remainder chapter 1 from manifesto draft not made into chapter 1 and 2

How do we tackle such big problems?

We need God’s protection. But where is the safest place? I think it is snuggled up close hiding under His wings. In other words having a close relationship that includes doing what He wants us to do when He wants us to do it. Developing that has to be a priority. Out of that comes

  • the desire to develop godly tactics so that we can be ready for an uncertain future
  • the wisdom to know how to make sure that churches, both as buildings and as individual people, are in a good position to help others when necessary. (Remember what the airlines say. Put your own oxygen mask on and then help others put theirs on. Once you have yours on it is one less person at risk and one more person who is in a position to help others.)
  • the wisdom for new inventions to replace oil-based technology and to develop other ideas that will make life easier even if things go badly wrong
  • the divine protection that means if things do go wrong around you the impact on you is a lot less than it might have been otherwise

There is so much that could happen if God lets it. Cast your mind back to 1988. There were two aircraft that crashed onto British soil within a few months of each other. I was reading Mary’s song[vii] or what many people call the Magnificat in a children’s Bible as a bedtime story. It suddenly struck me that these air crashes could not have happened unless God had taken away his protective hand.

The thing is we all too often take this kind of divine protection for granted. There are many times when we don’t say thank you for what has gone right. We just sort of expect it will. Then comes the time it doesn’t and we wonder what has happened.

Maybe we need to stop and think what could happen and then think about how to minimise its impact. That was the idea behind the Surviving a Household Emergency course I created years ago. I wrote a textbook for the course and that is now online you can find it at

It has been updated periodically and is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to consider what they could do today so that tomorrow they are in a better position to survive a household emergency.

Be prepared to help

There are many churches that have opened their doors to people in time of emergency. They see a need and do what they can to meet it. They are not particularly ready to help but they are willing to help.

It could be any kind of emergency. The weather causes problems on the roads and many drivers are stuck miles from home and need a warm place to stay for the night so the church opens up the community centre. The church finds itself on an island surrounded by flooded homes and offers a temporary refuge. Or it could be a major fire in a tower block where local people see the local need and do something about it.

It could be any kind of need. They see people struggling to feed themselves so either set up a food bank or support an existing one with donations of food or time. They see people struggling financially so offer a money management course that leads to a support group for those starting a new business.

There are a number of things that need to be remembered if this is going to be effective.

Preparing people

The best people to meet a need are those who have faced that need and know the godly solutions that will improve the situation. You have someone who knows what it is like to struggle financially but they have used this as a spiritual gymnasium and come out as a financial superstar. They would be a brilliant person to reach out and help others with their financial issues as how do you understand how to help others without hurting them, unless you have walked in their shoes.

These are the people who are prepared by God to meet a specific need. Such people need to be recognised and helped to develop their particular way of helping others. This is more than just discovering spiritual gifts. It is discovering the purpose that God has created them for and then helping them fulfill that purpose. That is why Find your Purpose Love your Life was written. To find out more about that book go to

Preparing resources

It is not just preparation of people that is important. What about preparation of buildings? It is so much easier to feed those extra 50 people who have landed on your doorstep if you have a well-designed kitchen.

One of the things that churches who believe that there are possible problems have done is gather resources. I am thinking of Christians who live in an area where there was a risk of natural disasters who maintain a store of useful equipment ready to help the community in time of need.

There are churches that maintain libraries of useful items. It could be a tool library. This is where people could come and borrow tools for gardening or home repair. It could be a lock library. Imagine a church in an area where many of the locks are similar and people needed to change their locks fairly frequently after they lost keys. It gets expensive replacing locks repeatedly. What if they could take an old lock to a lock library where they could swap it for another one rather than buying a new lock.

Is it more than just preparing for an uncertain future?

The problem I had was trying to explain the need for Lily’s Place to people who saw the world in a different way to me. They expect things to carry on in the same way that it always has done. After all any of the things that we have been told are a problem have not turned out to be as big a problem was they were predicted to be.

Not only that but many people are influenced by what the preparedness community calls the normalcy bias. In other words, this is what normal is and things will always be normal. I am one of those people who sees things in terms of what if and think in terms of I will do this just in case this happens. Therefore being ready to face an uncertain future is a way of seeing things that particularly suits me, but I know that not everyone sees things in the same way.

My argument then switched to if we developed something like Lily’s Place then even if things do not go wrong then we would still have the benefit of the projects that were set up. I had done something similar with my preparations for Y2K. I bought all sorts of extra things in the run up to the predicted disastrous consequences of so many computers no longer functioning normally.

One of the things I did was make sure I had a three months supply of tinned food in the house. I had taken care not to buy huge amounts of the same thing at once so there were a series of different use by dates. Not only that but I had only stored what I thought that we would eat so there were no horrible surprises. When the bad times did not materialise it was used up more gradually so lasted more than 3 months, but very little was wasted.

What if something like Lily’s Place would help you now as well as in the future? A sort of each way bet, where it could help you now as well as in the future. Using the right strategies meant that I was able to use that food supply even when the events that prompted me to gather it did not materialise. It was set up so well that whatever happened I would not lose. Surely Lily’s Place could be set up like this as well. Useful if it is needed in the future because there are problems and yet at the same time useful even if those problems do not arise.

There was another problem though, many people saw what was my major reason why and said that it was unimportant and then switched off. For me it makes perfect sense to do things now so that if things go wrong it is easier to cope with what the future brings. For them it was nonsense.

It did not help that to start with I did not do a good job of explaining what those other benefits were. They were a minor consideration to me so I did not make much of them. No wonder it was hard to persuade anyone to listen to what I was trying to say.

Coming in chapter 3

Those are the needs that need to be met. However, there are also other reasons to develop Lily’s Place. Even God seems to have reasons why He wants to see things changed.

[i] In the parable of the minas it is obvious that the recipients of the minas are to trade and they are to keep trading until Jesus returns. Luke chapter 19 verse 13

[ii] Matthew chapter 5 verses 44 to 46

[iii] Kevin Freeman one of the main proponents of this view of the world has a blog at

[iv] Harry Smith’s speech can be found at

[v] See Wikipedia on transitional communities


[vii] Luke chapter 1 verses 46 to 55