Built to Last & Built to Send—Reflections from Hurricane Harvey

By: Pastor Ethan Collins

As Houstonians, my wife, Amber, and I watched in disbelief all the rain that got dumped on our hometown earlier this month. Having lived through several hurricanes ourselves, we knew this one was trouble. The water kept coming and coming! It was devastating. Thankfully all of our family (and their homes) were OK, but the same cannot be said for many others in Houston.

After the storm passed, we began to log on to Houston church websites to learn the news from those on the ground. National media coverage can’t give you anything like local, neighborhood churches can! Several pastors had Facebook Live sessions set up and were shepherding their flocks, even as many of them were being forced from their homes and communication systems were being shut down. In spite of the devastation, we were encouraged by what we saw! The Church in Houston is strong, and it immediately sprang into action. It’s who the Church is, and it’s what the Church does. I was reminded of Jesus’ words about how the Church is “built to last” and “built to send.”

Built to last. Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 16:18 that “on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hurricane Harvey was nothing for the Church in Houston. In fact, the Church in Houston will grow stronger because of it. The Church will be there for families who have lost everything, and who need places to stay or financial help. The house that is built upon the rock can withstand any storm (Matthew 7:24-25)! Scottsdale Bible Church stands on that same Rock, and we are built to last!

Built to send. After the rain stopped, we began to get pictures from my brother-in-law. He was serving with a group of men from his church, ripping up carpet and tearing sheetrock out of homes in a local Houston neighborhood. One picture had a pile of ruined furniture, doors, and carpet piled in the front yard of a home. In the background was a guy in a fishing boat, driving down the middle of the still flooded street! It was both surreal and inspiring. The water hadn’t even receded and the Church was doing what she’s called to do—serve. I thought of Jesus’ words to His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). We, the people of God and Jesus’ Church, are built to send! 

SBC will send work teams to Houston. Our financial gift from the Elders’ Fund* helped in the initial relief effort. As the city and the Church in Houston work to rebuild, our sent work teams will help in the rebuilding efforts. The teams we sent to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did this exact thing. It’s what we do as followers of Jesus and as part of His Church—we send.

How can you get involved? Here are four ways you can be part of our outreach ministries:

  1. Serve Our City Day. Join us on Saturday, September 30 as we partner with several of our local outreach partners to send our church family to “get out there” and be a blessing to our city. View the job sites and sign up here. Bring your friends, family or small group with you!
  2. Go on one of SBC’s short-term trips. Every year our church sends out teams to serve with our missionaries or missions’ partners. Whether you visit our schools in Tanzania, serve at the European Leadership Forum in Poland, or go with a team to Latin America, Europe, or Asia—you will be challenged, and you will be a blessing. Learn more here.
  3. “Adopt” one of our church’s missionaries. Whether it’s our newest missionary, Mackenzie Holman (going to serve on a university campus in Europe), one of our long-time supported families, or one of our national partners—we have many needs for prayer and emotional support for our global workers. Part of our job as a sending Church is not only helping to get our missionaries to the fields God calls them to, but also supporting them for effective ministry over the years. Email us to find out more.
  4. Pray. Join us on the first Wednesday of every month, 6:30-7:30pm in Grace Chapel, for our Outreach Prayer Meeting. We pray for our missionaries, our global partnerships, and our local outreach efforts.

Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18 gives us the confidence and courage to stand, even when life brings storms. His marching orders to “go” in John 20:21 gives us the reason and the responsibility to share His life-giving love with our city (and other cities like Houston and New Orleans), and our world. Come join the adventure with us as we stand on Jesus’ promise and go where He sends us.

*Through a special Elders’ Fund offering at the end of August, you gave more than $95,000 towards the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, which we directed to Convoy of Hope. Although we’ve closed the Elders’ Fund Giving, if you’d still like to give, we encourage you to donate to worthy organizations like Convoy of Hope, Samaritan’s Purse and others who are providing much-needed relief and supplies for those affected by both hurricanes Harvey and Irma.