Rick Warren Says Texas Churches’ Response to Hurricane Harvey Could be Their ‘Finest Hour’

The losses that are going to hurt the longest after Hurricane Harvey are the invisible ones, pastor Rick Warren told a group of Southeast Texas pastors at Calvary Baptist Church in Beaumont as he counseled them on how to help people recover in what could be “the church’s finest hour.”

“If unbelievers like what they see in the mud-outs and all the stuff we’re doing, then they will listen to what we say,” Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said Sept. 18. “Many times outreach to people starts with a hand and then moves to the heart and the head.”

Southeast Texas holds a special place in his heart, Warren said, because First Baptist Church in Lufkin was the first sponsor of Saddleback when it began. Warren also spoke to the pastors from his experience ministering in the aftermath of more than 30 different natural and man-caused disasters throughout the world and over the years.

Life is filled with loss, and the Book of James says not to be surprised when it happens, Warren reminded the pastors. “This is not heaven. This is earth, and everything on this planet is broken because of sin. The weather’s broken, the economy’s broken, our bodies are broken, our minds are broken, our relationships are broken.”

People want to look at a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey and pronounce God’s judgment, but Warren said, “Never use a disaster to make political or theological points. Just help people!”

The hardest part, he said, “is going to be what happens in the minds and the hearts of people after we’re already cleaning up the property and the possessions.”

“We can see the devastation of property and we can see the devastation of possessions, but what is not seen is, for instance, the loss of the glue that was holding a marriage together that was very fragile and about ready to come apart,” Warren said. “A crisis often doesn’t cause a problem in a relationship, but it reveals a problem.”

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SOURCE: Erin Roach 
Baptist Press