Texas Baptist Men has assumed the responsibility for providing long-term disaster response from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, TBM announced this week.
The change went into effect Nov. 1. TBM has provided shorter term disaster relief ministries for more than 40 years — and will continue that function, its leadership said.
“It’s a natural fit and a logical progression,” TBM Executive Director Mickey Lenamon said in a news release about the shift. “In addition to offering a coordinated response to individuals and communities affected by a disaster, the move also provides TBM Disaster Long Term Disaster Recovery expanded opportunities to involve churches in hands-on ministry.”
Disaster relief includes services provided in the immediate aftermath of man-made or natural disasters. These include providing food, water, chaplaincy, showers and shelter in some cases. Short-term repairs to damaged properties also may be provided.
Disaster recovery refers to long-term efforts to rebuild communities, homes and lives. It can include clearing lots of destroyed homes, new construction and providing financial assistance to victims of disaster.
“We are looking forward to long-term recovery being included in the disaster relief ministry of TBM,” said Terry Henderson, the ministry’s disaster relief director. “Many of the states are adding this component as an area of ministry. We have been looking at several examples and are pleased to begin the process of expanding our response to disasters.”
Under the new arrangement, Marla Bearden and Gerald Davis have become employees of TBM and will report to Henderson. Previously, they served as disaster recovery specialists for the BGCT.
The pair will continue to mobilize Texas Baptist congregations and Baptist Student Mission groups in the long-term recovery phase of disasters, Bearden said in the statement.
“The disaster recovery piece will open up new opportunities for current TBM Volunteers,” she said.