MIAMI—The first training of the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief’s 2022 season brought nearly 100 volunteers to Christ Fellowship Church in Palmetto Bay to receive instruction and credentials with the state-wide relief ministry on Saturday, March 5.
Among the group in attendance, 39 men and women were new volunteers undergoing training in one of eight ministry areas for the first time. Between returning and first-time volunteers, 31 churches were represented.
Florida’s hurricane season begins June 1 prompting FBDR volunteers to prepare for potential callouts in response to statewide disasters.
Even though the Southeast regional training is typically small in numbers, enthusiasm from volunteers was evident from the moment they registered to the moment they went home with new yellow hats and yellow shirts as evidence of their calling and training to serve in times of distress.
“While we would like to see more people trained, number-wise, we can’t always judge the value of our training by numbers only,” said FLDR State Director David Coggins. “We believe we made some good contacts and generated some very positive relationships that will benefit us in the future in this region.”
New disaster relief training material has been produced in Spanish, added Coggins, and it has generated interest among Hispanic Baptists, particularly in the chaplain training ministry area. This material will also be available at other training sites.
While most people are familiar with FLDR’s feeding and clean-up/recovery ministries because of their visibility, the disaster relief organization also trains volunteers for temporary child-care, chaplaincy, on-site management, administration, logistics, and communications including HAM radio operation.
The training FLDR provides to volunteers in each of those areas, along with the ministry’s widespread reach makes them one of Florida’s top partners when disaster hits the state. In the Southeast region, FLDR was one of the few organizations allowed to minister on-site after the Surfside building collapse in June 2021.
Beyond the Sunshine State, FLDR partners with other states’ relief ministries to assist during their times of need. Most recently a clean-up and recovery crew from Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola came alongside Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief to assist with personal property recovery after fires destroyed entire Colorado communities in Louisville and Superior during late 2021.
FLDR is part of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, a network of state-based volunteer groups.
As the third-largest disaster response group in the nation, this network of state-based volunteer teams does more than just clean up; they bring the healing of Christ to those whose lives have been shattered.
“We look forward to our other six training events over the next few months,” said Coggins.
“We are excited to invite all our Florida Baptist family that have a desire to be trained and prepared to come to the help of those who are impacted by disaster to attend a training in your area.”
Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Trainings for 2022 will be held on the following dates from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no pre-registration required for this event. On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. For more information visit Disaster Relief – Florida Baptist Convention.
March 19 – Region 4 – Lakes Church, Lakeland
April 2 – Region 3 – Westside Baptist Church, Gainesville
April 23 – Region 6 – Murdock Baptist Church, Port Charlotte
May 14 – Region 5 – First Baptist Church, Palm Coast
May 21 – Region 2 – Immanuel Baptist Church, Tallahassee
June 4 – Region 1 – First Baptist Church, Chipley