Lighthouse Church Partnership A Beacon of Hope to Devastated Communities

What Is a Lighthouse Church?

In the aftermath of disasters, our U.S. Disaster Relief teams rely on local congregations and church leaders and infrastructure to serve as the backbone of our efforts. Without the hard work and leadership of local churches like yours, our work could not be accomplished in disaster-affected communities.

Host Churches
Host Churches serve their local hurting communities as they help identify needs and provide a base of operations for our USDR units, staff, and volunteers. They guide their communities toward hope and recovery during times of crisis.
Sending Churches
Sending Churches facilitate readiness among their members and are prepared to mobilize volunteers on disaster responses.
DRV Churches
DRV (Disaster Response Vehicle) Churches maintain Samaritan's Purse disaster-equipped vehicles for local ministry use and as strategically-placed critical equipment ready to deploy regionally at a moment's notice.

Why Does U.S. Disaster Relief Partner with Local Churches?

During times of disaster and tragedy we seek to see people helped and the Gospel of Jesus Christ made known. One of the central tenets of Samaritan's Purse is to help strengthen and expand the ministry of the local church, because we believe this is where God intended for ministry to originate. Hurting people need to know in the midst of so much loss that their hope is not gone but that it's found only in the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Empowered for Ministry

The partnership between Samaritan's Purse and Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, has been an example of the impact Lighthouse Churches can have in their communities and beyond.

Sherwood Baptist Church has served as a base of operations for Samaritan's Purse during multiple responses in that region. Sherwood and other local churches joined in the effort to help clean up their community and share the hope found only in Jesus Christ.

Ken Bevel is pastor of Membership and Local Missions at Sherwood. He says that serving alongside Samaritan's Purse has sharpened and empowered members to serve throughout the year.

“Samaritan's Purse helped spark that,” Bevel says. “Why sit on this training and opportunity that we've had. Let's capitalize on this. Let's do more. Samaritan's Purse showed us a better way to do ministry and how to further reach our community. It really opened our eyes to that.”

Sherwood Baptist also houses one of our Disaster Relief Vehicles (DRV). When not in use during disasters, the church uses this equipment to help people in need around the community.

“And this whole new form of service and outreach began with Samaritan's Purse coming in, repairing our city, and teaching us and training us on how to do this kind of ministry,” Bevel said.

And as their members learn how to do this heavy work, they are sharpening more than just their chainsaw skills. They are sharpening themselves for ministry in the midst of crisis for those moments when they can have the biggest impact on hurting people.

How Can We Become a Lighthouse Church?

We want to partner with churches who desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus during times of crisis, who faithfully preach and teach the Word of God, and who have capacity to assist in whatever way God is leading them. Lighthouse Churches are also committed to meeting profound physical need for the purpose of bringing the true hope of the Gospel through evangelism and discipleship during and after a disaster response. If this describes your congregation, we would love to discuss how we can partner together.

Becoming a Lighthouse Church Will Grow Your Capacity and Impact

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

Whatever role your church plays as part of our Lighthouse Church network, being a part of this work can have a profound impact on your congregation and the communities you serve. Serving as a Lighthouse Church also provides congregations with untold opportunities for evangelism and discipleship, which is the end result of all we do at Samaritan's Purse. Churches that are ready to serve as hope and light in the midst of darkness are churches ready to serve as Jesus' hands and feet wherever He calls them. As you and your church consider how God is leading you, we invite you to partner with us in prayer. Please continue to pray for the ministry of Samaritan's Purse and the communities impacted by disasters. We also want to pray for you and your ministry as a Lighthouse Church.

Is My Church Equipped to Be a Lighthouse Church?

Deployment Host Facility Requirements
A certain degree of planning before these situations arise can make a big difference. How would your church respond to the following questions, given that a disaster deployment may require some disruption of normal routines and schedules?
Sleeping Quarters
  • What is our strategy to house Samaritan's Purse volunteers?
  • How many can we comfortably provide sleeping space, ensuring separate areas for men and women?
Kitchen Facilities (if available)
How can we utilize the kitchen to prepare meals for volunteers?
Bathroom Facilities & Showers (if available):
How can we make sure these facilities are ready to meet the demands of the volunteers who will be staying?
Parking Areas:
  • Do we have a parking plan that will accommodate:
  • Disaster Relief Unit Road tractor and 53-foot trailer
  • Shower trailer, if showers are not available inside church
  • Mobile kitchen, if kitchen is not available inside church
  • Flatbed truck(s) and skid steer trailers (depending on disaster)
  • Additional pickup trucks
  • Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Mobile Ministry Center 40-foot truck
  • What is our parking plan for volunteers?

Lighthouse Volunteer Teams

If your congregation can gather a group of willing volunteers, you can organize a Lighthouse Volunteer Team. Below are some ways to prepare your congregation for deployment:

  • Confirm with your congregation its commitment to serve as a Samaritan's Purse Lighthouse Church in response to U.S. disasters.
  • Gather your volunteer team, reminding everyone that there will be work for all skill levels and ages (14 years old and up). Anyone feeling the Lord calling them to serve can find a place to use their talents.
  • Develop a plan so you're ready to respond when the opportunity comes. Each plan will be unique to the congregation and processes and may include volunteer recruitment, identifying a deployment radius, a plan for transportation, and other logistical considerations. We will be happy to assist as you develop this strategy.
  • Sign up for text alerts to be notified of new volunteer opportunities by texting SPVOL to 43037.

Shine in the Darkness, Become a Lighthouse Church

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