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June-July 2018

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What's Next?

ByKen Akers


Natural disasters have been part of human life since Noah’s flood. Our world is constantly changing and in decline, the result of sin’s curse. We experience earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. While scientists debate the causes of these natural disasters—global warming, man-made global warming, or just natural occurrence—one thing is certain. They do happen.

In 2004, several hurricanes hit the East Coast. A pastor from North Carolina contacted me and asked if the National Association had any way to assist churches affected by natural disasters. Sadly, the answer was no. His question led me to do some serious thinking, wondering, “Why don’t we have a disaster team?” and “Why aren’t the men of the denomination doing this?”

I began to talk to others and pray, and then pray and talk to others. I knew establishing a disaster response plan would be a major undertaking. Slowly, things began falling into place. I knew we needed equipment and a vehicle to haul that equipment where it was needed. On my way to the office one day, I noticed a truck with a work bed on it. I stopped to look at it, without any money to buy it. Another relocated Kentucky hillbilly greeted me. After a few minutes of comparing notes about folks we knew, I shared what I was doing and how the truck would help. He offered a deal I couldn’t pass up.

Once we had a truck, we needed equipment. As the word spread, many tool owners donated items they were no longer using. At the 2005 national convention in Louisville, Kentucky, we revealed the outfitted truck. Less than a month later, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, leaving behind utter devastation, we were ready. You can’t tell me God doesn’t have good timing.

We coordinated with churches across the country, and more than 50 volunteers showed up in Gulfport, Mississippi, to assist Gulf Coast FWB Church, where the roof on the back of the church had been blown off. We went door-to-door helping the people in the surrounding community. For the next two weeks many came and went until the work had been completed. With amazing generosity, Free Will Baptists donated more than $200,000 to this first major effort of the Master’s Men Disaster Response Team.



Since that time, we have provided relief to victims of tornadoes in Kentucky, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee; victims of floods in Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Missouri; hurricane victims in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We have responded to the damage left behind by an ice storm in Tennessee and straight-line winds in Georgia.

We are a small denomination with a small pool of volunteers and funds from which to draw. So, over the years we have partnered with other organizations to maximize our efforts: Samaritan’s Purse, General Baptists, North Carolina Original Free Will Baptists, and Citi Impact. We gladly partner with these groups for a number of reasons. We need them, and they need us. We are not in competition. We all work together to serve our Savior.

While we don’t know when or where the next natural disaster will occur, unless time ends, it will happen. We pray it won’t happen, but the curse of sin promises that it will.


A Year to Remember

Fall of 2017 delivered several of the worst disasters in years. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas; Irma struck Florida and Georgia; and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Croix, where Free Will Baptists have a significant ministry. I am proud to tell you our people once again responded in a big way. Just through Master’s Men, over $200,000 has been donated to disaster response. I’m sure many more thousands were donated directly to churches affected by these storms.

What’s next? We don’t know what, and we don’t know when, but we want to be ready. The Disaster Response Team desperately needs more volunteers—everyone from skilled laborers to “go-fors.” We need funds to replenish items during last year’s record-setting disasters. We need you, and we need your help.

If you are interested in being added to the list of disaster response volunteers, sign up at If you would like to make a donation or need more information, contact us at 877-767-8039 or Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to help those who are most vulnerable.

About the Writer: Ken Akers is director of Free Will Baptist Master’s Men. Contact Ken directly:

©2018 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists