Within hours of a devastating fire on May 19 at First Christian Church in Lake Jackson, Texas, Disciples Church Extension Fund Advisor Jim Michel received a call from the Coastal Plains Area of the Southwest Region telling him about the church’s building disaster. As he had done five years ago when a tornado ravaged South Joplin Christian Church in Joplin, Mo., Jim put his facilities expertise to work immediately to help the congregation. In 24 hours, he was on site to provide DCEF’s Disaster Response service, which is designed to assist church leaders with the immediate challenges of securing a damaged building, navigating the worlds of insurance and construction, addressing legal concerns and more, at no cost to the church.
While an original report indicated that the church was not a total loss, Jim reports that the damage is so extensive that it is unlikely any part of the building can be salvaged. In the weeks ahead, he will work with the congregation as they begin the recovery process. However, before that, Jim was present to worship with Rev. Cynthia Myers and her congregation in their parking lot less than 48 hours after the fire. He asks, “Prayers, please, for the leadership and members of this church as we will examine what the next steps for their future will be.”
Latest update from Jim on Day #3: “I spent a day and a half working with them on what are their next steps. We met for over 5 hours after worship service on the parking lot, in the rain. It was a lot of information in a short time but I think that they will be in good shape. Their insurance carrier is Insurance Board (IB) so that’s a plus right away. I also did a walk through with the adjuster assigned to this project and he seems to understand churches as well as the quirky things fire can do, so that is a plus. Also, while there I met with the City Code Enforcement official and have developed a good relationship with his office. They will email me after any visit that they make to let me know if they see any issues. Lastly after talking with Joe Boyd with IB, I helped the church get in contact with a remediation company so that we can start getting the water out of the building and begin clean up. After writing all this I am beginning to understand why it seemed like I had been with them a week. Oh, I almost forgot that I met with the Area Minister and the Regional Moderator as well. All in all, a good weekend and a congregation that is extremely thankful to the board and president of DCEF for having this service.”