Disaster Ministry Handbook
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InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Paperback

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Disaster Ministry Handbook

InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW841220

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Product Description

When a flood, a tornado, a devastating fire, a school shooting, or any other emergency staggers a community, people frequently turn to churches for guidance and assistance. But few churches plan in advance for what they should do- until the storm hits.

Don't get caught unprepared. If a natural disaster or human tragedy strikes your community, your church can minister to the hurting. Jamie Aten and David Boan, codirectors of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, provide a practical guide for disaster preparedness. Disaster ministry is a critically important work of the church, preparing for the unthinkable, providing relief to survivors, caring for the vulnerable and helping communities recover. Filled with resources for emergency planning and crisis management, this book provides best practices for local congregations. By taking action in advance, your church can help prevent harm and save lives during a disaster.

The time to plan is now. Be prepared.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 10.00 X 7.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830841229
ISBN-13: 9780830841226

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Author Bio

Jamie D. Aten (PhD, Indiana State University) is the founder and codirector of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, and Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois). Previously he served as the assistant director of the Katrina Research Center and as assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Aten has been awarded close to $2 million in external funding by numerous state, federal and nonprofit organizations for psychology of religion and disaster research. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and co-edited several books, including two American Psychological Association Books bestsellers. He is also an American Psychological Association’s Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) Margaret Gorman Early Career Award winner and Mutual of America Merit Finalist Award winner. David Boan (PhD, Biola University) is associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College and codirector of the college's Humanitarian Disaster Institute, where he leads basic and applied research on international relief efforts. He is the author of many peer-reviewed publications and lives with his wife Andrea and two children in Wheaton, Illinois.


This book helps churches and individuals follow Jesus to the front lines of tragedy, whether human-made or natural, to serve people in their greatest need. Drs. Aten and Boan collapse typical dichotomies of professional/laity, church/agency and word/deed by presenting an inspiring and thoroughly helpful guide to those bold enough to insist that faith must be lived out during crisis.
-Stephan Bauman,
president and CEO, World Relief

There is a real need right now for guidance on what Christian emergency and disaster work actually looks like. As faith-based emergency organizations continue to grow in their abilities and impact, a book like this will offer to those who are putting Jesus' commands to foot a set of parameters to operate within. We are called to save both souls and lives, and this book gives direction on how we can do both.
-Thad Hicks,
divisional emergency disaster services director, the Salvation Army, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana division

When local churches are hit with an unexpected disaster in their community they often find themselves in uncharted territory, overwhelmed by needs, expectations and demands from both those who need help and those who are offering it. This was our experience in Japan after the 2011 tsunami brought devastation to a large portion of the country. HDI came alongside the churches in Japan to not only meet immediate needs for training but also to learn from the experience to prepare for disasters in the future. This book is the result of listening to those who have gone through the fire, both in Japan and in other disasters such as Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and I believe that this practical research will allow the church to respond with greater effectiveness when disaster strikes again.
-Jonathan Wilson,
executive director of Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope (CRASH Japan)

A large part of the world's population lives in disaster-prone areas, but communities are often ill prepared when disasters hit. The local church - often situated in the center of communities - can become a great resource in disaster response or even in prevention. We have seen encouraging examples of that, such as when the earthquake destroyed Christchurch or the typhoon hit the Philippines. This book will help churches understand their potential contribution. I recommend it to the leadership of every evangelical alliance as a roadmap for developing a disaster response in their nation. What an impact it will have to hurting communities, when in the face of widespread despair the body of Christ is ready to serve and combines high competence in practical help with the love of Christ.
-Dr. Wilf Glasser,
associate secretary general, World Evangelical Alliance

This is a much needed book that will help equip the local church for effective disaster response. It is full of practical and helpful examples, tools and resources. One of the unique features of this book is that it is not just based on years of the authors' experience - but that it is also based on the authors' research. This is a highly recommended book for clergy, church leaders and lay leaders alike.
-Harold G. Koenig, MD,
professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center

In this book, Drs. Jamie Aten and David Boan prepare local churches for ministering to communities impacted by disasters. Drawing on personal stories and examples from their work around the globe, they show how churches can address both the spiritual and practical needs of disaster survivors. They offer guidance on how the church can be a vehicle for justice at what are often unjust times.
-The Rev. Canon Leslie J. Francis,
professor of religions and education, University of Warwick

Drs. Jamie Aten and David Boan provide an essential, preparatory wake-up call to the church in the Disaster Ministry Handbook. The research is clear - the church has not provided the right kind of assistance to older and disabled members and their caregivers before, during and after catastrophic events. Having led faith-based, post-Katrina and F4 tornado initiatives, I can say with confidence that lives will be saved when the guidelines of this critical book are implemented by churches and taught in seminaries.
-Dr. Michael Parker,
professor, University of Alabama, Center for Mental Health & Aging, associate professor, UAB Comprehensive Center for Aging

The authors are to be commended for producing an excellent handbook that is a prerequisite for Christian communities wanting to respond to the vulnerable in disasters. Based on thorough research and practical experience, the authors show us that sympathy and goodwill are not enough to ensure a disaster response will be truly compassionate, hold up to ethical and financial scrutiny, or be effective. Sympathy, good will, especially infused with godly spirituality, are necessary, but so also are thorough examination of motives and 'calling,' planning and training. This work excels in bringing all of these together to provide a treasure chest of guidance and tools that will assist churches and groups to assess both their skills and limitations for disaster response, and to plan thoroughly and train effectively. The vulnerable of their own faith communities and the civic communities they seek to serve will be all the richer for the kind of insights and practical directions this work so helpfully provides.
-Roger Abbott,
research associate in natural disasters, The Faraday Institute, University of Cambridge, lecturer in pastoral response to trauma, Wales Evangelical School of Theology

This handbook is a must-have tool for all churches and congregations. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for a disaster, what to do when a disaster hits and how the church and its congregation can establish care, comfort and support to those recovering from disasters. Ephesians 2:10 states 'For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do.' I believe this handbook will be a blessing for you and your church in times of disasters.
-Ron Willett,
director, World Renew Disaster Response Services

In my work on climate change and environmental problems, I've become acutely aware that disasters - whether in the form of violent conflicts, spreading diseases or extreme weather events - are only growing worse and more frequent. We know that when such disasters hit, people turn to churches and Christians for help. The question is, will we be faithful and ready? Thanks to Jamie Aten and David Boan, the answer can be a resounding yes. This highly practical book is an urgent and important resource for Christians and churches everywhere.
-Ben Lowe,
activist, national spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

Churches are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, bringing aid and joy to a hurting world beset by difficulty and tragedy. In Disaster Ministry Handbook, Aten and Boan provide practical procedures for establishing disaster ministries in your church, healing the hearts of those in distress as well as helping those in need. Every pastor should prepare to lead, even in the most difficult circumstances; to that end this book is vital.
-Ed Stetzer

Editorial Reviews

"The Disaster Ministry Handbook is a practical guide for disaster preparedness. Filled with resources for emergency planning and crisis management, this book will help your church prepare for the unthinkable, provide relief and care to those who need it, and help your community recover."

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