Outside the Walls: Let’s Rebuild South Carolina

A few weeks after the flood, I stood on Mrs. Jones’ porch in Andrews, S.C., and watched a crane pick her couch up and out of her front yard. She looked at my shirt and read the words, “South Carolina Baptists.”

She said, “Everyone in this town is talking about you Baptists.”

“Really? Why?” I asked, as I contemplated what we had said on the national news this time that had the people in this town upset.

Then a smile broke out across her face and she said, “You guys have helped everyone in this town, even those who aren’t Baptist.”

Wow! Those who took the posture of a servant and helped others tear out the devastation in their homes are writing a story of how Baptists will be known in this community for years to come. Rather than simply being known for what we stand against in this broken culture of ours, others are finding out what we stand for.

Baptists from all over the state responded to the flood and worked together. Bottles of water were distributed, mud-out crews were organized, and food teams helped cook meals for those in need. Everyone noticed the efforts of Baptists responding to the needs of this state, including Gov. Nikki Haley.

But now may be our biggest opportunity. Gov. Haley has asked South Carolina Baptists to help rebuild South Carolina. Over 50,000 homeowners contacted FEMA. There are not enough federal dollars to help others rebuild, and most people in the state did not have flood insurance to cover the expense.

South Carolina Baptists have the opportunity to rebuild South Carolina — one home at a time. Think of all the electricians, handy-men and contractors who sit inside the walls of our churches. Think of the businessmen, hardware store owners and cooks who could be mobilized to be a blessing.

Affected homes could be adopted by churches and individuals to connect them with resources and volunteers to rebuild their homes. Mission trips next summer could be organized to help flood victims in South Carolina. As their homes are being rebuilt over time, adopted families could be remembered at Christmas and on birthdays. Ultimately the adopted families will be introduced to Jesus.

The rebuild goes much deeper than sheetrock and studs. Every home represents a family experiencing brokenness. Every home represents a family in search of hope. Every home represents another potential missionary who can take hope to someone else in the neighborhood. Every home has a life that needs to be saturated with the hope found in the Gospel.

In the future, when the narrative of the flood is told, what will the people of our state say about South Carolina Baptists? Ultimately, what will they say about the Jesus we serve?

Christmas is a great time to get started. If you want to give Jesus a birthday present, find a home that has been affected by the flood, and bless them with a gift. Tell them you are celebrating Jesus’ birth, and He would want you to give the gift to them.

God has positioned us for such a time as this. Let us saturate every life with the Gospel by 2020, beginning with 1,000 homes affected by the flood.

We can do this!

— If you struggle with sharing Jesus with someone close to you, consider reading “Close Encounters” by Lee Clamp, available at CourierPublishing.com.