Caring for Community – When a warning is announced

  • Once the Red Cross notifies the Church Disaster Coordinator and receives approval to open, you need to contact your shelter and/or feeding team and communicating opening as you see fit.

  • Open the “pet-friendly” shelter for people to bring pets, in cages or on leashes, with supplies when notified by the local Emergency Operations Manager.

  • If you open your church as a shelter, designate persons who will remain at the church during the storm.


Caring for People – After the disaster event (storm) has passed (Please advise people to wait until the authorities say that it is safe to be on the road before sending people out to check on the members or buildings)

  • Have your “Congregational Care Team” call (if phones are working) or visit vulnerable church members to see how they are doing (wait until safe to drive).

  • Identify needs and coordinates needs with teams

Caring for the Church Facilities – After the disaster event (storm) has passed

  • After it is safe to drive, the trustees need to check the church buildings and parsonage to assess damage.

  • A designated lay person should call the district office and insurance agent to report any damage. 

  • Trustees should do what is possible to safely secure buildings from further water damage (tarps and plastic). 

Caring for Community – After the disaster event (storm) has passed

  • If there are unmet needs in your community after a storm, when it is safe to drive, you have an opportunity for ministry, including:

    • Disaster teams to help with moving debris to curb and organizing it.
    • Disaster teams to help “dry in” homes with tarps and plastic over windows.
    • Chain saw teams to cut downed trees and limbs and move to curb
    • Shelters for those who cannot live in their homes
    • Cooking food for Red Cross ERV's who distribute food to the communities
    • Working with district and conference disaster coordinators to identify volunteer case workers to assess damage (this is the United Methodist part of emergency response)
    • Working with district and conference disaster coordinators  to provide volunteer teams to areas in need.

Caring for Others in the Conference and Beyond in Disaster – After the disaster event (storm) has passed

  • Work with district, Conference, and UMVIM to provide volunteer teams to areas in need.

  • Take an offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief, designated for the particular disaster.

  • Prepare and deliver requested supplies and flood buckets to identified gathering places.