Ross Johnson
Ross Johnson
34 Articles1 Comments

As director of LCMS Disaster Response, the disaster response and human care ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Rev. Ross E. Johnson oversees the church’s comprehensive disaster response program, including planning, training and implementation of immediate and long-term responses to help people in the aftermath of disastrous events wherever they occur. He works to facilitate relationships with federal, state and community disaster response agencies; consults with LCMS district, congregations and international church partners to prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters around the world; and makes available pastoral care in the field while responding to a disaster.

Chainsaws Aren’t For Children

One of the most frequent questions I get is “Can we take our youth group to LERT training?” And my response is always “Certainly, but we can’t certify minors.” Then I tell them ways to get their youth involved in Disaster Response in their congregation but I always get the same response.

Fill the Bucket – Clever Ways to Start a Disaster Fund

This year has been an especially wet one. New Years brought widespread floods through Missouri, Illinois and all the way down the Mississippi. January, February, and March brought more flooding in Texas. Even right now I am just getting back from Texas…

Continuing Discussion in Disaster Response

Last week we talked about the issues of communication that happen in a massive disaster response network like LERT. We also announced our upcoming conference where you can learn all about Disaster Response and the Theology for Mercy along with…

Solving Communication Problems in Disaster Response

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…

Why Not Just Self-Deploy Into a Disaster?

Have you ever been struck by images of disaster so much that you just wanted to hop in your car and lend a helping hand? You may want to rethink that. Here are three reasons why Self-deploying might be more harmful than helpful

Disaster Response Conference in South America for Pastors and Seminarians

Last week LCMS Disaster Response and Luther Academy led a three day conference in South America for 76 Pastors and Seminarians on how to respond to disasters and minister to people hurting from a wide variety of tragedies.

Big Things are Happening in Latin America

There are about 14,000 trained volunteers across the United States and about 2,000 more are trained every year. What you might not know is that we train leaders and missionaries around the world to respond mercifully in times of tragedy with the love of Christ.

LCMS Disaster Response takes a FORO into Uruguay

LCMS Disaster Response’s role at the FORO is to be a subject matter expert in the area of Mercy work and giving a merciful response in times of tragedy.

LCMS Disaster Response in Hispanic Communities

Over the last couple of years we have discovered two needs. The first need is for our materials to be translated into Spanish. Secondly, we have found a need to train our Spanish speaking churches in the United States and throughout Latin America so that they will have Lutheran Early Response Teams (LERT). We also want to do a better job of responding to disasters that strike Spanish speaking communities across the United States.

LERT Trained and Thrown Into the Fire

This tornado struck just 3 days after the local LERT training on March 12th. The congregation saw a need, hosted the training and became certified for disaster preparedness. No one knew at the time that they themselves would hear the tornado sirens just a few days later. Because the team was trained beforehand, they knew what to do and responded to their community.

The State and the Current State of Lutheranism: Serving the Poor – Part 3

Lutheran Congregational Mercy Work Over the last 15 years there has been a renaissance of congregational mercy work across the congregations in the LCMS. Much of this resurgence was due to the leadership of President Rev. Matthew C. Harrison who…

The State and the Current State of Lutheranism: Serving the Poor Part 2

However, for almost two decades there has been an increased reliance on government funding NGOs. Many large faith-based organizations now get well over 50 percent of their annual income from the government funding sources and depend substantially on government budgets, election results, and political parties for funding their social work projects.

The State and the Current State of Lutheranism: Serving the Poor – Part 1

On January 29, 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order establishing The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI).  Many non-government organizations (NGOs) including congregations, denominations, Social Service Organizations (SSOs), and LCMS Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs)…

Long Term Disaster Response Is Not Glamorous

The fact is that long term rebuilding is difficult and is not glamorous. However, LCMS Disaster Response is committed to helping communities rebuild for up to three years after a disaster has torn apart lives and homes. LCMS congregations are anchors in their community. They serve as a lighthouse of the Gospel and they can be a mercy center for helping others in a time of need.

Is Your Family Ready?

Families must be able to cope with disaster by preparing and working as a team. Maintaining a ready supply of food, water, hygiene, health items and a few basic tools can go a long way to making sure your family can take care of itself for a few days without outside help.

Organizing a Disaster Response Training Event in Your Congregation

For almost a decade LCMS Disaster Response has been training Lutheran Early Response Teams (LERT). In fact, there are over 14,000 trained LERT members across the LCMS. I am often asked how we can get a LERT training event at my church and what should I expect during the training.