Connect Gifts with Needs
Spend time as a leadership team developing the expectations you have for volunteers. What will their distinct roles be? How will they know what is expected of them—and if they have done well? Clarity on the front end helps get the right people in the right roles and offers them a path to success in those roles.
When people hear “disaster ministry,” they may assume they need to learn a whole new set of skills—or that because they aren’t an emergency response professional, they don’t have much to offer. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Just as one of the best ways to start a disaster ministry in your church is to take a look at what your church already does well and consider how you can pivot this ministry to a disaster context, the same is true for volunteers. Help them identify what they already know to be their ministry gifting and calling—what they already do well—and then think through how that can be adapted or used in a disaster situation. Do they have an interest in children’s ministry? Financial assistance? Facility management? Food preparation? Visiting with shut-ins? All of those interests and gifts can be used in disaster contexts, and they draw from ministries that probably already exist in your church and can easily be employed when disaster hits.
Additionally, it is helpful to seek out any “first responders” you have in your church: medically trained people like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and law enforcement officials like police, firefighters, and EMS professionals. Their expertise can be instrumental in helping train others, and their skills will be vital in a disaster response situation.