Y2K a ministry opportunity, Texas Baptist brochure states

DALLAS (BP)--Y2K is an opportunity to prepare for ministry, not an occasion for panic, according to a new publication by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“Y2K” is shorthand for the year 2000 and surrounding concerns about possible disruption in communications, utilities and food supplies due to computer failures. The brochure, “Y2K and Texas Baptist Disaster Relief Ministries,” offers practical suggestions for churches and families regarding food, water, cooking and finances.

“Rather than falling prey to a survival mindset, believers can operate from a servant mindset. At a time when alarmists predict an age of darkness, the church can be a lighthouse. At a time when some seek to profit from fear, churches can prepare for ministry,” the brochure states.

Texas Baptist Men President Bob Dixon developed much of the material based on his experiences working for three decades in disaster relief as the mission organization’s executive director. Roger Hall, treasurer and chief financial officer of the BGCT, wrote the section on financial concerns.

By preparing for the Y2K disruptions that are possible, churches and families are one step ahead in preparing for those ministry opportunities they inevitably will face, such as local disasters and benevolence, Dixon reasoned.

If Y2K does create disruptions in delivery of goods and services in the middle of winter, basic winter storm preparations as suggested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be applicable, he said. If there are no serious power outages or food shortages, then churches and Christian families will be equipped for local natural disasters and for ongoing ministries to the poor.

“Y2K preparedness presents individual Christian families and churches the occasion to do basic disaster preparation applicable for any situation. More importantly, if the resources are not needed to deal with Y2K-related difficulties, they will be readily available for ongoing benevolence ministries and future disaster relief ministries,” the brochure states.

Dixon recommends that families store a one-month supply of drinking water, allowing one gallon per day per person. Rather than buying expensive bottled water, the brochure tells how to store tap water properly to keep it pure and free from algae. Dixon also suggests buying extra canned goods a little bit at a time, rather than spending exorbitant amounts on prepackaged mass quantities of food sold by those seeking to profit from Y2K hysteria.

“When buying groceries for your family throughout the year, buy enough canned food for one extra meal per week,” Dixon recommends. “Buy the kind of food your family normally likes to eat.”

The brochure provides suggestions for alternative cooking sources and a checklist of items to keep on hand in preparation for any winter emergency.

Regarding finances, Hall suggests keeping on hand two to four weeks of cash for unanticipated expenses.

“While limited access to financial institutions is not likely, according to some industry analysts, some cash contingency funds might be of assistance,” the brochure states.

Hall also suggests keeping careful records of the use of funds for tax and financial purposes.

“Overreaction to Y2K concerns, such as pulling funds from retirement plans or investments, may not be in the best interest of individuals. Check with personal financial advisors to deem how Y2K compatible a respective entity may be,” the brochure states.

The brochure concludes with an admonition to be spiritually prepared.

“Worry reveals lack of faith. Failure to prepare for contingencies reveals lack of wisdom. Y2K is not a cause for panic or anxiety. It is an occasion for each Christian family and each church to make the kind of preparations that will equip them for ministry in any disaster or for ongoing benevolence,” the brochure states.

“Christians do not hoard resources for themselves. They save and plan in order to share and serve. Those are abiding principles, whether in the first century or the next millennium.”

The brochure is from Texas Baptist Men, 333 N. Washington, Dallas, TX 75246-1798; (214) 828-5357.

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