One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “How can I connect with OTHER volunteers across the country?” That’s a great question and one I didn’t have a good answer to until now. The fact is that LCMS Disaster Response is designed to be a decentralized system. Why do we do this? Well that goes down to the structure of synod.
District Disaster Response Coordinators
I’m sure most of you know that within the synod there are 35 different districts that cover the churches in a specific geographic location or under a certain language group.
The District Disaster Response Coordinator (DDRC) is chosen by the district president to manage the disaster response in each district. Some of the DDRCs conduct LERT training sessions, some even do Chainsaw training, but all of them have various means of keeping and maintaining the records of volunteers within their district. While this is an effective tool for rounding up volunteers to respond, it doesn’t provide much of a means for sharing experiences, discussing best practices, or coordinating across districts. So what are the solutions to this problem?
Annual Disaster Response Conferences
Our annual disaster response conferences fill that role nicely. For three days every year we gather almost 100 people to hear case studies from pastors who have gone through a disaster recently, best practices from some of our coordinators, and in depth theological insights about the Theology of Mercy.
But the best parts of these conferences are the opportunity to come together to worship in daily chapel, eat meals with other people interested in disasters and network with coordinators and volunteers from all over the country.
This year we will be going to Concordia Theological Seminary from Tuesday Oct 18th to Thursday October 20th to discuss “Showing Christ’s Mercy; Bringing God’s Peace.” We’ll hear case studies from Pilger, NE and the floods in South Carolina and Missouri, tips on managing more than one response simultaneously, how to develop an active team and so much more.