Actually the wonderful SBC does a few things very well. They influence politics through fear very well. They hold on to antiquated programs and systems very well. They follow any successful musical or leadership trend very well. The hold on to a failed philosophical system very well (modernity). They are also good at war support, building programs, partisan politics, re-baptism, tea-totaling (in public only), cookie-cutter church planting and the purpose driven life (and church, of course).*
They also do disaster relief very well. it seems that there is this 3 pronged disaster relief network which would surprise most people. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Southern Baptists work in great tandem (can it be tandem with 3 things?) to provide more than you can imagine for those in need (actually I could add FEMA, but since the X-Files movie they really creep me out).
Mostly retired Baptists are trained very well and travel to a place where a disaster has taken place (terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake, etc.). They sleep on floors and in RVs. they shower when they can and get a couple of hours sleep nightly. They also work their arses off. Amazing.
Sadly, I found very few volunteers that were not retired. I also found very few churches in the Tampa/ St. Pete area helping with disaster relief. Most of the churches helping were from the immediate area or from hundreds of miles away.
I called countless bay area churches and very few were doing anything organized to help with relief. This struck me as very disingenuous. This storm was supposed to crush our area. We would have called out to the surrounding areas (especially churches) for help. Yet, when our neighbors to the south are in need, our churches have many excuses for why they are not helping a couple of counties over. In fact, one recent church plant I called in Polk County, where there was much damage told me they were telling any who called to call the county offices to help.
Talk about missed opportunity. I felt as if I were in the middle of the story of the Good Samaritan.
* I speak on all of these things with a sense of humor based upon life-long affiliation (however tenuous) with the SBC. I can talk about my family but you better not.